Three years ago, Mark Finkelstein at NewsBusters noted how Google was subject to a torrent of criticism for devoting its March 31 special-occasion redesign of its logo, otherwise known as a "doodle," to the 86th anniversary of farm workers' leader Cesar Chavez's birthday. March 31 was also Easter Sunday that year.
Finkelstein noted that even hardened MSNBC liberal Mika Brzezinski sided with critics, saying, "how about a statement one day that just says: 'we screwed up'?" Chavez himself, who was a devout Catholic, would likely have been just as offended as anyone at Google's choice. Well, it turns out that the Chavez controversy only hinted at what MSNBC's Joe Scarborough called the company's "cultural blind spot" relating to Easter.
You see, Google has no doodle today — and while it's certainly not high on the list of most important issues facing humanity, it's remarkable that the world's leading search engine, in defending itself, admits that it hasn't had a doodle tied to Christianity's most important feast in 16 years. Counting today, it hasn't posted an Easter doodle during almost all of the years since its founding in September 1998.
The matter came up today because Instapundit's Ed Driscoll did some research, locating a "product forum" posting relating to this matter at Google.
Five years ago, on Easter Sunday 2011, an intrepid poster expressed his disappointment:
I am taken aback that there was no Easter Doodle today. Easter is a major Christian celebration that does not take any review of a committee to see if there is a reason to include. This appears that Google is anti-Christian leaning. What happened to "open consideration" of differing views? I am working in a Muslim country and people here have no qualms about saying "Happy Easter" or "Merry Christmas". I am disappointed you chose to omit it.
Last year, on May 25, a Google employee and "community manager" named "AJ" felt compelled to clarify the company's position, and ensured that the related response appeared above all others:
Thank you everyone for your feedback. We enjoy celebrating holidays at Google but, as you may imagine, it can be difficult for us to choose which events to highlight on our site each year. Sometimes for a given date we feature a historical event or influential figure that we haven't yet highlighted in the past.
Google published easter doodle in 2000: http://www.google.com/
The 2000 doodle is secular in nature, but at least it acknowledges the day's existence:
The inclusion of the year in the doodle's title also seems to betray an intent, since abandoned, to post an Easter doodle annually.
Translation of AJ's response above: "You bunch of whiners, we put up an Easter doodle 15 years ago (now 16). What are you complaining about?"
Here are some of the holidays and days of celebration found in a search of Google's doodles archive for items since AJ's post, all clearly seen more important than posting a doodle relating to Christianity's most important day:
- March 17 — St. Patrick's Day
- February 14 — Valentine's Day
- November 26, 2015 — Thanksgiving Day
- November 11 — Veterans Day
- September 27 — The company's 17th anniversary
- July 14 — Bastille Day
The company has created about 300 doodles which appear at its various countries' sites since AJ's May 2015 post.
Yes, this is a "cultural blind spot" that looks more and more with each passing year like a deliberate in-your-face omission.
Why no Google doodle on Easter? Instapundit's Driscoll responds: "To ask the question is to answer it."
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.