Thursday, November 12, 2015

Weighing in on the Red Cup

I was talking recently about the walking I've been doing since the cardiac issues and noted that I was walking at the local mall the past few days because the weather's been crappy.  I was pointing out that with Radio Shack now gone from there, there's NOTHING left for a guy my age to enjoy shopping for.  Clothes, shoes, jewelry, and cell phones.  That's about it.  We used to have two book stores, the Shack, and Spencer's for me to look around in while the rest of the family went about spending our money on clothes and shoes and jewelry.  The horror of the story was when I pointed out that there's nothing left in Spencer's for me any more either which led the person to whom I was talking to suggest that maybe I'd finally grown up.  God forbid!  

Could it really be that the Offical Fart Joke Book, and the tongue depressor and adhesive tape gift box for guys with E.D. are no longer funny?  Am I so far beyond the psychedelic flashing lights and wall sized posters of glamor girls that there's nothing left for me but a nursing home?  Suddenly feeling all adult like would demand that I take on serious pursuits like digging back into Kant's Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics, or taking on the current Starbucks' Red Cup Controversy?  I chose the latter.  It allowed me to take the scooter up to Starbucks just in time for their two-for-the-price-of-one special on holiday drinks.  I actually sat on the scooter in their parking lot for five minutes before venturing in because I was early for the offer that didn't start till 2 PM.  If that wasn't adult behavior, I don' know what is.

Just in case you missed the longer yellow bus, the red cup thing has to do with Starbucks issuing a holiday cup this year that's red, but devoid of the secular Christmas/holiday decorations their holiday cups featured in the past.  Now, I don't drink Starbucks coffee.  Ever.  It's overpriced and tastes like mule piss.  But I had to get me one of those nefarious red cups just to post pictures here.  Who says that blogging isn't serious journalism?

Here I am with my "Satan Sipper" as Ellen Degeneres called it in her recent tongue-in-cheek take on the issue.  For years Ellen was on my idiot list because of the sitcom she had years ago in which she played a self deprecating buffoon of sorts.  I didn't like her because she was always putting herself down.  Hearing what she had to say about the red cup, though, gave me somewhat of an appreciation for her wit.  Even if a staff writer came up with what she had to say, she executed it very nicely.  The quote that hit me was this, "The old cups had snow flakes, and Santa's sleigh, and elves.  You know - all the things you find in the Bible."  This in no way pokes fun at Scripture, but it does put into perspective how the religious/secular natures of Christmas have gotten all messed up and have become blurred.  Yes, Christmas began with the celebration of Christ's birth, but it's also celebrated as a secular holiday by many folks who aren't Christian and I do not begrudge them that. 

For many centuries we, Christians, have co-existed relatively peacefully with other religions.  Oh, yes.  Let there be no doubt that we acted shamefully at times throughout history.  We led violent purges against others, and acted complacently when others were being persecuted while we sat back and watched, but eventually we came to our senses.  We had our Christmas and nobody seemed to think we were somehow being out of line with all of our celebrating.  For a long time others tolerated, dare I even suggest enjoyed the festive nature of our wreaths, our trees, our creches even on "public" lands, our Santa traditions, our holly, and ivy, and carols, and I don't think we were bringing Western civilization to its knees.

Then, along came one particular religion that shall remain nameless here, which for some reason all the others felt a need to defer to.  The die-hard liberals made it such that we found it necessary to step back, bow down, and kow-tow to its adherents in spite of their holy book being full of hatred and urgings toward violence until every one of us becomes one of them.  Yeah, that pisses me off.  Should we really abandon Christmas and the way of life that believing the birth of Christ was something special demands because somebody might be "offended" by it?  Hell, no!  But I don't think that's what Starbucks is suggesting we do.

One Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks vice president of Design and Content has this to say.  "In the past we have told stories with our holiday cup designs.  This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.  Starbucks has become a place of sanctuary during the holidays.  We're embracing the simplicity and the quietness of it.  It's (a) more open way to usher in the holiday."

Really?  A sanctuary?  Starbucks?  That's the kind of bullshit writing I should have majored in.  Marketing, do they call that?  Public relations?  It's like lawyer-speak, but even more blatantly dishonest.

I have long said that if the mission statement (And I'd dearly love to strangle the jackass who invented the useless mission statement in the first place.) of any company doesn't start with, "To make as much money as possible by...," then it's dishonest.  If the big wigs at Starbucks think that using this plain red cup will increase their holiday sales, God bless them.  It's not their business to honor, respect, promote or otherwise acknowledge in a positive light any particular religious tradition.  It's their business to fatten the pots of their stockholders.  But...  If the red cup either positively or negatively impacts their sales, we're in a sorrier state as a species than I'd ever have believed.


kz1000st said...

I don't know Joe. I don't frequent Starbucks either but it seems to me that any Coffee House is a gathering place for people of various types and callings. In most cases they are quiet, relaxed establishments. If the Administration of Starbucks is catering to that by having plain red cups, more power to them. On the other hand there are Nut groups who might possibly take them to task for even acknowledging a Christian Holiday with Graven Images. In this world of way too many self important people you can't please anybody anymore.

Take it from a Chinese scooter owner who reads Vespa forums.

Conchscooter said...

You lost me at the snide remarks about Islam. Book of Chrinicles: Everyone who would not seek God was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
I am an atheist. You now know your Christian duty.

From the outside you all look as crazy and violent and unreasonable in equal measure.

From the New Testamebt I prefer this quotation which if applied equally to all would let us get in with our lives in peace and privacy. (I like the language of the King James Version best):

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.

SonjaM said...

Starbucks chose to be "politically correct" over a disposable cup? How ridiculous is that? I so don't care about the colour. They should leave it blank and white, because the colour red has always been used in political surroundings. It could offend people who are on a different side. No wait, white isn't a good choice either, it could offend Hindu people in mourning. Maybe transparent? But then you'd see how disgusting your fancy coffee actually looks. It's a catch-22. I do not have to worry though, the next Starbucks is about 40 miles away from home.

Steve Williams said...

When I first saw the cup, before I learned of the controversy, I thought, "Cool, they have their Christmas cups out."

Now that I know I was so wrong and dull-witted I'm offended, angry and extremely disappointed. I'm not sure why but I am.

I never drink coffee at Starbucks. Or anywhere else for that matter because ALL coffee, everywhere, in any form tastes like mule piss. I absolutely love how it smells but man it tastes like crap. Like beer.

So I've been reduced to tea in the red cup, an even more offensive holiday gesture I think.

But I do love their chocolate chip cookies. Maybe I haven't grown up...