Get widget

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Starbucks and the Internet's Bogeyman

So, Starbucks. I know, I know, but this isn't one of those posts, okay? I want to actually attempt to explain at least some of this bullshit.

As everyone in the United States has seen on repeat for the past news cycle, Starbucks replaced their red cups with snowflakes and doves on them with red cups.

The first I saw of the news was the sudden arrival of 80 billion posts on my friends' list complaining about people complaining about this change.

I saw not one actual complaint about the change.

My guess is, hardly any of my friends posting backlash against the backlash actually saw any original backlash either.

So, our knowledge of this "Starbucks controversy" comes in the form of replies to a complaint that, so far as I can tell, never really took off online. Sure, a few people were raising their hands to clouds and shouting Merry Christmas in their living rooms like every year, but, you know, most years we just tell grandpa to stop yelling at the TV and go back to our lives.

This year, for some reason, we decided to make up a bad guy and skewer him. And this news cycle, it happened to be right-wing Christians attacking Starbucks (whether or not they actually did). Because it is plausible enough that somewhere, someone who believes in the Savior was ticked off about the removal of a few white pictures on a red cup. Or, like, wouldn't it be funny and eye-roll inducing if there were someone mad about something like that? It WOULD. Okay, let's go with that. And then as people continue to open their computers, this happens:

Because it's an easy joke. It's an easy topic. It's an easy debate. It's easy. People like easy. And people love to tell other people that there are more important things going on than what they are worried about. Makes the first lot seem very important and worldly while they also get to contribute to the very topic they deem so unimportant.

And in this--very rare--case, Sbux cups actually ARE unimportant. (Usually, people telling other people their worries are meaningless because people are starving, or houses are burning and etc., are just falling back on a logical fallacy to inflate their own sense of importance). But not this time.

So, Starbucks cups.

Meanwhile, there is Mizzou, there are protests in the Philippines, Russia has a nuclear torpedo, we're close to finding life outside our solar system, Israelis are killing Palestinians in hospitals, Yale students are being Yale students, the ozone hole is as big as it was at record bigness, and the like.

All below the fold to Starbucks and its new cup.


Let me tell you.

In communications academia we have this theory called agenda setting. It basically states that the media set the agenda for the public and its opinion. To break that down: the media tell the people what is important to them and how they should think about the issue. And the public then responds. This is a self-propelling phenomenon, as whether or not the public agrees with the salience of the issue the media tell it is important, they still contribute to that salience by responding. Ergo, what the media decide to promote is the issue that goes to the front lines. And all the people railing against that power simply make that power stronger.

So, why would media focus on a Starbucks marketing decision, amid all the actual important news out there? As mentioned before, it is easy.

You see, even though media set the agenda for the public, media are beholden to what the public will actually talk about and they pay people like me big money to tell them what those issues are going to be. In the online age particularly, picking a topic that the public will respond to and argue over quickly and virally is of utmost importance to continue the relevance of any given publications, and guys, the media knows you a little bit. It's been serving you for a while now.

The media knows that liberals want to laugh about how stupid conservative people are, and that conservative people want to be like, bro, I don't even care about a cup, wtf, and that religious people want to chime in about a very important piece of their lives no matter where they fall in the argument.

The argument, remember, that isn't even happening because who of any importance actually said, OMG STARBUCKS HATES CHRISTIANS.

Not one person. At least in the early days.

In fact, the media TOLD Donald Trump (and a few other "important / newsworthy" people, that this was an issue, and basically invited them to be that guy. Because you can't fight a ghost forever.

So when Trump did his Trumply duty and spoke on it, we all wiped our brows in relief. It worked. The plan worked. We got our bad guy.

And when Dunkin' Donuts saw a chance to get its name in the news because holy crap, what a TON of advertising for Sbux right now, and that is totally unfair to the other coffee chains, it, too, made its own followup. Then Ellen and other people with credibility stepped in.

And now we've got a story with legs. And we get to sit back and say, "See, public? We told you this was a big deal and you heard it here first. We told you this was a big story. We broke this story. You know, the story we completely fabricated."

