The Evolution of Cups and Mankind.

These cups may have evolved, but mankind has evolved as well. | Photo by Vox.
These cups may have evolved, but mankind has evolved as well. For the worse. | Photo by Vox.

Controversies keep us on our toes. That’s what I think. Because when there’s a controversy, there are all kinds of people who suddenly become geniuses overnight. They spout nonsense, thinking that they look or sound smarter. They start acting as if they know everything and that other people don’t and therefore, need to follow their advice. These people are normally those who have nothing better to do than to stir up controversy for fucks (pardon my language).

When the 1MDB case exploded in Malaysia, everyone went ballistic and criticised the government for everything. From the falling ringgit to the haze. And when it faded away (the controversy, not the case; the case is still alive and under investigation), Malaysians have gone into hiding. Now there is a new controversy, shaken and stirred, but it doesn’t involve Malaysia. It shouldn’t even be happening because it only goes to show how small-minded we are and how ridiculous we sound when we throw tantrums on something so trivial. I’m sure you have seen or heard about the latest ridicule that Starbucks is subjected to. All because of their unveiling of plain red cups for Christmas this year.

Seriously? Are we really that fussy about how their cups should look like for Christmas? Are we the decision-makers on the coffee chain’s board of directors? Are we being paid to design the cups? Then why are we making so much noise over this? If there is any noise to be made, it should be against world poverty and hunger, ISIS terror on children in the Middle East, Palestine and Israel, natural disasters, etc. Why are we making so much fuss over such a trivial matter? Our priorities are all messed up. We should be fighting against deforestation and open burning in indonesia. We should be voicing out against the maltreatment of the population in Syria. We should be channeling our energy to save Greece from bankruptcy. Not directing our disgust at Starbucks. What did Howard Schultz ever do to you, besides opening many branches of designer coffee and Frappuccinos for the world to enjoy?

For Starbucks, their annual unveiling of its “red cup” was meant to signify the approaching holiday season. Sadly, the move was met with a lot of criticism and controversy. The iconic Christmas cups have always featured winter-themed designs over the years, since its induction in 1997. From minimalist snowflakes and hand-drawn reindeer to winking snowmen and decorative ornaments, the design each year was distinctive and different from the last. This year, Starbucks decided to go for minimalism and simplicity — a bright red or dark cranberry shade. I quite like the minimalistic take on the design (I’ve never been buggered so much either anyway), and while some Twitter users have praised the simplistic design, others believed that the move has waged a “war on Christmas.”

The controversy bubbled over when rival coffee chain Dunkin’ Donuts released their own version of a holiday Styrofoam cup with green holly leaves and the word ‘Joy’ written in red. The cups may not be explicitly Xmas-based but the move provoked and fuelled opponents of Starbucks’ plain red designs. There were speculations that Dunkin’ Donuts did this as a direct response to Starbucks, but the Dunkin Donuts dismissed the claims, that “they have always been dishing out the festive cups with the word ‘Joy’ on it as part of their annual celebration of season and holiday offerings.” That didn’t cushion the blow for Starbucks, though. People were quick to point out that neither Starbucks nor Dunkin Donuts had cups that had Christian symbols, both coffee chains have merely created winter-themed designs instead. The thirst and hunger for controversy has sparked the hashtag #ItsJustACup that has been used more than 4,400 times in the last few days. (Source: CNBC.com.)

Talk show hosts Ellen DeGeneres and Stephen Colbert have much to say about this. DeGeneres piped up with her own satirical version of the controversy called ‘Satan Sipper Holiday Cups‘, while Colbert summed up the entirety of the controversy with his own words:

“I can see why people might be all frothed up about this. Now Starbucks is completely devoid of any trace of the holiday besides the Christmas tree ornaments, advent calendars, CDs of Christmas music, Christmas-themed gift cards, Christmas cookies, and giant displays of their Christmas Blend coffee. (Source: Business Insider Malaysia.)

Just because the cups have lost their cheer doesn’t mean Starbucks is not Christmas-friendly. This would make a pretty good movie parody though. When Starbucks Met Christmas (When Harry Met Sally). Christmas in Seattle (Sleepless in Seattle). The Cups of Wrath (The Grapes of Wrath). It could even be a Starbucks-Christmas trilogy!

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