From my colleague Norman Spector's blog is a summary of reaction to the hateful, unprovoked attack against Bonhomme Carnival by Maclean's (my emphasis added):
» Intergovernmental Affairs minister Josée Verner, the regional minister in the Harper cabinet for Quebec City: "The Quebec Carnaval has a history of a half-century of success behind it. Bonhomme Carnaval is definitely one of our best ambassadors. To illustrate [Bonhomme Carnaval]like that, holding a briefcase overflowing with cash, is very inappropriate and downright insulting."
» The chair of the Conservative Quebec caucus, MP Steven Blaney: "Maclean's should apologize to the organizers of Carnaval…. [Bonhomme Carnaval] is a symbol of our identity as Quebecois…that has nothing to do with political scandals."
» Liberal MP Denis Coderre is "totally disgusted" by the whole affair: " It's completely despicable." He also denounces the use of Bonhomme Carnaval, "a trade-marked brand."
» Finally, veteran Quebec secessionist Gilles Rhéaume says that the Maclean's article is only the latest chapter in the "history of francophobia [in Canada]" And he says likens the use of the image of Bonhomme Carnaval in this way to bannering the image of " the Queen of England made up as a prostitute" across the front page of all newspapers and television news bulletins.
While seemingly every Quebec pundit and politician has spoken out in defence of Bonhomme Carnaval, there is one important constituency that has remained eerily silent about the outrageous attack by Maclean's against Bonhomme. Until now.
The North American mascot community.
The godfather of all mascots and the President of the North American Mascot Union (or NAMU as its normally referred to in the trade), the San Diego Chicken could stay silent no more. After looking up who Bonhomme Carnaval is, he released the following statement to me minutes ago:
They came first for the mascots who get fired out of cannons,
and I didn't speak up because I don't do the cannon bit.
Then they came for the mascots on roller skates,
and I didn't speak up because I think mascots who try to roller skate are just asking for trouble.
Then they came for that really annoying Philly Phanatic,
and frankly, we were kind of relieved because we think he kind of lowers the entire mascot profession - but I certainly didn't say anything.
When Maclean's came for this giant snowman who doesn't seem to do much but walk around and wave at people by drawing a clearly satirical picture of him with a bag of money and that was a bridge too far for us mascots. Enough is enough.
People look at mascots and all they see are giant muppets. No feelings, no rights. Just goombas to be teezed. They are wrong.
If you kick us in the groin, do we not keel over in pain? if you dump 40 oz jugs of coke on our fur, do we not get all gross and sticky? if you light us on fire, do we not burn? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
For whatever reason, being an anti-mascot is the last acceptable form of prejudice in this modern world. You would never see a magazine cover depicting the President with a tiny Hitler moustache or a politician portrayed as a mafiaso playing off his Italian heritage but for whatever reason, in our society mocking mascots - as if we are little more than giant clowns, there to amuse you - is considered acceptable. Almost encouraged.
Normally, mascots are symbols of a sports team. Sure, they are normally the most hated, annoying part of the in-game experience but they are a symbol none the less.
Bonhomme, I hear, is a symbol of an entire province and people. My buddy Youppi is kind of peeved that the Quebecois considers Bonhomme the official mascot of the Quebecois and not him but, well, those of you who know Youppi know he will just sulk around and not say much for a few months but he'll get over it eventually - he always does.
And the reason is us mascots are all in this together. Bonhomme's fight is our fight.
Never again my friends. Never again.
Well said Chicken, well said.