Another holiday season, another Starbucks' holiday cup design controversy that's being hyped. Two years ago, Starbucks released a holiday cup that was red, and a small group of people declared there was a "War on Christmas" because the cup design wasn't Christmas-y enough in their opinion.
At the time, I argued that if there was anything un-Christian about the Starbucks holiday cups, it was the waste they created. The following year Starbucks created a variety of designs for their holiday cups — including some with ornaments and some with reindeer. That seemed to put Christ back into Christmas sufficiently enough to satisfy the people who get their righteousness from a disposable coffee cup.
This year, the declaration of war has returned and #boycottstarbucks is trending. But I noticed something. Most of the people are using the hashtag to say the boycott is silly. Here's what the brouhaha is all about.
Starbucks released a holiday video that starts with the statement "The Holidays Mean Something Different to Everyone."
It's the last image in the video — of two women holding hands and seemingly leaning in for a kiss — that had a handful of people on Twitter wondering: Since the video ends with two women who are holding hands, and the holiday coffee cup features hands being held at the end of two nondescript arms, do those arms on the cup belong to two women? Has Starbucks created a coffee cup can be interpreted as pro-gay?
(I can't believe I actually just typed that. The question is ludicrous.)
BuzzFeed took those few tweets, created an article out around them, and then other media outlets started running with the gay cup theory. Of course, other people then picked up on it and were compelled to tweet things like they want to drink their coffee "without choking on someone else's opinion" or Starbucks is being "disgusting about politics & sexuality in front of kids now" followed by #boycottstarbucks.
I took a look at some Twitter streams of those who truly want to #boycottstarbucks. Many of them were made by people who see conspiracies in everything, not just coffee cups.
Here's what it seems to come down to. A few people who had no problem with the cups commented, "Hey this looks pro-gay." A few people — who will always be against anything that isn't 100 percent heteronormal — freaked out. And the internet, as it loves to do, ran with it.
What should the rest of us be doing? I say we ignore the Starbucks holiday cup drama. It's nonsense, and the cup controversy will go away if we let it.
What won't go away is the growing desire I've had for a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha as I've been writing this. I may have to grab my reusable mug and get one really soon.