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Lotta Miles

As an outsider looking in, I'm not seeing how this is unique to Baltimore, or why it's such an issue. Since 1975, I've been called "hon" by diner waitresses in 45 of the lower 48 states.


Counterpoint 2 is correct in my opinion


Insane - I agree. I think we feel like she's taking something from us she doesn't have a right to, and that pisses us off. And it should. The owner of Cafe HON did not own Hometown Girl. I'm very curious to see how this protest goes today, you might be right.

Counterpoint#2: Okay, if we really want to spend time arguing about you not liking or misreading the tone of my post fine. I did not say rational and sanctimonious/smug were mutually exclusive. But for the record, since the definition of "sanctimonious" is "hypocritically pious or devout", and since I find hypocrisy to involve a flaw in rationality and that piety and being devout are both inherently irrational, well, I guess one could argue they could be mutually exclusive.

I'll also add at this point, multi-posting comments, like your triple-post here, also suggests an irrational and highly agitated emotional state - the sort of state that my main thesis of my post argues is not particularly helpful to the actual conversation at hand - the one about the Great HON Empire. And here we are, bickering about you not appreciating the tone of my post. See? No, probably not. There! There! That's me being smug. So let me just rationally reiterate - you continue to prove my point. Thank you.

Me disagreeing with what you are disagreeing about in my post does not reflect any inability on my part to handle people disagreeing with me. If I did have issues with that, I would either not allow comments on my posts in the first place or simply delete the ones I dislike. Instead, I decided to engage you. That's called discourse - not intolerance.

Now about the played out issue. You may have a point there. As a business owner in Hampden, I frequently hear the phrase "played out" directed towards the "HON" image by people who are sick and tired of the caricature of the HON that the owner of the Cafe HON has honed, polished and grossly exploited over the years. HON is played out precisely because of the Cafe HON's exploitation of it. So essentially what they are saying is that the Cafe HON has worked hard to create a brand/image. So hard, in fact, that it has reached a saturation point. In terms of trademark law, this "played out" claim then is essentially reinforcing the Cafe HON's assertion that she worked hard to create and nurture a brand. I would also say that if the word "HON" now demeans working class women, it does so simply because of this brand created by the Cafe HON. Prior to the Cafe HON, the word "HON" was not particularly demeaning to women.

See, now we're getting to the meat of a conversation!

As for my need to define "boycott," obviously, I disagree. I know many of the people talking about this. I have heard many, many people I know personally say they are "boycotting Cafe HON." I also know that they don't go there. So that's not a boycott. It's simply a continuation of regular behvior. I think calling for a boycott and supporting it is fine if it's what you want to do. It makes others aware that there is an issue. But my concern is that many people will simply say, "Well, I just won't go there" and that will be that. They're not really doing anything. Ideally, they'd show up at the protest today. That is active. A boycott is passive. And a boycott of a business you don't patronize isn't only ineffective (I go past the HON twice daily, and this boycott seems to have had no impact on the business there whatsoever - which makes sense if it's only people who don't go there who are boycotting it), it's not actually a boycott. As I said, I know a number of people involved in this. I've seen them say they're boycotting the place. And I know they don't go there. So that's why I felt there was a need to point out the definition of a boycott - some people clearly don't understand it.

I'm not a self-appointed guardian of anything. After being asked by several newspapers to give quotes on the subject, and seeing it continue, and seeing what was happening around the controversy, I thought I'd chip in my two cents because I saw this "movement" (your word) marginalizing people who otherwise agree with it because of the 10 points I listed above.

I'm glad you think some of my points are spot-on. Thank you. All of them came from listening to the debate first hand, reading comments, and personally knowing folks involved on both sides of it.

I do "understand that a movement contains many types of people with many different views." I am one of those people with a view.

And I am seeing what the more "radical" and "extremist" and emotionally hysterical elements are doing to undermine this "movement" and I am simply trying to help.

Sorry you find that arrogant. It's not arrogance. I simply know what I'm talking about it.

Now, that being said, is this really a "movement"? Really? Like an anti-HON movement? That word seems a tad hyperbolic.

Muriel Pritchett

I thought your article was excellent and I plead Guilty As Charged to one or two of your points. Some of the the people opposing the trademarking of HON are acting irrationally and are going to turn off the folks who are on the fence about how they feel about the situation. Turning Denise Whiting into a victim of harassment, caricature, and/or mockery may be emotionally satisfying but it doesn't plead the case very well. Acting like grownups is the best way to create a counterpoint to her narcissistic and greedy behavior.

Benn Ray

That's all I'm trying to say, Muriel. Thank you! Well-put.

Constantinople Sue

What an idiot.


