Remember when the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was a whimsical trip for the imaginations of generations of childhood viewers who loved to watch giant Snoopy and giant Charlie Brown float down 34th St.?
Remember when people didn't have time on their hands to throw a fit about every detail of life that happens to bump up against their feelings?
Well, those days are officially over. Sorry, guys.
While the Macy's parade has been at the center of controversy before, this year seems especially spectacular in the offense department.
First there was the Joan Jett debacle over her singing on the float representing South Dakota. Turns out, she is a PETA-supporting vegetarian, and South Dakota's main industry is beef. Not a good match, obviously, but in the grand scheme, it's just a float in a parade, right? Or does Joan Jett suddenly become ambassador of South Dakota to the world in its entirety?
Well, South Dakota seemed to take it pretty seriously, demanding that she be given the boot. Fine, Jett was moved to another, as of yet unspecified float. Now, according to the AP, Sea World is in hot water with PETA over their float for the parade. PETA's minions plan to line the route of next week's parade to protest the float over some accusations in a new documentary, called "Blackfish", which asserts that the popular theme parks treat whales badly, and also that said bad treatment is what caused the death of a trainer last year.
Alec Baldwin and his wife, Hilaria, wrote last week that SeaWorld was a "cruel prison for whales" and that the parks "should not be celebrated with a giant Shamu float parading down 34th Street." They are supporting PETA, who sent Macy's more than 80,000 emails from animal lovers demanding that the store drop the float.
SeaWorld, however, says the accusations have "absolutely no basis". They say that "the men and women who care for these animals at SeaWorld are dedicated in every respect to their health and well-being."
Here is a bit of nostalgia, you're welcome:
Unfortunately, Macy's is caught in the middle of this mess, which is in danger of ruining what the company stands for, as far as it's intention for the parade originally was.
"The parade has never taken on, promoted or otherwise engaged in social commentary, political debate or other forms of advocacy," Cincinnati-based Macy's Inc. said in a statement this week.
Parade executive producer Amy Kule said on Tuesday that the SeaWorld float is staying, in standing strong with the above-mentioned intent. "There is no controversy," she said. "Our goal is to entertain and that is their goal as well."
Image via wikimedia commons