Fashion illiteracy, moral outrage and Dunkin’ Donuts make for a bad combination, especially for celebri-chef Rachael Ray. Last weekend, Dunkin’ Donuts pulled an online ad that featured the food-icon sporting a black and white silk scarf. In the eyes of ultra-conservative blogger Michelle Malkin  and others, however, the scarf was no innocent paisley-patterned kerchief (which it clearly was), but a keffiyeh – national symbol of the Palestinian people cum trendy fashion accessory.

That’s right, America’s favourite donut chain was subverting the war on terror! And seditious advertising was only the tip of the terror-berg! Could it be that the money Dunkin’ Donuts usurped from hard-working Americans was funnelled to terrorists who seek to destroy everything we hold sacred and deep-fried?

Thankfully, Dunkin’ Donuts was not about to let the terrorists win. They removed the secretly political ad almost immediately. In a statement, Margie Myers, senior VP-communications for the donut firm said that “the possibility of misperception detracted from its original intention to promote our iced coffee.” Yet another victory for the squinty-eyed anti-terror militia.

That Ms. Malkin and other conservative bloggers flipped out is not surprising – it’s pretty much the only thing some of these commentators do. But Malkin et al. pulled the fashion equivalent of confusing the American flag with the Cuban one. True, they both have red and white stripes with at least one blue-ensconced white star, but no one is accusing hyper-patriotic Americans of supporting the Castro regime.

It is continually amazing to watch these pundits foam at the mouth at the mention of anything vaguely Palestinian. The notion that mere association with a national group is cause for condemnation at the very least borders on racism. I shudder to think what will happen when commentators find out that Bethlehem – the birthplace of Jesus himself – is actually in Palestine.

The “Keffiyeh kerfuffle” is yet another example of the jingoism pervading certain sectors of today’s America. Confronted with paisley, some see Palestinians; faced with Obama, some see Osama. That Dunkin’ Donuts pulled the ad is indicative of the power of such members of society. The donut chain isn’t in the business of making political statements, but the reality that imagined political implications would affect their business is a sad measure of the world’s most powerful democracy.

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