Another win for publications filling pages looking for clicks.

And the public began to play along. After a million posts starting with those memes above, then going into the actual news stories linked just after those, people started to voice their opinions on the issue and we got ourselves a nice (if tiny), eff-the-pc-police camp. So, thanks, internet commenters. You've done your job. In my public search, I found two. TWO.

"So I went to Starbucks to test the no Merry Christmas bull that Donald Trump has been talking about, and sure enough, they are not allowed to say it or write it on your cup! So not only do they support killing babies by employee matching planned parenthood, but they really have banned the use of Christmas this season! Thinking it's about time for a total boycott!"

"Christmas is the best holiday of the year. It has nothing to do with religion - it's about family time, snuggling, warm cider, christmas trees, gift-giving, reindeer and santa claus ...
The disappointment with Starbucks is about the PC-neutralization of American culture, and not about religion.
Once again Trump has the right idea. Dump Starbucks. Peet's has better coffee anyways, and they have holiday cheer!"

Okay great.

But we still haven't answered why the media choose to inflate the importance of stories like this. And I can't speak for them, I can only speak for me, but I can tell you, as a member of the media, it is hard to report on news. News is sad. And bad. And angry. And unfair. And people are fucking dying out there every day. And it's our job to tell you about it. And you don't want to hear about it, and we don't want to write about it, not because we don't care, but because we care so much, and we are helpless. We are the mouthpiece of the atrocities of the world, and we soon learn that just telling people about these atrocities does not end those atrocities. Only action and behavioral change on a systemic level does. And news articles are like bb guns in the fight to create that change. We have entire models on this, again, in academia. Changing behavior in just ONE individual takes the perfect recipe of facts, timing and interest on the part of that person that must be applied for months if not years. Changing the behavior in a society? That takes decades, and millions of voices, and the change is slow and painful and we're tired.

So, the public wants a break to complain about a cup?

Sometimes we just give up and agree. Yes, let's do that instead. For today. Tomorrow, back on the social justice boat.


  1. All the post are very useful to implement in our life

  2. Some articles are related in our life,so nice

  3. The words are so simple and easy to understand

  4. Nice to read all post and more innovative

  5. The information's are useful for every people

  6. Peoples are giving a really nice comments for all the article

  7. All the post are good and the peoples are giving nice comment for all post

  8. Really nice,every one should like all the comments

  9. Very useful comments are posted and everybody like this comments

  10. Not only to read the post, need to spreed every one

  11. Most of the post and comments are related my blog

  12. All the words are simple and every one should understand easily

  13. Its really nice informative tutorial,so thanks for this tutorial

  14. The information's are really good and peoples are given wonderful comments for all the post

  15. Nice Post and all information's are used to everybody

  16. For my view is Really nice,because all peoples are giving the wonderful comments

  17. Really nice,everybody like All the Post

  18. All the post are very useful to implement in our life

  19. Nice comments are posted and very useful

  20. Some articles are related in our life,so nice

  21. The words are so simple and easy to understand

  22. Nice to read all post and more innovative

  23. The information's are useful for every people

  24. Peoples are giving a really nice comments for all the article

  25. All the post are good and the peoples are giving nice comment for all post

  26. Choose the best Internet marketing firm or authority should you choose to make use of their offering. Remember to make enquiries about their pedigree, history and projects they have concluded. create gmail account

  27. Wonderful and great article. Thank you so much.

    quickbooks for small business

  28. Hi, I have scanned the greater part of your posts. This post is presumably where I got the most valuable data for my exploration. A debt of gratitude is in order for posting, possibly we can see more on this. Are you mindful of some other sites on this subject. high PR backlinks service

  29. Excellent information. I also agree with mary for choose best internet Marketing Company

  30. While these could suffice for minor problems, they may not work for dire situations where you need immediate action. Johnny West

  31. Online marketing is not simple, it's a process that is difficult and also built up of frequent different parts; there are lots of issues engaged with publicity an online site or even thing. Digital marketing

  32. It is truly baffling to see how such a varied and diverse realm can have such a significant place in the world.

  33. If you facing issues logging into Yahoo mail account and to recover Yahoo mail password.Contact: Customer Support Number to recover Yahoo Mail Password

