Precinct 333

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Stuff The Starbucks Cup

I don't drink Starbuck's coffee. Heck, if I drink a half-dozen cups of coffee in a year, my consumption is way up. Not that I'm not a caffeine-freak -- my blood is carbonated and if I'm ever hospitalized they'll need to hang a two-liter bottle of Coke Classic from the IV stand.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't necessarily have a dog in this fight.

But it seems that some folks are bothered by Starbuck's "The Way I See It" campaign. They've taken quotes from several dozen scholars, athletes, activists, and other "celebrities" and placed them on their coffee cups. Personally, I think it is a really neat idea. Anyway, the issue that has been raised is that the selectees and quotes, where they have an ideological bent, skew Left.

The quotes aren't all that inflammatory, though several mirror Starbucks' hallmark tall-grande-venti pretentiousness. Take this one from film critic Roger Ebert: "A movie is not about what it is about. It is about how it is about it."

The problem, critics say, is the company's list of overwhelmingly liberal contributors, including Al Franken, Melissa Etheridge, Quincy Jones, Chuck D. Of the 31 contributors listed on Starbucks' Web site, only one, National Review editor Jonah Goldberg, offers a conservative viewpoint.

Considering Starbucks sells millions of cups of coffee each day - some specialty drinks at $4 and up - it's no surprise some customers have complained to Starbucks' Web site, labeling the campaign "offensive" and the company a proponent of "the destruction of family values and virtues."

"I want to enjoy your product without having Earth Day Network propaganda thrust at me," wrote Malachi Salcido of East Wenatchee, Wash.

Yvette Nunez, a 27-year-old Republican from Tampa, said she hadn't noticed the quotes on her weekly caramel machiattos. On "tall" cups, the text is obscured by a cardboard sleeve.

"There are a lot of great conservative quotes, but oh well," she said. "I'm not surprised. I'm used to being under-represented."

Now Starbucks claims it is not out to be ideological.

Company spokeswoman Valerie Hwang said the goal is not to stir up controversy. She said the company has lined up 60 contributors with "varying points of view, experiences and priorities" in an effort to promote "open, respectful conversation among a wide variety of individuals."

Each cup also bears a caveat letting customers know that the quote is "the author's opinion, not necessarily that of Starbucks."

"The program is such that we're not requiring our customers to read," Hwang said, "but rather the quotes are there for our customers to discover and enjoy."

Now the company claims it is open to suggestions from the public for future quotes. Let's take them at their word. My challenge to you is to find your favorite quote from a living individual, preferably conservative, and submit it to Starbucks. Don't be radical or outrageous -- give them something thoughtful. After all, these are liberals who have never encountered a thoughtful conservative other than Jonah Goldberg. I've got at least two individuals in mind (one conservative, one libertarian) who I think merit inclusion. And yes, liberals, you can play along as well. After all, a good quote that makes one think is always a good thing, no matter what the source. I mean, one of my favorites in the program comes from Al Franken.

"Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it’s a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from."

-- Al Franken

It will probably end up being used in my classroom. And why not? We conservatives don't have the monopoly on good ideas.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.