Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mary Kay's not-so-pretty side

While researching Dallas' cosmetic empress, Mary Kay Ash, I dug up a couple of Bloom County strips, circa 1989 -- when cartoonist Berke Breathed  lampooned Mary Kay as fugly animal-murdering glam guru who used rats to test her products.
In the storyline of these strips (which were also made into a book, "The Night of the Mary Kay Commandos," Little Brown, 1989), Opus -- the penguin -- reads that his mother is alive, and has been taken to a cosmetics lab. Opus infiltrates the Mary Kay animal testing lab and witnesses the horrors of animal testing. Before he can reunite with his mother, he is caught in a firefight between the Mary Kay Commandos ("Even their Uzis are pink!") and the Animal Liberation Guerrilla Front. Opus is liberated to his natural habitat, a 7-Eleven ice machine. The sequence was  partly responsible for Mary Kay's 1989 moratorium on animal testing.
ALSO: In December 1987, Mary Kay raised a stink -- writing letters to the Dallas City Council, complaining trash needed to be set out in plastic bags instead of trash cans
Ash wrote "The cats, squirrels and dogs have ample time to tear the plastic bags, strewing the garbage all in front of our home. It is disgraceful. I URGE you to rescind this stupid policy.... I've got a $5 million house and I don't like to come home to that junk in my yard." 
Ash was also looking out for the less fortunate: "They don't have the money to buy those heavy-duty bags. My maid, for example, I know she cannot afford to buy those bags."

AND: In August 1984, Ash was on the CBS Morning News when anchor Bill Kurtis mentioned that Dallas will always be remembered for the Kennedy assassination. Ash responded, "It's terribly unfair. The man was not a Texan. He was not a Dallasite. He was just passing through."
Viewers didn't know if the non-Texan to whom Mary Kay was referring to was Oswald or Kennedy. She meant Oswald (who spent much of his life in Texas and lived in DFW for 17 months before the assassination). 
After Dallas' Kennedy museum folded, Mary Kay thought the city's memorials and reminders should be replaced by parking lots. She felt the president should be remembered and that the book depository should be torn down.

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