Robin Williams Made us Laugh, Cry, and Remember What He Left Behind

Actor Robin Williams died Monday morning at age 63. According to all media reports it was an apparent suicide.

Everyone is talking about him — and that alone says volumes about what an enormous loss this is. The fact that everyone has something to say about this comic genius shows what an impact he had on the lives of people, most who only knew him through his body of work. This news has everyone in shock. It is gut-wrenching and beyond sad. We all have Robin Williams moments that we remember in particular, whether it was a performance that made us laugh or one that made us cry or one that teetered on the edge between the two. Author and humorist Erma Bombeck once said, “There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy and humor and hurt. Obviously, not a new theory but sheds light once again on someone laughing on the outside while masking their troubled inside.

What is amazing about the response online and everywhere, is not just the countless number of people who want to get together and express their feelings about him but how many different things they remember. He spanned decades and generations of fans. There’s the Robin Williams who made kids and families laugh with Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire and RV and the Robin Williams who inspired us to get up on desks and shout “O captain my captain” in Dead Poet’s Society. There’s the Robin Williams who made us laugh when we were adults with Good Morning Vietnam and Birdcage. And of course, Good Will Hunting, his Academy Award winning performance showed off his dramatic skills. His stand-up acts were like a whirlwind of comedy leaving one almost breathless watching his rapid fire humor.

It feels personal to us because he made something for everyone. He gave us so many choices. “He put 150 years of laughter into 63,” NPR’s Scott Simon tweeted.

My son Jeff was in the Marines for 20 years and saw Williams many times in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He told me he even got to meet him once. He said he considered it an honor to meet someone who thought so much of the troops that he would regularly go to the chow hall and eat with them. He said Williams knew who all the officers were but didn’t really want to hang with them. Jeff said he would ask the guys stuff like where they were from, about their families etc. Jeff added that he was truly interested in these guys and would just plop himself down in the middle of a bunch of guys eating and start talking. Williams didn’t stick around for a short time either, Jeff said “He would be around for a month going from base to base.” A great personal memory for my son about someone who we all wish would have stuck around longer.

(I don’t own many movies, I usually just wait around for them to come on cable etc. but I do own; http://amzn.to/1rpDluh The Birdcage. I’ve watched it more than I care to admit and even though I can by now recite the lines myself, I still laugh like crazy. I am an Amazon affiliate so I get a tiny percentage off of anything you purchase though my link.

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August 13, 2014 · 3:41 pm

In Estes Park CO The Elk Are Celebrities

Photo by Cathleen Shaffer

Photo by Cathleen Shaffer

(The elk mating season in September and October brings bugling and sometimes sparring elk and of course, curious onlookers)

There is a traffic jam in front of my house again. People hanging out of car windows with cameras, standing in the driveway, the bolder few trying to cross the fence into our yard. Some even approaching my front porch. It is the elk paparazzi.

I step out of the house, cup of coffee in hand as a gentle reminder that this is my home, my yard and my private sanctuary. Most don’t take the cue. However, since this is a tourist area I don’t want to be rude. I know their motivation is pure curiosity and of course, getting the best up-close and personal shot of the elk for their Estes Park vacation photos.

I live in the Colorado Mountains along a highway that is the gateway into Rocky Mountain National Park and the town of Estes Park. My backyard is the Big Thompson River, a great water source for many species of wildlife. I have seen everything in my backyard from a mother bear and her cubs to a mountain lion. And yes, I am still in awe of what I get to see but also respectful and mindful of their habitat. I figure, they were here first.

The four elk in the yard, casually eating my buffalo grass have become regulars. So used to the sight of me, they barely look my way as I walk to the back of the house, out of the line of sight of the elk paparazzi.

“Please don’t feed the elk that Oreo cookie”

While elk are a common sight to those that live in Estes Park Colorado , they are unique to many people, thus the crowd. I am compelled to occasionally intervene when someone tries to cross our fence or lead children close for a picture.

