Coffee critics’ cognitive collapse

By Phil Plait | November 29, 2007 4:54 pm

Heh. I found this post buried in my list of drafts. For some reason I didn’t post it when I wrote it months ago. It seems appropriate now given what happened in Texas, so enjoy.

A woman in Ohio has stopped drinking Starbucks (registration for that link may be required) because her takeout cup had a quotation on it that expressed a vague notion of possible agnosticism:

Printed on the cup was: “Why in moments of crisis do we ask God for strength and help? As cognitive beings, why would we ask something that may well be a figment of our imaginations for guidance? Why not search inside ourselves for the power to overcome? After all, we are strong enough to cause most of the catastrophes we need to endure.”

It is attributed to Bill Schell, a Starbucks customer from London, Ontario, and was included on the cup as part of an effort by the company to collect different viewpoints and spur discussion.

“As someone who loves God, I was so offended by that. I don’t think there needs to be religious dialogue on it. I just want coffee,” said Incanno, a married mother of three who is Catholic.

That’s her right, of course, but I wonder out loud that her faith is so shaky that it is disturbed by a paper coffee cup. Be that as it may, where was she when Starbucks had this on a coffee cup?

Darwinism’s impact on traditional social values has not been as benign as its advocates would like us to believe. Despite the efforts of its modern defenders to distance themselves from its baleful social consequences, Darwinism’s connection with eugenics, abortion and racism is a matter of historical record, and the record is not pretty.” From Dr. Jonathan Wells, biologist and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design.

Yup, that Wells, a shill for The Discovery Institute who never gets within a glancing blow of reality. Starbucks says they put these quotations on cups just to air out various points of view. That’s fine, I suppose, up to the point where they spread sheer nonsense like that garbage from Wells (you need not imagine what PZ had to say when that cup came out). Even then, of course, that’s their right, but in today’s climate of public ignorance about science, publicizing quotations from the DI — which is populated with people who will lie outrageously and without hesitation to promote their religion — I wish they had a little more info on the cup.

And again, that woman from Ohio is free to buy or not buy whatever product she wants for whatever reason, just as Starbucks is free to print whatever it wants to on its cups. If Catholics boycott because of an atheist quotation, or atheists boycott because of a religious one, that’s the power of the pocketbook, and it’s a good one.

But everyone should be aware that Starbucks is, indeed, printing opposing views, so in that sense what they are doing is legit. I’ll note that not too long ago, a Starbucks cup featuring a quotation by Armistead Maupin about homophobia caused an uproar in Texas (well, Baylor University), too. I’ve seen both progressive and conservative quotations on Starbucks cups, though I’ll wait with bated breath for them to post an opinion from, say, David Duke or Charles Manson.

I’m sure glad I have my own pulpit here to talk about it. I’m not a huge fan of Starbucks — I drink it when I’m out of beans or in too big a hurry to make a cuppa joe myself — but something like this is hardly enough to make me avoid the place, or let it get me upset. Some folks really just need to switch to decaf.

After writing this, I found a long thread about it on Fark.com. In general, many Farkers are rude and immature — it’s a selling point! — but the respondents in this case have some interesting good things to say. And need I add? NSFW.

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Comments (54)

  1. Christian X Burnham

    To be honest- I’m also not a great fan of putting political/religious views on my coffee cup.

    If Starbucks wanted to do it right- they could let people on teh internets vote on the slogans. As it is, I care not for random quotations (some good, some bad) being printed on the cups.

    I’m also not a fan of the stance that – well, if you don’t like it then don’t buy it. I think that corporations play such a large part in our daily lives that we should have some input when they mess things up.

    BTW- I agree with the sentiments behind the contentious quotation- but that’s beside the point. As the BA mentioned- what happens when the shoe is on the other foot and Starbucks has anti-science messages?

  2. Bad Albert

    Starbucks should quote those verses from the bible that says women should remain silent in church and obey their husbands. I wonder what the response of god-loving Michelle Incanno would be to that?

