HotAIR - Join the Plastic Pink Flamingo Boycott!

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Join the Plastic Pink Flamingo Boycott!

Give unsigned flamingos the bird

by Alice Shirrell Kaswell, AIR staff


Don't be fooled! Though these two flamingos may look similar, close inspection (click here for high-res image) reveals that only the bird on the left has Don Featherstone's signature on its rump. (Also see photo below)

[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.


The signature of Don Featherstone, the creator of the plastic pink flamingo, is molded into the rump of every genuine Featherstone-designed flamingo manufactured since 1986. (Click here for high-res image)

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 Featherstone’s signature.

"Everyone knows that a genuine pink flamingo carries Don Featherstone’s 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 artist’s 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 protected]>).

News About the Boycott

This is an Improbable Research exclusive feature. For a complete list of the others, see What's New.