Since the 1950’s (maybe even way before) there has been an ongoing war. It is not a war for power or freedom. It is not a war centered around foreign policy. It has nothing to do with politics. This war is unlike any other. The war I am speaking of is “The War on Christmas.” And this year it started earlier than most. During the first week of November Starbucks introduced their annual Christmas cup. This year instead of snowmen or snowflakes Starbucks kept it simple by opting for a plain red cup with their logo in the middle. This made former pastor and self proclaimed media personality Joshua Feuerstein very angry. So angry that he went to the internet and shared a video about said anger with the world. In the video Feuerstein claims that, “I think in the age of political correctness we’ve become so open-minded our brains have literally fallen out of our head.”
The video spread quickly throughout social and news media, getting over eleven million views. Everyone seemed to have an opinion- from the far left to the extreme right. Overnight the real wars of the world were forgotten and the war on Christmas was all everyone could talk about, three weeks before Thanksgiving nonetheless. But was everyone really as worked up as the media led us to believe?
Has anyone actually met someone offended by the Starbucks cups?
— Drew Holcomb (@drewholcomb) November 10, 2015
There were a few people with ruffled feathers…..
Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute told Breitbart London: “What is it about Christmas that Starbucks are afraid of celebrating? Haven’t they heard it’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the season of goodwill to ALL men? They should get involved and stop being scrooges.”
Fox news anchor Leah Gabrielle discussed the issue on air: “Have the P.C. police gone too far in this war on Christmas?”
Donald Trump even put his two cents in (not surprising).
While Christian warriors were trying to start a movement, those on the other end of the spectrum were having a jolly time mocking how irrelevant a paper cups are in a world riddled with real problems.
One Washington Post columnist wrote: “Starbucks won’t feature tree ornaments or snowflakes or reindeer like it did on its old winter cups. Because those totally said birth of Jesus, right?”
The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah was baffled as well: “The cups are red and green. That is the color of Christmas. They didn’t make the cups red and green in honor of stoplights, or to remember the time Kermit got a rash.”
CNBC was quick to point out that Starbucks did not remove Christmas from their stores: “In fact, the company offers a wide selection of Christmas products including ornaments, Advent calendars, Christmas-themed gift cards, Christmas music CDs and Christmas cookies.”
Several days later Fox was claiming (along with other conservative news outlets) that there was no anger over the simplistic cup being sold by Starbucks this year. They began claiming that the outrage was made up by Liberal news outlets to make them look stupid. These media sites claim that the story was made up and it all started with a Snope article, http://www.snopes.com/starbucks-red-christmas-cups/.
Regardless of where you stood in regards to this issue, one thing is for sure- about a month has passed since this whole fiasco somehow became news and it is nothing more now than a distant memory. Which makes me question, were there more than just a hand full of angry soldiers of Jesus that created this light distraction from real news?
Dahlia Lithwick sums up this media induced frenzy in a Slate article: “The truth is that in a week we won’t recall why we were all wasting time over the Starbucks red cup fracas. But next year, we’ll again be reminded, thanks to some minor culture-war flare-up, that the war on Christmas is now as perennial and predictable as television repeats of It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Dan Even, “The War on Christmas Cups,” 11/13/15, (http://www.snopes.com/starbucks-red-christmas-cups)
Helaine Olen, “The Starbucks Cup Controversy Proves One Thing: The “War on Christmas” Is Happening Earlier Each Year,” 11/13/15 (http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/11/10/starbucks_red_cup_controversy_only_shows_that_the_war_on_christmas_keeps.html)
Hilary Hanson, “Some Christians Are Extremely Unhappy About Starbucks’ New Holiday Cups”. 11/13/15 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/starbucks-red-cup-christmas-holiday-controversy_563f6e8fe4b0411d30715b15)
Joshua Rogers, “Before You Freak out Over a Starbucks Cup…,” 11/13/15, (http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/11/10/before-freak-out-over-starbucks-cup.html)
Karoli, “Fox News Declares War On Starbucks as First Salvo in War on Christmas,” 11/13/15, (http://crooksandliars.com/2015/11/fox-news-declares-war-starbucks-first)
Leah Jessen, “24 Caffeinated Tweets on Starbucks Red Cup for the Holiday,” 12/11/15 (http://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/09/starbucks-holiday-red-cup-brews-controversy-on-social-media.html)
Nathalie Tadena, “Consumers Aren’t so Cheery about Starbucks Holiday Cup”, 11/13/15 (http://www.wsj.com/articles/consumers-arent-so-cheery-about-starbucks-holiday-cup-controversy-1447099197)
Nick Hallett, “Christian Groups Slam Starbucks Scrooge’s Over Red Cups,” 11/13/15 (http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/11/05/mps-christian-groups-slam-starbucks-scrooges-over-red-cups/)
Petula Dvorak, “The phony ‘War on Christmas’ is back, fueled by those alleged Jesus haters at Starbucks, The Washington Post”, 11/13/15 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/the-phony-war-on-christmas-is-back-fueled-by-those-alleged-jesus-haters-at-starbucks/2015/11/09/ed8471de-86f7-11e5-9a07-453018f9a0ec_story.html)
Sarah Whitten, “Starbucks Holiday Red Cup Brews Controversy on Social Media,” 11/13/15, (http://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/09/starbucks-holiday-red-cup-brews-controversy-on-social-media.html)
The Onion, “Starbucks Holiday Cups are Angering Christians,” 11/13/15, (http://www.theonion.com/americanvoices/starbucks-holiday-cups-angering-christians-51810)