So, senator Rick “Goodhair” Perry in Texas had hisself a nice little inaugural party the other day, and thought he’d cook things up a bit by inviting Ted Nugent — poster child as he is for the more intellectual and appealing GOP constituents.
Talk about lowering the bar. Ted Nugent can make rabid bats and dust bunnies look smart.
And even his own kind apparently disagreed with Perry’s choice of entertainment. GOP strategist Royal Masset called Nugent “a horrible choice.” C’mon Masset, just because Nugent advocates guns for all and death to foreigners? That’s, like, mainstream these days…
It all brought back memories of sorts. See, I had my own little run-in with the embarrassing Uncle Ted at LL Bean back in, oh, July of ’05…
Dear LL Bean,
I recently visited your newly upgraded store in Lebanon, NH looking to purchase some odds and ends for my six-year-old son.
On my way thru the children’s section, my attention was grabbed by one of the many flatscreen TVs present throughout the store (presumably that’s what they’re there for). The image was of a young woman firing a heavy machine gun and then being hugged by a guy dressed in camouflage. I stopped dead in my tracks and tried to figure out what on earth this might be; initially assuming that it was some weird self-mocking LL Bean commercial.
But it soon became apparent that I was watching Ted Nugent’s show Spirit of the Wild on The Outdoor Channel. As I watched, “Uncle Ted” (as I understand he likes to be called) stared into the camera explaining that he was on fire, proclaiming how great it was to be an American and have a gun, making sophomoric jabs at the French, and generally behaving like a serial killer on crack.
Now, I appreciate that a) Ted Nugent has the right to say whatever he wants; b) the 2nd Amendment is a really big deal for a lot of people; c) The Outdoor Channel has the right to broadcast Ted’s rants; and d) LL Bean has the right to show The Outdoor Channel in its stores. I also appreciate that there may be some vague overlap between LL Bean’s target demographic and viewers of The Outdoor Channel. But please: your core audience shows up to buy colorful fleece and cute lunch boxes; they’re no more “outdoorsmen” in the Spirit of the Wild sense of the word than Mr. Nugent is a “sportsman” just because he has a seriously disturbing “thing” for high-powered assault weapons.
Mr. Nugent’s surprise appearance as an assistant salesman made me lose my urge to shop. I’m just glad my kid wasn’t there to see the grotesque display of militia-machismo and ask me to explain what it was all about. I still appreciate the quality of LL Bean’s products and your overall commitment to the outdoor life, and I may well return one day as a customer. But it’s going to take me quite a while to get over what was in my opinion an entirely inappropriate choice of in-store entertainment.