  3. zeb

    Starbucks isn’t the only one. The fast food chain In-N-Out prints Bible verse numbers on many of their paper items(cups, fry holders, burger holders, etc.) Although those are somewhat hidden and you have to look for them.

    Interestingly, I don’t like either chain, and in both cases because I don’t like their products.

  4. All the more reason to put these two “ideologies” into philosophy class and get matters of faith OFF of coffee cups, and also OUT of public school classrooms.

    But really, I must blame this christian person for not knowing about the “starbucks” symbolism.. that their logo is a mer-woman with her “legs” spread eagle and a pentacle-star symbolizing the “sacred feminine” above her head.

    They’re pagan , they admit it, so if she doesn’t want to hear contrary thoughts on religion then she should go to a secular coffee shop (lol if there is such a thing)..

    Maybe when they take your order they could ask you if you’re a grande’ atheist, or a venti-christian.. they could then cater to peoples myopic worldviews by giving them the propaganda they need to “feel” better about themselves.

    I personally don’t give 2 craps about what a quote from a toolio starbucks regular says… as far as I’m concerned he can screw the “mermaid fish pagan” that you all call starbucks.

  5. Stephen

    I remember the quotations on the Starbucks cups. Do they still do that? I don’t go there often, so I don’t recall. But the few times I read the quotation on the cup, I don’t remember it being anything particularly stupid or infuriating, not that I would boycott Starbucks if it had been. I don’t know what’s up with some ideologically insecure people, but I have no problem buying coffee from people who print quotes I disagree with. Some people are so effing terrified of opposing viewpoints. But then, I suppose we non-creationists in the US are used to encountering opposing viewpoints, under the circumstances. It’s certainly not enough to get my long johns in a bunch.

    That said, I’m all for them displaying a diversity of viewpoints, ones I both agree and disagree with, but to display an outright lie, such as a claim that Darwinism is strongly tied to racism, is another matter entirely. Hey, remember British imperialism? The one where they civilized/killed the non-white savages? That started, oh, about 350 years before Darwin was born.

  6. oh, yeah …Here’s the link to their picture, for your own interpretation..

    http://www.northwestern.edu/nucuisine/images/newsletter/Starbucks-logo.gif

  7. Theology from a coffee cup, what will they think up next!

    I like the coffee, overpriced as it is, but as a long time collector of quotations the quality of what Starbucks is printing on the side of their cups leaves something to be desired. I think a few from historical figures would be more interesting, I might be able to add to my collection.

    By the way, Starbucks wanted a discussion and they got one, on this and numerous other blogs.

  8. Jeff

    I sent a snarky e-mail to Ben Chapman last week asking if he really believed in what his organization was shilling or if money was his God. His response was”don’t believe everything you see on TV” Nuff said.(This doesn’t belong here, but I wanted to share)
    Starbucks coffee sucks; oiled beans simply don’t make a good cup. Arabica beans are great “straight”; I guess messing with what God created has diminishing returns:)
    I don’t think that anything Starbucks would put on their cups would make a difference.

  9. I’m no creationist, but it /is/ a matter of historical fact, dammit, that the big spurt in eugenics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was due to Sir Francis Galton, who /was/ inspired to it by “The Origin of Species”, and that some of the 20th-century manifestations of racism were thoroughly entangled with Galtonian eugenics. The answer to this charge is not to charge blindly into denial, but simply to point out that the fact that men have used the notion of Darwinian evolution to ill ends does not prove that Darwin was wrong any more than election of — I will be uncontroversial and say Warren G. Harding — proves that the Enlightenment was a disaster.

    Of course, Wells does not include among his catalog of evolutionary evils the so-called “social Darwinism” that is so entangled with laissez-faire capitalism. No doubt Mr. Wells Christianly pilots camels through needles’ eyes on a daily basis.

  10. Starbucks wins. They did in fact stimulate public debate on a contentious issue.

    Hooray for Starbucks. Would it kill them to stick with selling coffee though?

    FWIW, though, the pocketbook is largely impotent. Even if I bought Starbucks coffee and I decided to stop because they did something that offended me, Starbucks would never notice.

