Another Year, Another Stupid Controversy Over Starbucks Holiday Cups
Two years after becoming the focus of a bizarre ‘War On Christmas’ argument due to the fact that they had failed to include any depictions of Christmas season related symbols on their coffee cups, Starbucks is now being accused of using their holiday cups to promote homosexuality:
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means it is time to embark on a modern American holiday tradition: over-analyzing seasonally available Starbucks cups for signs of liberal nefariousness.
Starbucks has produced holiday cups for 20 years. Some have come and gone with little commotion, but others have drawn the ire of conservatives for what some have seen as a secular design scheme that failed to show proper respect for Christianity.
This year’s cup features nods to Christmas tradition, including a decorated Christmas tree, and was introduced by an online video that proclaimed “the holidays mean something different to everyone.”
But that big-tent approach wasn’t enough to avoid controversy. This year, critics wonder if Starbucks is using its holiday cups to promote homosexuality.
The controversy started with a promotional video for the holiday cups that received some praise from LGBT organizations:
From there, it apparently didn’t take much for some people to go off the rails:
The video itself did not attract negative attention. The latest controversy has focused instead on a pair of gender-neutral hands holding each other on the side of the cup itself.
Those linked hands came to wider public attention after BuzzFeed published an article about them on Wednesday.
It suggested the cup was “totally gay.”
“While people who follow both Starbucks holiday cup news and L.G.B.T. issues celebrated the video, the ordinary Starbucks customer probably didn’t realize the cup might have a gay agenda,” BuzzFeed said.
After that, it was off to the races.
Fox News picked up the story of what it called the “androgynous” cartoon hands, referring to Bible-quoting critics of Starbucks and criticizing BuzzFeed, which it said had “asserted the hypothesis is fact.”
The conservative site The Blaze also waded in, saying Starbucks had launched a “gay agenda campaign.”
Fox said it asked Starbucks about the cartoons but the company “neither confirms nor denies the allegations,” by which it presumably meant the promotion of lesbianism.
But in an email to The Times, Starbucks said it would let customers decide for themselves what the cup was about.
“This year’s hand-drawn cup features scenes of celebrating with loved ones — whoever they may be,” said Sanja Gould, a company spokeswoman. “We intentionally designed the cup so our customers can interpret it in their own way, adding their own color and illustrations.”
While the reaction to these cups has not been quite as vehement as what we saw two years ago when the company’s line of Christmas cups consisted of a simple plain red design without the snowflake and other winter designs that had been depicted on previous versions of the cup, that hasn’t meant that they’ve been without their own controversy. The conservative Media Research Center, for example, accused the company of using the holiday cups to “promote the gay agenda,” while conservatives on Twitter have made similar arguments. All of this because the cups include a depiction of what appears two be two women holding hands.
To all this ridiculous is, of course, a complete understatement. For one thing, these are merely coffee cups, the idea that they’re promoting any agenda at all is utterly absurd and indicates the same kind of perverse thinking that causes people to believe that there is even such a thing as a “gay agenda” or a “War On Christmas.” If nothing else this reveals the idiotic nature of the right wing at this point. First, they complain because Starbucks completely non-religious symbols of winter from their cup, now they’re complaining because the cup appears to depict a cartoon version of what appears to be two women holding hands. What will it be next year? Gay reindeer? Transgender elves? Or how about the fact that Santa Claus watches children at night? The ridiculousness of these people is beyond parody, so any one of those seem as likely as this year’s absurdity. It’s just a coffee cup people, get a life.