Sometimes there’s a tempest in a teapot and then this week, there’s been a kerfuffle in a coffee cup.
Who would ever have suspected a few days ago that the absence of a few snowflakes could send the earth spinning off its axis? Unless you’ve been out hiking in the mountains for the past five days out of the range of Internet or television signal, you’ll know that I’m talking about the introduction of this year’s Starbucks coffee cups.
This holiday season, unlike in past years, if one is in the mood to drop $16.99 for a Tall Non-Fat Latte With Caramel Drizzle, it will not come in a festive red cup bedecked with snowflakes or reindeer. It will come in a festive red cup sans images of the Arctic north.
Somehow, and this is a little hard to wrap one’s mind around, the triumph of minimalism equates to a War on Christmas. Personally, it seems to me, if it’s a war on anything, it’s a War on Tacky Graphics. If I decide to spend $24.99 for a Grande Iced Sugar-Free Vanilla Cappuccino With Soy Milk, I don’t need a goofy snowman on the cup to dilute the experience of capricious money wasting. From this week’s brouhaha, it seems that there are many who disagree with me and feel they need a swag of evergreen on their coffee cup to prevent them from forgetting the birth of Jesus.
At the very least, Joshua Feuerstein disagrees with me. He is the Arizona evangelist or part-time preacher (his online resume is a bit vague) who posted the video that launched the kerfuffle in a coffee cup. Feuerstein has an interesting solution to the problem of the “Anti-Christmas” cups. He suggests that any Christian who is offended by the unacceptable deletion of elves from the story of the birth of their Savior march right down to the nearest Starbucks and lay down $37.89 for a Triple Venti Half Sweet Non-Fat Caramel Macchiato and tell the barista that your name is Merry Christmas thereby requiring the barista, by Starbucks own company policy, to inscribe the allegedly forbidden greeting upon their heathen cup.
How very clever of Feuerstein. Generally, when a corporation is perceived to have offended one’s personal values, the traditional protest has been to abstain from that corporations products and deprive them of income. It’s called speaking with your wallet. Feuerstein proposes a better use for your wallet would be to open it wide and give the offending corporation $49.99 for a Non-Fat Frappuccino With Extra Whipped Cream And Chocolate Sauce.
His unorthodox protest seems to be working. Social media is ablaze with photos of festive red cups with the words “Merry Christmas” scrawled on them. That’s the way to stick it to the company that Joshua Feuerstein claims “hates Jesus.” Give them $57.49 for a Venti Decaf Nonfat Two Pump No Whip Mocha. Which really makes one wonder if this is not a huge marketing ploy from Starbucks themselves. If so, it is totally genius.
As long as I can remember, there have been folks wringing their hands over the commercialization of Christmas. It’s even the theme of the Peanuts Christmas special which has been playing since I was eight years old. But now when a company does decide to exploit the holiday a little less, all hell breaks loose. And it is just a tiny little bit less. They still have “Christmas blend” coffee and the specific shade of red on the offending cup is a shade that personifies Christmas. Or a Ferrari convertible. Or a Ferrari convertible under the Christmas tree. How much more commercialized can you get than that?
Whether it’s “just a cup” as some say or the latest sign of the “War on Christmas” being waged on the 71% of Americans who identify as Christians, one thing is clear. For a holiday they appropriated from the pagans, the Christian majority can get very bossy about the accoutrements.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699 or on Twitter @BillColvard.