Join the Plastic Pink Flamingo Boycott!
Give unsigned flamingos the bird
[DEC. 12, 2001, CAMBRIDGE, MA.]
Someone has secretly monkeyed with the classic plastic pink flamingo -- and outraged connoisseurs are calling for a worldwide boycott of America's beloved bauble of bad taste.
Genuine classic pink flamingos have a signature on the butt. The new, monkeyed-with flamingos have no signature.
The ubiquitous pink flamingo was created in 1957 by a young design school graduate named Don Featherstone. It quickly won a place in the hearts and lawns of millions of bemused Americans. On the flamingo's thirtieth birthday in 1986 Don Featherstone's signature was added to its rump, immediately becoming a trusted symbol of authenticity. Featherstone retired last year from Union Products, the Leominster, Massachusetts company that makes the plastic birds. Several months later, Union Products quietly altered the flamingo mold to remove the Don Featherstone signature.
"The public was never warned. The manufacturer released these altered flamingos directly into the wild without doing any environmental testing," says Marc Abrahams, editor of the Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), the science humor magazine that in 1996 honored Don Featherstone by awarding him an Ig Nobel Prize. "A plastic pink flamingo with its Featherstone removed is a pitiful thing, probably unable to survive in nature," Abrahams said.
In an unusual alliance between improbable science and bad art, AIR and the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) are calling for a consumer boycott of unsigned flamingos. Some unsigned flamingos have left the factory and may be in stores. MOBA and AIR urge pink flamingo lovers and other consumers to meet their pink needs in the used flamingo market if local stores do not carry flamingos with Don Featherstones signature.
"Everyone knows that a genuine pink flamingo carries Don Featherstones signature," says Parker McGurl, Acting Special Assistant to the Interim Executive Director of the Museum of Bad Art. "How," asks McGurl, "can you remove an artists signature from the work he created? It may be legal, but it isn't right."
Before you buy a plastic pink flamingo, make sure it has Don Featherstone's signature on the rump.
Join the Boycott!
Please help spread the word -- if you have flamingo-loving friends, tell
them the news.
(And if your organization would like to join the boycott, please email <email@example.com>).
News About the Boycott
- "Unsigned flamingo bottom has the purists squawking," USA Today, December 21, 2001
- "The Plastic Pink Flamingo Boycott," Here and Now [NPR], December 24, 2001
- "He's Not in the Pink," Newsday, December 26, 2001
- "Groups raise ruckus over flamingo designer's missing signature," Daytona Beach News-Journal, December 28, 2001
- "Company Removes Signatures from Famous Lawn Ornaments," The Maui News, December 29, 2001
- "It's the hottest news in lawn and garden decorating," St. Petersburg Times, January 2, 2002
- "Case of missing signature stirs a pink flamingo flap," Worcester Telegram & Gazette, January 8, 2002
- "Union Products plucks flamingo signature," Plastics News, January 10, 2001
- "Bird Boycott Taking Flight," Sentinel & Enterprise, January 12, 2002
- "Pink flamingo fans call for boycott," Baltimore Sun, January 18, 2002
- "They flipped him the bird," Chicago Sun-Times, January 18, 2002
- "Boycott Pink Flamigos!" New Scientist, January 19, 2002
- "HELLO, DALI," Boston Globe, February 3, 2002
© Copyright 2001 Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)
This is an Improbable Research exclusive feature. For a complete
list of the others, see What's New.