The Hon thing is the straw that broke the camel's back - that is all this is. Denise loves to portray herself as a victim, no a MARTYR to the community. To listen to her talk she acts as though she founded the neighborhood and the place would crumble without her. Please.
HONFest is annoying at best. I'm sorry, but there is something a bit wrong with a bunch of suburbanites from Severna Park and Fallston driving into the city with beehive wigs to pretend to be lower-middle class for an afternoon.
It's fun to pretend to be poor with a union job!
If Denise would just get off the cross once and awhile people would probably cut her some slack.

Mat Edelson

The respondents have made clear the numerous faults of logic throughout your piece. The tone is also, in my opinion, extremely condescending. Most telling is the last line of the piece, noting your trademarks, specifically 'Mobtown.' Good luck having that withstand a legal challenge if you attempt to claim rights to the global application of the term, as the owner of Cafe Hon is attempting to do with 'hon.'

No one objects to anybody protecting their business. No one objects to this business owner trademarking the name of her business. That she has gone far beyond that, to trademarking a common historical utterance is these parts, while not seeming to understand why anyone would object, speaks volumes as to her acumen, or lack therein.

As for the ineffectiveness of boycotting a business one doesn't personally use, I suggest you tell that to the whites who joined the Montgomery Bus boycott. All they did was help create the modern Civil Rights movement. I assume you are familiar with that.

Perhaps not.


Sir, I worked at Cafe Hon when it initially moved to its current location on the north side of 36th Street. I was the last waitress hired. I speak from experience.

And my experience was Cafe Hon pretty much alienated the older Hampdenites through cost, an air of superiority/ 'doing them a favor' and forced kitsch. We had a few neighborhood folk but for the most part we had Yuppies. Denise Whiting went into Hampden as a former realtor... her eye was, is and always will be on profit. Hampden made her rich and it has suffered as a result. No other establishment on 36th Street portrays native Baltimoreans the way Whiting's does. It's offensive.

I am a Baltimore native. Both my parents are college graduates, both are Baltimore natives. My paternal grandmother was a college graduate, her college graduate husband owned his own business:also natives. My maternal grandmother was one of 16 children born in 1900 and raised on a Hagerstown farm. Every member of my immediate family is a college graduate. None of us has a beehive, cat eye glasses, is uneducated, ignorant of current events, obese or out of date as to fashion and culture.

Yet every single one of the people cited uses the word hon on a regular basis as they have all their lives. Denise Whiting denigrates Baltimore, an entire segment of its community, the very people she displaced and got rich off of. Her arrogance at trademarking a WORD, a word my grandmother used 100 years ago, long before Whiting was on The Avenue alienating perfectly nice residents, is the problem.

The problem here is... Denise Whiting. HonFest manipulates young women to deride an accent that denotes a willingness to remain in one geographic area, thereby preserving a culture, a manner of dress that can only be compared to prostitutes, a level of intelligence that encourages young girls to think dumb is fun by enticing them with the idea that they will be 'real' hons and win a title.

The enormous flamingo violates building and safety code. The merchandise is not from Baltimore, it's made in China and designed by some people who 'think Baltimore thoughts' and slap them onto cheap crap. When I worked there not one waitress was black. Every worker in the kitchen was, though, with the exception of the Sunday Brunch manger. She was white. There were no waiters, only waitresses. Whiting was, in my experience, abusive, mercenary and out of touch with her community.

The bottom line is this: if you're from Baltimore, you're a hon. You don't need Denise Whiting's, the city's, the Patent and Trademark Office's or anyone's permission to use the word: in print, speech, merchandise, advertising, film, song lyrics, art. Mr. Ray, I know you have a job to do and I know going up against Denise Whiting is not much fun (oh, the names we were called by "Christian" her and her "Christian" father) but let's face it... she's in the wrong here and you should grow a set and take that stand.

The nice thing about this issue is someone will get in touch with USPTO and sue her for trademark violation. When that happy day arrives, I will fondly remember Natty Boh which my father used to drink at Memorial Stadium, Johnny U who pushed me in my swing at the end of season party we held at our house (my great grandfather owned a bar so we had a beer box and tap) Brooks Robinson, whose kid I went to school with, McCormick Spices and Domino Sugar perfuming up the harbor before it became a mall, the artwork and apple dumplings at Hausner's, the hotdogs at Pollock Johhny's, the Bookmaker Salad at Velleggia's... places where you just went and were who you were, unashamed to have an accent or wear the clothes you liked, In those places, Baltimore lived, breathed and never imagined a mean spirited money whore would ever prey on them as Whiting has. I was not sorry to quit The Hon. I was sorry to see what has happened to it. It's a sad day for a nice town.


hey everybody, I don't think Benn is defending Denise. I think he's asking that you try to keep the argument on point...

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