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Those controversial Starbucks cups

Just in time for the holidays by FRANK CERABINO Palm Beach Post | November 20, 2016 at 1:53 a.m.

Oh no, not the holiday Starbucks cups again.

With Nov. 8's election still a raw, open wound in need of healing, Starbucks has unveiled its new holiday cups. We can't handle this. Not now.

I know what some of you are thinking. Is this really a big deal? Who cares what's on a Starbucks cup? The answer, sadly, is far too many people.

Last year, Starbucks' decision to have a plain red cup was met by derision by those who said it was too politically correct for choosing inclusive subtlety rather than an overt Merry Christmas message splashed on the cups.

This view was shared by Donald Trump, who at the time was a long-shot presidential candidate. "Maybe we should boycott Starbucks," Trump said last November. "If I become president, we're all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you. That I can tell you."

Well, as it turns out, you're not going to believe this. But Trump is going to be president. And I don't think the people in charge of coming up with the annual Starbucks holiday cups believed it would happen.

I think they were imagining that their cups would be unveiled shortly after the election of Hillary Clinton as America's first woman president. Because this year, Starbucks has opted for an all-women cup design for the holidays, involving 13 different women artists, six of them from foreign countries. The cups celebrate internationalism and women--which turned out to be a quinella of losers in the recent election.

The words Merry Christmas do not appear on the cups. Just red-and-white cups featuring reindeer, holiday lights, snowflakes, candy canes, evergreens and other generic holiday designs.

This might have been completely harmonious with a President-elect Clinton waiting for her inauguration, but now seems jarringly out of step with this new direction we seem to be on.

If Starbucks knew Trump was going to win, the cups would have been designed by 13 angry white guys from the Rust Belt, not women from Indonesia, Russia, United Arab Emirates, South Korea and Canada. "We hope that this year's red holiday cup designs express the shared spirit of the holidays as told by our customers," Sharon Rothstein, Starbucks' global chief marketing officer, said in a press release.

Shared spirit? What's that? Nothing we've been experiencing lately.

Starbucks should have figured that out earlier this month when the company unveiled a green cup featuring a mosaic of humanity. "During a divisive time in our country, Starbucks wanted to create a symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other," company chairman Howard Schultz said about the cup.

But some took the green cup as a slap at Christmas and a subtle promotion of green as an Islamic color.

Trump supporters went on Twitter and called the cup "political brainwashing" and part of the "war on Christmas."

"Y'all are Killary supporters and against America," another posted.

And that was the cup that was supposed to bring us together, the one to smooth things out before the holiday cup featuring all those foreign women artists who suddenly seem like candidates for "extreme vetting."

The good news for Starbucks is that there's still time to fix this. The holiday season is just beginning.

A new option needs to be added for those who want to drink their coffee from a cup designed by an American man, and not one of those gay ones from the "elite" parts of the country, either.

Sure, it can have designs. Antlers, maybe. Or camouflage. But it's gotta say Merry Christmas on it somewhere. And if you're from some other faith, you can opt for a Merry Christmas, Jews cup or a Merry Christmas, Muslims choice.

That's our only hope of getting through this Starbucks holiday-cup season unscathed. That I can tell you.

Editorial on 11/20/2016

Print Headline: Those controversial Starbucks cups

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