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Kindness – or lack thereof

May 13, 2008

Chers Amis,

Friday after morning mass we stopped by the Scholastic Books Warehouse Sale searching for a few good deals.  (I am a big fan of the $1 section!)  We could wander through the cavernous warehouse for hours in search of hidden treasure, but I wanted to get some school done ,so we zipped along, scoring a few REAL $1 bargains for Pippin and his love of piratology, pirate ships and the Indiana Jones series.  Checking out though, is always slow. Book laden carts wind through a dark maze of tweeny pop culture cutsy merchandise displays toward the cashiers and a glimmer of sunlight.  The kids love to browse and finger the glittery stickers, stationary and book covers. Of particular interest were the erasers molded to resemble sushi and California rolls. Pippin prefers sushi to hot dogs.  Go figure.

As I plodded along, my eye caught a poster of a smiling bunny cartoon figure with a huge grin, one bent ear, and a pink nose.  There were bunny notebooks, stickers, erasers, book covers  etc. all wearing this strange icon.  Bored, I started reading the copy, "2 cute 2 talk 2 u. It’s all about me, deal with it. I know how you feel, I just don’t care. I did it but I’m blaming you." My stomach turned over. WHAT! Now I know that this is all meant to be sarcastic humor and I was infamous for my sarcasm in my youth, but this was plain MEAN, self-centered, rude and uncaring.  Fostering an attitude in children that is positively unkind. Would I want to buy this for my kids?  That is exactly who this msg is marketed to and it is succeeding wildly.  According to the industry reports:

The Scholastic books were awarded with the LIMA Award for Best
Character Brand Licensee – Hard Goods in 2007 (the third consecutive
win for the
It’s H*ppy Bunny licensing program). Scholastic Book Fairs identified It’s H*ppy Bunny as their best-selling licensed property for the 2005-06 academic year.
(Pardon my addition of the * – I want to avoid searches.)

Sad. I came home and did a search to see if maybe it was just an aberration.  Nope.  All nasty rabbit all the time. Of course we had to have a discussion in the line about how inappropriate this msg was and how we should never embrace such ideas, however funny others find it or cute the cartoon.  Luckily my kids are very suspicious of advertising and marketing and were equally put off by the bad bunny. (They did like the sushi erasers 🙂

Putting this ugliness in further focus was my wonderful early Saturday morning retreat all about the virtue of kindness.  Quite the opposite message. Father reminded us that recognizing that life is not about "ME" is the key to living true charity and that kindness, in short, is making visible in concrete ways the charity to which Christ calls us.

So you see, Mr. Bunny, Life is all about love of God and neighbor, deal with it. Please.


PS – I’ll try to type up my notes from the two talks.  They were very good!

PPS – I love that I can ‘stitch’ pictures together now.  Cool!

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