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The Red Cup of Controversy (Editorial)

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Is Starbucks, ubiquitous purveyor of burnt-tasting coffee and overpriced, microwaved foodstuffs, victim or beneficiary of the fake outrage over its red cup? Or could it actually be the mastermind?

For those of you wisely cut off from social media, here’s the back story: Starbucks dropped the snowflakes and reindeer from its seasonal cup design in favor of plain red with a green logo.

And that might have been that had some guy in Arizona who describes himself on Facebook as “a former television and radio evangelist” not posted a Facebook video of himself scolding Starbucks for “wanting to take Christ and Christmas off their brand-new cups.” As if Christ and Christmas had been there in the first place.

This former evangelist, whose vanity Google alert we’ve chosen not to feed by using his name, challenged “all Americans and Christians” to punish Starbucks by buying coffee and giving a fake name — Merry Christmas — for the barista to write on the otherwise undecorated cup.

His cockamamie complaint went viral, but most of the attention seemed to come not from Christians offended by a red disposable coffee cup but from people weary of a decade-long attempt to equate inclusive marketing with religious persecution. In fact, some folks started asking whether this wasn’t some kind of reverse psychology orchestrated by Starbucks.

All press is not good press — Volkswagen and the University of Missouri can confirm that — but the idea of protesting Starbucks by giving it money is brilliant. How can we get in on that action? Please, please punish Arkansas Business by buying newspaper subscriptions. We’ll put whatever name you want on the mailing label as long as your check clears.


As columnist Mike Argento wryly noted in the York (Pennsylvania) Daily Record, “Boy, it seems the War on Christmas begins earlier and earlier every year.”

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