September 24, 2009
I'm open to the occasional twisted joke, but this one goes a little far, even for me.
Kings Island, an amusement park in Cincinnati, decided to include dead celebrities in their Halloween display, and one of those displays parodied deceased former NFL quarterback Steve McNair(notes).
A skeleton representing McNair, wearing a No. 9 jersey while sitting on a couch, is holding a Titans helmet with the top blown off, while a woman in red lingerie lays across his lap. There's a gun on the ground, near her body. On July 4th of this year, a woman named Sahel Kazemi killed McNair and herself in a murder-suicide.
Word of the McNair display got out, and as you might have guessed, people did not react favorably. A spokesperson for Kings Island told Clay Travis of FanHouse that there would be no McNair display when the park opens its "Halloween Haunt" on Friday, after initially denying that it ever existed.
This article from WLWT in Cincinnati references the McNair display, as well as others of Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Ted Kennedy and Ed McMahon. You can see pictures of some of the displays here, including McNair.
Now, obviously, the people at King's Island are not the first people in history to make jokes about the recently deceased. Most of us have heard jokes about Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Patrick Swayze. Dead celebrity jokes, for better or worse, are an American tradition.
Most people, though, have the good sense to keep those jokes private. There's a pretty big difference between that, and creating huge displays mocking the dead, making these displays available to the general public and then profiting from them.
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