It’s the time of year when the Christmas tinsel starts to emerge from hibernation and pop up in various places, and one of the early adopters will usually be the coffee chains rolling out their seasonal cups in early November. Much to the great astonishment of many, the above very simple seasonal red design from Starbucks is causing offence to some deeply religious people who view it as inappropriate because it is just not religious enough.
Why? … (or to be a tad more precise … WTF?).
Leading the change within many of the media stories is Joshua Feuerstein (for example here in Time and here in the Washington Post), and is promoted as an “internet personality”. Yes, it is the guy in the red hat who has made a name for himself by posting YouTube clips within which he promotes utterly absurd, outrageous, and completely daft claims, not I suspect because he actually believes any of it, but rather because it generates lots of hits on his YouTube channel, and so results in a flow of ad revenue.
For his latest anti-coffee cup troll, even some of his hard-core fans are not with him …
“I normally like your post but not this one,” one commenter wrote. “Starbucks is trying to remain neutral and be culturally sensitive to everyone by leaving them blank. You are offended that they don’t say Merry Christmas, but Jewish people would be offended if it only said that, not Happy Hanukkah. So they are leaving them blank so they can’t offend anyone.”
“If you need a coffee chain to be your ambassador of Christ you need to re-examine your relationship w/God,” one Twitter critic wrote.
Is this really a lot of fuss about nothing?
Basically yes because almost everybody, regardless of their belief or non-belief, are really not bothered at all about coffee cup designs.
For those that do care, what exactly should they put on their cup?
The answer to that question is rather obvious, because we are all familiar with the seasonal designs.
Since we are on that topic then I’d really love to understand what any of the following have to do with Christian theology or for that matter, core Christian beliefs …
- Santa Claus
- Decorated trees
If indeed the bible is the “word of god” and needs to be adhered to strictly, then what exactly are we supposed to make of the wide scale ignoring of bible verses that explicitly prohibit decorated Christmas trees …
Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
We should also not forget that the use of Holly as a seasonal decoration is not in any way Christian, and has its roots in far older belief systems.
Perhaps those that actually care about such symbolism, should not be criticising Starbucks, but rather should be thanking them, because that are now being saved from the wrath of their imaginary friend for falling prey to all these “evil” pagan symbols.
Meanwhile over at Starbucks …
This year’s iconic red Starbucks cup features a two-toned ombré design, with a bright poppy color on top that shades into a darker cranberry below.
“We have anchored the design with the classic Starbucks holiday red that is bright and exciting,” said Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks vice president of Design & Content. “The ombré creates a distinctive dimension, fluidity and weightedness.”
… which is marketing hype, and the reality is that they went for this because it is actually cheaper to produce.
If after all this, somebody is still offended by the lack of any design on the cup, then I’m sure that the staff at their local Starbucks would be only too happy to lend them to pen so that they can draw whatever design they would like on the f***ing cup. Personally, I’m far more interested in the stuff that goes inside the cup and like most, don’t give two hoots about what is on the outside.
UPDATE: CNN Called his bluff
After all the fuss, Joshua Feuerstein gets to go on CNN, and gets a well-deserved verbal thrashing for being a complete and utter plonker …