  34. Hotmail customer service helpdesk number support numbers of Hotmail customer service department the specialists who go to your call can likewise give you commands and tips. Resetting a Hotmail password can be easily done on the off chance that you think about the right approach. In any case, the truth of the matter is that there are connect of users who are knowledgeable about the correct advance. By obtain the top of the line support from our experts you will maintain your Hotmail use with no problem at all. Hence forth do depend on our Hotmail technical support promotes when you necessitate an unexpected Hotmail password reset organizes for enduring your record.

  35. I truly cherish perusing and taking after your post as I discover them to a great degree useful and intriguing. This post is similarly
    educational and also fascinating . Much obliged to you for data you been putting on making your site such an intriguing.
    Epson Support

  36. It's really nice post,I have made my own website If there are some issue then check it and tell me,Thanks
    Asus Customer Support

  37. Search engine optimization is a fabulous technique which can make a particular website more search engine friendly.


  38. articles that you provide a very interesting and very useful for me, thank you very much admin and pardon me permission to share articles herein may be useful and help
    Istiqomah Herbal

  39. To achieve this sort of presentation through any possible manifestation of promoting would blow any organizations advertising plan out the window. Submit URL

  40. Each word created has enchanted its gathering of spectators in the most exceptional way. IP checking - Ip address

  41. Totally epigrammatic. Everything is expressed so fluently and without any flaw. Whois domain

  42. Part of the issue is the way we discuss the issue. The FBI defines cyber terrorism as a planned, politically propelled attack against data. Hugh Jackman Jacket At Filmstarlook

  43. If you want to remain anonymous from your competition, who will most likely be reviewing reports or data of who is visiting their site, using a proxy will keep your IP address from showing up. where to buy proxies

  44. Online marketing can also be very useful in time of taste or condition of the product. Online marketing for small business

  45. Interesting article! Thank you for sharing them! I hope you will continue to have similar posts to share with everyone. Steve Rogers Blue Jacket

  46. More info click here:
    Yahoo customer service number
    We offer a plenty of cost free and premium administrations keeping in mind the end goal to help our customers oversee and settle their yahoo mail and different issues. Specialized issues may cause security mistake or notwithstanding working blunder in the yahoo mail however with our moment bolster, there is no danger to your record. On the off chance that you need to get paid help for long haul administration or need assistance for individual hurray mail account or a business yippee mail account, continue perusing to locate the best reasonable choices beneath


  47. If you’re looking for excellent Workers.We are here to provide Internet Marketing services and help people. We offer NICHE Relevant Manual Blog Comment Service , We can rank you for any keyword on Google I will be very happy to offer my service to you. Please feel free to message me and talk about any queries

  48. what you have to remember is that simply an SEO company or even a SEO hosting company that is required is of no use unless the Link popularity strategy that they are implementing can help your site do better in a search engine. build a blog

  49. what you need to recollect is that just a SEO organization or even a SEO facilitating organization that is required is of no utilization unless the Link fame system that they are actualizing can enable your site to improve the situation in a web crawler.
    Thor Chris Hemsworth Costume

  50. This is mind blowing and enormous post at all over. She looks shocking in her lovely outfit with incredible coat and her high foot sole area, rings and armlet are radiant as well. I extremely exceptionally appreciate perusing your great and helpful post much obliged. Birthday Wishes For Daughter

  51. Let me get straight to the point: this article isn't a specialized manual on the better purposes of Internet marketing. No instructional exercises, no tests, no benchmarks.
    Edkent Media

  52. There are several popular article directories like Squidoo, Hubpages, Helium, Articlebase and more... Shane Perry Marketing

  53. Great information! I am satisfied with the amount of provided information

    Avenger Infinity War Hoodie Jacket

  54. Thank you again for all the knowledge you distribute,Good post. I was very interested in the article, it's quite inspiring I should admit. I like visiting you site since I always come across interesting articles like this one.Great Job, I greatly appreciate that.Do Keep sharing! Regards,



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...