This piece was published in the December 2015 issue of the Prep News
Recently, the Starbucks Corporation has been brewing up a latte of controversy regarding their minimalist cup design for the holiday season. The cup, which in the past has included “Christmas” like images such as snowflakes, ornaments, holly and snowmen, has been designed this year to be a simple shade of red, devoid of any holiday imagery.
This has sparked viral outrage on social media, resulting in a multitude of tweets disappointment and general rage. As Twitter user @absinbr put it, “So disappointed in the red cups. All year I ignore your PC crap, @Starbucks and pay for my latte w/my gold card. Christmas is ruined!”
Indeed, many Christians are upset with the Starbucks for their supposed “War on Christmas,” arguing that the simplistic cup design insinuated that the corporation was anti-Christmas and, therefore, anti-Christ. To protest the new cups, many decided to boycott Starbucks altogether. Others utilized the practice of baristas writing customer’s names on their drinks to get the baristas to write “Merry Christmas” on their cups by telling them that the holiday greeting is their name.
As an average Joe, I find the controversy to be a tad over-steamed. First of all, I don’t believe that Christmas images such as snowmen and presents should be associated with religion. Reindeer and Santa have absolutely nothing to do with Christianity and the Gospels. Taking a snowflake off of a cup does not merit saying,” “Starbucks removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus,” as self-proclaimed evangelist Joshua Feuerstein put it.
I believe it is also worth noting that although the cups this year are arguably “less Christmassy,” Starbucks still sells a multitude of Christmas and holiday merchandise. They have a trademarked Christmas Blend, sell Christmas tree ornaments, and have even created a specialty advent calendar. They also provide for holiday flavored drinks. Walking into Starbucks, one can’t help but notice the plethora of Christmas decorations that cover the entire area.
What I don’t understand is why some people get so upset at this minimalistic design and the use of the expression “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Do they get mad because they find it to be an attack on their religion? If so, I find that to be extremely hypocritical. As of late, Christians often find themselves accused of being intolerant and unaccepting of beliefs different than theirs, especially pertaining to the Muslim religion. This overreaction to cups does not aid in terminating this image. It is illogical to be so consumed by a minimalistic design instead of one snowmen on it, and to claim this as more of an attack on the Christian religion than the widespread Islamophobia that exists in America is on Islam. It becomes very difficult to understand why this cup is dominating the media with discrimination running rampant in the U.S.
The whole controversy is completely blown out of proportion. They’re literally cups! This is the kind of media-covered event that never ceased to infuriate me. There’s so many important and crucial topics that always seem to go uncovered by the media. These subject matters, usually pertaining to environmental issues or government corruption, always get pushed aside by the ever-unimportant “celebrity culture” that runs our society. If everyone put the same attention that goes into celebrity gossip into actual issues like social justice and equality, the fair distribution of wealth, and the cleaning up of our planet, then Earth would basically be a utopia.
So, in response to the Starbucks cup, I would have to phrase it as presidential candidate Donald Trump so eloquently put it, “But who cares? Who cares? Who cares?!”