Elk are wild animals, I explain to one family that is just too close for comfort. They look docile enough when relaxing but believe me when provoked or scared they will charge you, I add. And please, don’t feed them that Oreo cookie, they are vegetarians. People often try to entice the elk with whatever snacks they happen to have on hand, not a wise decision and totally illegal in Colorado.

Most people move on in due time to another location hosting the elk. For the stragglers who have worn out their welcome, we turn on a very far-reaching sprinkler system and we water the grass. We fashioned it out of an old fire hose and a generator. It’s really loud, spews forth a really heavy shower and very effective for dispersing crowds. And it’s definitely our laugh of the day.

 

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The Ghost of Print Magazines Past

Sometimes my life flashes before my eyes in glossy form. Just like in the pages of a magazine, or more accurately, the pages of magazines past. The magazines that are gone but not forgotten, at least by me. I don’t just mean Look magazine or Life that everyone’s mother and grandmother read I mean the important magazines that got me through my teen years like Teen and Seventeen. The magazines that told me what I should be wearing even though I either wasn’t allowed to or couldn’t afford to comply. The magazines that showed me how to apply make-up before I was even allowed to purchase a mascara wand. Yeah, those magazines. They are all Kaput.

We didn’t have a lot of extra money as a kid but whenever Teen magazine came out my mom would come home from the grocery store with it tucked into her paper grocery bag. I would thank her profusely and race up to my bedroom, flop on my bed and read it very slowly, savoring each page. I would read about the latest teen idol, music, movies, fashion etc. It was the best 35-cent entertainment in my world.

While the older crowd was flipping the pages of the Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, Better Homes and Gardens, McCalls and Ladies’Home Journal (all defunct) I had moved on to Mad magazine for my humor and Cosmopolitan for the love, sex and how to marry a millionaire stuff. For really covert stuff my sister and I used to visit a friend’s summer cottage and find such delights as True Confessions, True Story, True Romances etc. hidden under chair cushions so the “kids” wouldn’t read them. These we felt were quite interesting if not necessarily believable despite the “True” title. We however, thought they were great summer reading. Of course at some point I grew up and started reading news magazines, literary magazines, women’s magazines and of course, decorating and home magazines since I loved DIY decorating. But, many of them have died a print death with some resurrecting online. I mean, I scan a website but I read a magazine.

So, while “foodies” still mourn the demise of Gourmet Magazine you can get your recipes online at a million different sites complete with pictures that you can’t really feel between your fingers but hey, that’s digital progress. Due to the recession (the one experts said we weren’t having) the last few years, general interest magazines were waning as advertisers were falling by the wayside and/or looking for new places to put their ad revenue. Niche marketing magazines whether online or in print seems to be what’s popular today.

If you write, bike, hike or draw tattoos a magazine exists for you. Some are print but many now have an online presence. Demographics have changed and so have the devices changed that bring us our news/entertainment information. I know the answer is that the print world and digital world should mesh. But sometimes I just like to open a magazine that I don’t have to connect to, download, worry about batteries or software glitches or all that cloud stuff, and just throw the damn magazine in my purse and be on my way.

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July 14, 2014 · 2:24 pm

Summer In Chicago 1950’s style

 

I grew up in the city although it didn’t seem all that urban to me. What I though urban meant as a kid didn’t connect in my kid-brain with the tree-lined streets, lush lawns of Marian Blue grass or Creeping Bent and the Georgians, Cape Cods and Ranch style brick homes of my neighborhood.

My neighborhood was a direct result of much-needed housing for those returning from WWII who married, started having kids, in many cases lots of kids and yes, everybody knew our name. It was the law of the land I guess so our neighbors could tell our parents that we walked on their grass or tried to climb their tree or walked between parked cars or God forbid, rode our bikes in the street. We didn’t know it then of course, but we were the baby boomers.

