A "Pussy Willow Rally" held to protest Anderson Cooper's disparagement of the Dyngus Day tradition. Courtesy Forgotten Buffalo
BUFFALO, N.Y. - "It sounds like a bunch of waterlogged drunk people hitting each other with sticks ... the most random excuse to drink there is." That's how CNN anchor Anderson Cooper described Dyngus Day Tuesday night in a segment of his Anderson Cooper 360 show called "Ridculist."
Watch video of Cooper's performance here.
Those remarks seemed to set him off on a 70-second giggling fit, and set off a minor kerfuffle that played itself out in traditional and social media outlets on Wednesday.
"It's so stupid, really so stupid," said Cooper, after airing video of Dyngus Day revelers squirting water and batting one another with pussy willows. He added, "To the good citizens of Buffalo -- ringing out their clothes, tending to their beer and kielbasa hangovers and pussy willow welts today -- happy belated Dyngus Day."
"Airborne Eddy" Dobosiewicz of Dyngus Day Buffalo, marketers and event organizers for the popular ethnic festival, took issue with Cooper's light-hearted holiday bashing.
"We take Dyngusing very serious in the Dyngus Day Capital of the World," he said. "Sure it's a great party filled with spirited adult revelry, but Polish Pride and the celebration of Easter are at the center of the day which is a highlight on the Buffalo social calendar."
Just after 1 p.m., Cooper back-pedaled on his remarks, sending out a tweet to the effect that he did not say Dyngus Day was stupid: "Just learned some groups believe I called Dyngus Day 'so stupid' in ridiculist. I didn't. I was saying my giggling fit was 'so stupid.' "
A few moments later, Cooper sent out another tweet, apologizing: "In ridiculist I called my silly giggle fit 'so stupid' not @dyngusday. Sounds like a fun celebration. Genuinely sorry if I offended anyone."
In the meantime, Dyngus Day Buffalo organizers had promised to invite Cooper to attend Dyngus Day 2013 in Buffalo, and even offered to name him Buffalo's "Pussy Willow Prince" for the day.
"It's only appropriate that Cooper is named the 2013 Pussy Willow Prince," said Dobosiewicz in a statement released to the media, "as next year's Dyngus Day falls on April 1st ... April Fools Day."
Airborne Eddie appeared on Anderson Cooper's show Wednesday night to explain the importance of and the heritage behind the Dyngus Day hoopla.