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The New York Times reported over the weekend about a controversy surrounding the Vermont Teddy Bear Co., which is both a nationally known retailer and a Vermont icon.

Apparently, the company decided it need a new bear for Valentine’s Day…so it came up with something it calls the “Crazy For You” bear, which comes dressed in a straightjacket and bearing commitment papers.

Some were not amused. Petitions are being circulated, and Vermont’s governor called the promotion “very insensitive” to people with mental health problems, a sentiment echoed by numerous state legislators, medical professionals and mental health advocates. Eisabeth Robert, the president of Vermont Teddy Bear, is on the board of Vermont’s only teaching hospital = a position some would like her to lose.

Still, despite all the public pressure, the company tells the NYT that it “would keep its original plan of selling the bear, which costs $69.95, in its stores and on its Web site through Valentine's Day, its busiest season.”

In a statement, the company said, "We recognize that this is a sensitive, human issue and sincerely apologize if we have offended anyone." It added, "This bear was created in the spirit of Valentine's Day" and "was designed to be a lighthearted depiction of the sentiment of love."
KC's View:
When we read about the “Crazy For You” Bear, we laughed out loud…and decided immediately to get one for Mrs. Content Guy (who also laughed when she read the story).

While we would agree that there probably are some people for whom one would not want to get the straightjacketed bear because of personal circumstances or sensitivities, we also are getting tired every time the notion of political correctness raises its ugly head. Sensitivity is one thing, but this overreaction is something else.

You can’t do anything anymore. Over on 24, the TV series, the season’s terrorist villains have been radical Muslim fanatics – which has irritated some Muslim groups. (In a 2005 depiction of terrorism, who were the writers supposed to use? Russians? The Mafia? Let’s get real here…) And the producers of the film version of The DaVinci Code already have started hearing from albino special interest groups, afraid that the depiction of an albino as one of that story’s bad guys will lead to people thinking that all albinos are bad guys. (Some Catholic groups aren’t real happy with the film being made, either, and probably will demand that the religion depicted in the film be some fictional religion.)

The “Crazy For You” Bear isn’t making fun of the mentally ill, anymore than 24 is saying that all Muslims are terrorists or The DaVinci Code is saying that all albinos are evil.

What is rapidly becoming clear, however, is that fewer and fewer people have any sense of humor.