It was a working class neighborhood for the most part with a few professionals thrown in for good measure. You could always tell who made a little more money, their houses were just a little bit fancier than the rest.  Oh yeah, everyone was Catholic. Some even wore their Catholicism on their front lawns, in the form of statues. These were usually the Italians, the Irish thought such outdoor displays tacky yet every room in their houses claimed enough crucifixes, rosary beads, holy cards, holy medals, holy statues and palms from Palm Sundays past to outfit a new church. Tacky? In many cases overkill too, but I’m Irish so I can say such things.

Everyone had a front porch or as some called it a front stoop. Folks would sit on it and talk, or watch kids play or read the daily metro newspaper. Lawn furniture? I never saw anyone with lawn furniture, not even on their lawn. Lawn furniture was up at my grandparents cottage. It was hard and metal and the back was shaped like a shell. But, in the city we sat on the cement porch.

Everyone played outside all day almost every day, especially in the summer. We found plenty to do with bats and balls, Hula Hoops, jump ropes, roller skates, chalk, dolls, trucks and toy guns. Some of us had dancing lessons or organized baseball or softball but we weren’t carted around daily by our parents so we would have stuff to do. The neighborhood was safe, we didn’t always lock the doors and we played in the alley with marbles because they would roll better. When the streetlights came on we knew we had to go inside because well, just because that was the unwritten rule for anyone that wasn’t a big kid.

My sister and I were going to take a trip back to the old neighborhood last week to see what our old house looked like now. She and my brother had been back more recently than me and of course we keep tabs on it through the news. I’m no spring chicken and I was worried about what we might see or encounter even in broad daylight. I figured two old ladies, even in a car could look like an easy mark. She agreed. We figured maybe we should spend our twilight years remembering the good times in a great neighborhood, rather than face the reality of toy guns that have turned into real guns. Alley games have now been replaced by drug deals and sitting on your front porch can make you a gang target even if you never met a gang member in your life. The streetlights rarely go on as many of them have been shot out and now what I thought urban meant as a kid is a far seedier, grittier, unsafe version of reality for my old neighborhood than what was in my mind’s eye as city life.  My old Chicago neighborhood is like a war zone and I can only hope and pray the good guys win.

My brother sent me this DVD;  http://amzn.to/1qzaaRz called Chicago, the Boomer Years. I think you can only get it used on Amazon as the PBS Chicago channel sells it for much more new.  It sure is a riot to watch if you are a boomer. I am an Amazon affiliate so I get a small commission if you purchase through my link.  My brother said he sent it because he remembers me and my sister wearing funny hats to church and saw some just like ours in the DVD. They were like a scarf with flower petals and we thought we were quite fashionable  little kids in the 1950’s.

 

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July 7, 2014 · 11:07 am

Thanks Dad, For Holding My Hand Through Life

I grew up in the “wait until your father get’s home” era. Even as a kid I found it unfair (not just for me) but for my Dad who just worked a 10-hour day and would walk through the door and have to punish one of us (usually me because I was the one with the big mouth) without having  been through the supposed crime/event/misdeed to judge for himself. He went strictly on my mother’s story. I found this ludicrous, and said so on a few occasions. I used the word unfair of course because if I used the word ludicrous he would know I had been in the basement reading his book-of-the-month-club books that he insisted were for adults and not kids. He had no idea how books about submarines and WWII increased my vocabulary. Then my dad would tell me that life wasn’t fair and blah, blah, blah and go to my room for a while and think about what I had done/said etc. I would usually write an apology because even as a kid I expressed myself better in writing.

My dad wasn’t one to yell, I never heard him swear ever and he was just as calm as anything as he glanced up from his newspaper to tell me to take off the eye makeup “I looked liked a streetwalker.” He was however, observant. We disagreed of course, especially in my teens when I was trying to spread my wings and I felt he was trying to clip them. I can still hear the old “As long as you are under my roof…and because I said so, that’s why…” These types of statements were the end of the road. We never had yelling matches or even loud disagreements, I was allowed to express myself but it was really an exercise in futility. If he did have a change of heart on something it was usually due to my mom’s influence. This all seemed perfectly normal for that era as I look back on it and it was normal for most of my friends as well. Yeah, I respected my dad but I now realize, because he was who he was, he taught me to respect others and most importantly myself.

