Bush Officials Banned Pictures Of Donkeys In Magazine Because It’s A Democratic Symbol
After 9/11 the Bush administration put out a magazine intended to win the hearts and minds in the Arab world, with the ridiculous name, Hi. When political appointees like Karen Hughes and Margaret Tutwiler replaced other, less political types, things got even more ridiculous. Randall Lane writes about it in his book, The Zeroes: My Misadventures in the Decade Wall Street Went Insane.
One of my favorite sections loosely translated to “Window on America.” It was a simple conceit: a photo essay showing what America actually looks like, unfiltered. A bass fishing tournament, a breast-cancer walk, the Puerto Rican Day parade—these were exotic images to most Arabs, too often poisoned about the United States by their inflammatory local press. But during one review meeting, held before a star chamber of 10 high-level State Department officials, the co-leader specifically took offense to a photograph from a classic Western scene: campers and pack mules heading out on a rugged weekend expedition.
Our team always remained vigilant about cultural sensibilities, avoiding the bottoms of shoes, or bare arms, or other seemingly innocuous images that could backfire with the Arab audience. This official’s concerns, however, were more parochial. She held up the offending photo, as wholesome as a Norman Rockwell painting, and pointed to a pack mule that, by other names, might be known as a donkey. This has to go, she said. Too pro-Democrat. And out it went.Click here for reuse options!
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