When I won my very first, first place award from the Illinois Press Association for an editorial I wrote years ago, it was my dad who drove a couple of hours and surprised me by walking into the newspaper office where I worked.  After introducing himself to the receptionist he said he would like to speak to the award winning editor.

100_0287 The whole newsroom got the biggest kick out of that.  As I get closer and closer to the age that my dad died, I find myself thinking more and more about him, especially of course on Father’s Day. I now wish I would have paid a lot more attention to some of his  blah, blah, blah stuff that I used to let go in one ear and out the other. Thanks dad, for telling me not to worry about being lousy at math and science because you knew I had common sense and perseverance, you were right. It has served me well. And thanks dad for holding my hand all through life even when I didn’t think I needed it, I still knew it was there.

 

 

 

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Ugly Americans Whine About Petty “Olympic Problems”

I can’t believe what crying babies some of these Americans are at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Now, I do feel that the International Olympic Committee made a poor choice, but not because hotels don’t have enough pillows or light bulbs or toilet paper. I would be far more concerned with the safety issues than the complaints of bees in the honey. Of course Russia is going to spy on us everywhere, that is what they do best, it’s not like our own government doesn’t spy.
We will never know if Putin strong-armed the IOC with wads of cash or whatever, but if you are already there you may as well make the best of it and quit whining about the lack of amenities typically found in the U.S. The egotistical reporters are the worst, they post selfies next to a broken light fixture or brown water coming from a hotel faucet. We get it, guys/gals but what is your point? Can’t you hack it on an Olympic assignment without whining? It’s not war its games.
One of the many roles of the International Olympics Committee is to “Encourage and support initiatives blending sport with culture and education.” Now, this is what they state on their website so I guess it is part of their mission statement which certainly is open to interpretation but we do know the Russian culture appears to be nothing like that of the U.S. But, it is still their culture and maybe making a mockery of  it on Twitter and Facebook etc. isn’t necessarily the classy thing to do. We don’t need to put other countries down in order to elevate ourselves we are already on top.
No, they are not enlightened about gay rights and that is deplorable to us of course, but it wasn’t that many years ago we weren’t so “open” either. We can’t push our values on other countries by name calling and admonishing them because they don’t think or act like us. Believe it or not, many other countries in the world could really care less what we think or how we operate, they have their own internal and external problems.
So, 60% of the world doesn’t have access to flushing toilets. People in the U.S. that own RV’s often throw toilet paper in a trash can every day depending on what location they are hooked-up to.  Almost everyone living in Latin America does also. In some areas of Mexico in public restrooms there is no toilet paper, but for 10 pesos a guy standing near the door will give you a small sheet of (one ply) toilet paper. I had no coins once and didn’t know of this practice. I now always carry tissue in my purse, it’s called innovation. . But the lack of this at hotels in Sochi doesn’t take away your athletic advantage at the Olympics, but people are still Tweeting their shock and dismay at lack of toilet paper in Russia. What idiots.
Evidently Russia kills stray dogs, we find this abhorrent but I have witnessed a pack of wild dogs in  Mexico go after a woman who ultimately ran into the ocean as her husband valiantly tried to fight off the dogs and almost lost a leg before help arrived. Not all countries have animal shelters because they are too busy trying to find shelter for humans. And, many countries don’t treat their dogs like members of the family because they are having a hard enough time feeding their own family.
This may not be “right” by our standards but who are we to make Russia or any other host country adopt our standards pertaining to animals?I mean, we are insulting the people of Russia, who just happen to be proud of their country too. I don’t give a hoot about Putin and I’ll bet many Russians don’t either as he has spent a sickening amount of their tax money to try to make himself look good hosting the Olympics.. He used cheap Russian labor to construct the huge venues, used some of their nearby towns and land to dump construction materials and God knows what else. He ruined local roads with heavy trucks during construction and made the already low electric supply of neighboring towns near Sochi barely operational and in many cases nil. This is how these people have to live, Americans and others get to go home to their plush toilet paper.
It’s embarrassing to see the Twitter comments, Facebook posts and Instagram photos of some of these “Ugly Americans” as they whine about bees in their honey and are not genius enough to take a spoon and remove the bee. They do know bees make honey right? It’s as if some of these people have never been out of their own comfort zone and think the world revolves around their wants and needs. It’s a Global world out there and nobody else cares that some U.S. visitors/reporters/activist groups etc. might boycott or can’t/won’t try to go with the flow and make the best of it. The Olympics is about the athletes and our U.S. pride is with them as they compete. We hope they will be safe. The whiners need to go drink some Russian Vodka and lighten up.

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Ralph Lauren’s Design Wins Ugly Sweater Contest For U.S. Olympic Athletes

Ralph Lauren got another shot at the Olympic Rings this year to design the U.S. Olympic Athletes’ clothing, or as I like to refer to his “designer” duds for 2014; costumes.  After the 2012 London Olympics fiasco which declared Lauren, or maybe he just declared himself “The Official Outfitter of the U.S. Olympic Teams for London 2012” but neglected to tell us the clothing was made in China, I thought maybe they would just choose J Crew or Gap or Old Navy who already get their stuff from China and other places I can’t even pronounce, pre-designed.


Most of the world already views the U.S. as conspicuous consumers and Lauren’s design does little to dispel this. Americans are also thought to be loud and brash in some circles and in particular, the design of the over-the-top patriotic red, white and blue sweater is as loud and brash as they come. There are so many stars and stripes and red, white and blue things on this sweater you expect it to start singing Bruce Springsteen songs. The hat is equally as garish looking but I suppose the idea was a plethora of sweater knit stuff that kinda-sorta-almost matched, like a patchwork quilt–but not. Oh yeah, white sweatpants complete the outfit. Those snooty French are still snickering. I don’t  think they even allow sweatpants in France.

Lauren has long been thought of as the purveyor of understated elegance. His designs used to typify what most called “the classics.” In the 2012 Olympics his clothing for the opening and closing Olympic ceremony for the athletes was navy blazers and berets. The berets looked decidedly French and the blazers looked like the athletes just came from the polo club. Oh yeah that’s right, his signature brand is the polo pony. Nice way to get your brand in the Olympics Ralph, by way of China.

While the Olympic sweater design would surely win the ugly sweater contest hands down we have much more serious potential problems for our athletes. The Olympic Committee (the bright stars that chose Sochi, Russia) and the U.S. State Department are telling the athletes not to wear any conspicuous U.S.A. clothing while traveling or anywhere outside the Olympic Village as a safety/security measure. I hope these terrific athletes and their families will be safe wearing whatever they feel comfortable in as our athletes don’t need a red, white and blue ugly sweater to stand out, they do it with their American spirit, dedication to their sport and talent.  Maybe a new younger designer with those same qualities can design for the U.S. Olympic athletes next time.

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Is Santa Black, White Or Should It Be A Penguin?

English: large wooden Santa Claus and "no...

English: large wooden Santa Claus and “north pole” at Santa Claus House, North Pole, Alaska (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a huge surprise that “political correctness” is now taking its toll on a fun, not-even-real, beloved, decades old symbol of Christmas; Santa Claus. Slate writer Aisha Harris declared in her “culture” column yesterday that Santa should be replaced with a penguin. Never mind that she called a penguin a mammal (it’s a bird, do your research).

She goes on (and on) to say that a white Santa shouldn’t be the default Santa and she felt insecure and ashamed as a child because all the Santa’s at the mall, on TV etc. were white yet in her own home the cards, figurines and ornaments depicted Santa as black. Her shame she said, came from the fact that she felt her black Santa was somehow “not real.” Is she forgetting no Santa is real? Her own father pointed out to her that Santa became the image and likeness of whatever family he visited. I was taught this about Jesus too. Everyone retains the right to decide what color their mythical symbols of Christmas, Easter, tooth fairy etc. are. I’m sure it must be in the Bill of Rights of pretend stuff.

Here are her some of her reasons taken from slate.com why Santa should be a penguin;

“Two decades later, America is less and less white, but a melanin-deficient Santa remains the default in commercials, mall casting calls, and movies. Isn’t it time that our image of Santa better serve all the children he delights each Christmas?

Yes, it is. And so I propose that America abandon Santa-as-fat-old-white-man and create a new symbol of Christmas cheer. From here on out, Santa Claus should be a penguin.
Why, you ask? For one thing, making Santa Claus an animal rather than an old white male could spare millions of nonwhite kids the insecurity and shame that I remember from childhood. Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, Santa is one of the first iconic figures foisted upon you: He exists as an incredibly powerful image in the imaginations of children across the country (and beyond, of course). That this genial, jolly man can only be seen as white—and consequently, that a Santa of any other hue is merely a “joke” or a chance to trudge out racist stereotypes—helps perpetuate the whole “white-as-default” notion endemic to American culture (and, of course, not just American culture).

Plus, people love penguins. There are blogs dedicated entirely to their cuteness. They’re box office gold. Most importantly, they’re never scary (in contrast to, say, polar bears and reindeer). Most kids love Santa—because he brings them presents. But human Santa can be terrifying—or at least unsettling.”

There is much, much more but I’ll let you trot on over to Slate.com and check it out for yourself, if you so wish. I’ve had more than my fill of her drivel and I am on a quest to have the beloved Fat Albert character turned into a mouse, but I can’t decide if it should be a white mouse…

Harris is not surprisingly getting a lot of flak for this getting-rid-of-white-Santa idea and I hear the reindeer are really pissed. The elves aren’t to happy either. They have a right to work clause that doesn’t include them working for a bird. Many do agree however, replacing a Slate writer with a penguin is a great idea. Ho, ho, ho!

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Mcidiot CEO’s at McDonald’s Need Sensitivity Tips and Maybe A Brain

The McDonald's in Sedona, Arizona is the only ...

The McDonald’s in Sedona, Arizona is the only one in the world with turquoise arches. They are not yellow because the city thought they would mesh poorly with the surrounding red rocks. The first color McDonald’s offered was turquoise which the city accepted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seems the McIdiots over at the land of the golden arches (golden only for management and CEO’s of course) are dispensing advice to their rank and file workers on how to live on the meager wages that McDonald’s pays. They evidently have an employee in-house website called McResource that offers “helpful tips” on how to get through the financial strains of the holidays with innovative money advice like “sell stuff you don’t need on eBay and Craigslist. Are they kidding? No, the tarnished golden arch big wigs are also telling employees who visit the site to “quit complaining” because complaining causes stress.” I myself find complaining a stress relief of sorts. And it’s painfully obvious that working for the fast food giant has got to be a giant headache. I mean, just because some people work for minimum wage doesn’t give McDonald’s the right to treat employees like they have minimum brain power. Maybe the hierarchy over there needs some “tips.” Like, how about paying a decent wage and allowing people to work more than 20 hours a week so they can actually receive some benefits? Or, how about paying a decent wage so your workers don’t have to work two or three jobs just to have necessities? Or, how about not putting up a moronic and demeaning website that displays your ignorance and offers your employees no-help-what-so-ever?

While the site is supposed to be private for employees only, we all know in this day and age privacy is a joke. According to screen grabs from the site gathered by the activist group Low Pay Is Not OK, the site also offers tips on stress management. With gems such as; “sing away stress to lower blood pressure and pack your bags and take at least two vacations a year to cut heart attack risk by 50 percent.” Now, if you work for these McIdiots for roughly $7.25 an hour where do they think you could possibly afford to vacation? Set up camp in a Walmart parking lot for free like the RV travelers do?

When it comes to digging out from debt, the McResource Line suggests employees “consider returning some of your unopened purchases that may not seem appealing as they did.” What, like food or maybe Christmas gifts for the kids? The person/persons writing this drivel really should be forced to eat McCrap food for a few months as punishment and then sent to McDonalds Hamburger University in Oakbrook, Il for at least a year of hard time. There is a section on the site relating to making ends meet which gives the enlightening advice to “break food into pieces which will result in eating less and feeling full.” Yeah, remember that when you order a cheeseburger at McD’s sometime. Break it up into 16 pieces and hopefully you will realize you aren’t really full but they sure are full of it…

This isn’t the first time the restaurant chain has been taken to task for how it approaches the financial problems of its minimum-wage workers. Earlier this year, critics say, a financial planning site put together by McDonald’s and Visa unintentionally showed, in the words of The Atlantic’s Jordan Weissmann, “how impossible it is to scrape by on a fast-food paycheck.”

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Abercrombie & Fitch Gives Paris A Taste Of More Ugly American Stuff?

Word on Champ Elysees Avenue in Paris is spreading fast. If you are unattractive or have any visible human flaws, steer clear of a U.S. based retail clothing store on the avenue called Abercrombie & Fitch. The retail chain’s CEO Mike Jeffries, whose tight-as-a-drum flawless 69 year-old face defies gravity, has been extolling the virtues of only hiring attractive people for years. And an old 2006 interview with Jeffries from Salon.com has resurfaced lately with him stating he hires good looking people to attract good looking customers. Evidently this article caught the attention of France’s official human rights watchdog. According to Reuters, they are investigating Abercrombie & Fitch over concerns the clothing retailer discriminates in hiring based on appearance.

This is not news, just rather old news to us in the U.S. as it is well documented Abercrombie & Fitch has lost discrimination lawsuits in the U.S. and Britain as well. They probably build their fines and payouts into the cost of doing business. Why else would a preppy pink shirt or a pair of rubber flip flops be so overpriced? It must be the moose logo. The moose by the way, hearkens from the day before the preppy, flip-flop clad, surfer dude, tan, uber cool (to them), half clothed, model/exclusionary look at their stores took over. It was simply an outdoor clothing/camping/hunting store. No, the guns weren’t emblazoned with the moose logo, they were actually used to hunt moose.

Inside Cover Page from 1909 Abercrombie & Fitc...

Inside Cover Page from 1909 Abercrombie & Fitch Catalog, their first catalog (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A French commissioner for human rights spokesperson has said they understand that models would have different requirements than sales staff. They have concerns however, that sales staff should not be discriminated against due to appearance/looks. What Parisians will find out soon enough however is that it is common in the U.S. for Abercrombie to hire people as models and them have them sell. Or, hire less-than-beautiful people and hide them in the back room as if they are part of the stock. For stories of what Abercrombie & Fitch has gone through to try and maintain their Stepford-like store civilization, yet try and give the appearance of total diversity in appearance, you need only look to their lost lawsuits and horror stories of past employees. Just Google the company sometime and you will find enough complaints to fill an Abercrombie & Bitch book.

Parisians pride themselves on being experts in good living or having a certain joie de vivre. The parisian youth are forming lines to get into Abercrombie & Fitch but one can only wonder why? If they are curious about the store’s clothing, the goods are not made in America. If they are looking for quality, it’s not there. How far will their Euros stretch for a pair of rubber (ugh) flip flops? Will they love being doused in the store’s signature “cologne” as they hit the door and barely see (it’s damn dark in there) the salespeople and visible staff all looking alike and all dressing alike as if they were in prep school?  Will they think it’s odd that a store staff has no diversity in appearance and all look the same in their Converse shoes or flip flops? Paris is typically a confident place that touts individualism and uniqueness but maybe Parisian youth will think it’s “cool” or maybe they might just write it off to more ugly American stuff, which in the case of their hiring policies has shown to be true.

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