    Even if 35% of their customer base suddenly quit buying, Starbucks would never make the connection, and probably wouldn’t go out of business.

    This sort of thing, then, properly lies in the realm of the direct customer complaint.

  11. Darren Bennett

    Well, here in sunny Brisbane, Australia, it was only this morning that I was commenting that I was glad I wasn’t getting a cup of takeaway coffee, because all the cups were advertising Windows Mobile! Echh – nothing like the taste of micro$oft to spoil a good cup of coffee!

  12. imran sheikh

    (quote)

    John W. Kennedyon said on 29 Nov 2007 at 7:38 pm

    “I’m no creationist, but it /is/ a matter of historical fact, dammit, that the big spurt in eugenics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was due to Sir Francis Galton, who /was/ inspired to it by “The Origin of Species”, and that some of the 20th-century manifestations of racism were thoroughly entangled with Galtonian eugenics. The answer to this charge is not to charge blindly into denial, but simply to point out that the fact that men have used the notion of Darwinian evolution to ill ends does not prove that Darwin was wrong any more than election of — I will be uncontroversial and say Warren G. Harding — proves that the Enlightenment was a disaster.

    Of course, Wells does not include among his catalog of evolutionary evils the so-called “social Darwinism” that is so entangled with laissez-faire capitalism. No doubt Mr. Wells Christianly pilots camels through needles’ eyes on a daily basis.

    i was gonna say all that but not nearly as well :)
    theres a pretty great analysis in “out of our minds” by sir Ken Robinson in which he relates it to our modern views regarding schooling systems and standardized tests.

  13. I think that corporations play such a large part in our daily lives that we should have some input when they mess things up.

    I hear this a lot, and always with that same lack of detail. What input would you like?

    You can write letters to complain, but they’ll probably be ignored because a corporation really doesn’t care – you already bought the product.

    You can choose not to buy their stuff… that will interest them more, but it’s pretty much a waste of time unless you have an opinion that has widespread interest.

    You can sue them, but you need an actual legal reason to do so, and it had better be a good one because the corp probably has more money than you do.

    You can try and legislate against them, but that’s really a roundabout way of suing them in a way that everyone loses.

    You can buy shares and exercise your vote at a shareholder meeting, but that has the same “widespread” issue as the boycott.

    You can go to the media and appeal to the masses as an everyman, downtrodden by an evil company… but that only works with companies that are really considered evil, and only works for “everymen” that are sort of disadvantaged. An upper middle class Catholic woman complaining about the quotation on her overpriced, luxury coffee doesn’t have a lot of “poor me” appeal.

    So what input do you think you should have that you don’t already have? I guarantee you Starbucks is getting more free publicity from the whiny Catholic lady than they could have bought with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of advertising budget.

  14. Adrian

    I can never read those damn things anyway, unless I really feel like peeling the cardboard sleeve off the cup.

  15. Christian X Burnham

    Evolving squid: A few things- I’d like the workers of Starbucks to have a say in the management of the company. I’d like easier access to information about how Starbucks treats their workers and where they buy their coffee from- and how the coffee growers are treated. I’d like a way of holding Starbucks and all other companies accountable for their effects on the ‘community’- such that they can’t simply move in and take over the business that would normally go to independent coffee houses. I’d like anti-monopoly laws that penalize chain stores.

  16. Dave Hall

    This is all a tempest in a teacup–er coffee cup.

    The main point is that someone was able to get her name in the paper and advertise her holiness for all in town to see. I’ll bet she sent clippings to everyone she knows. Maybe she even posted a copy in her church, just to make sure everone sees her stand for god.

    These days–if you want to be offended, you are sure to find something to offend you.

  17. Marcia Dresser

    What Starbucks should print is the amount of caffeine on their cups.

    Coffee puts the system under the strain of metabolizing a deadly acid-forming drug, depositing its insoluble cellulose, which cements the wall of the liver, causing this vital organ to swell to twice its proper size. In addition, coffee is heavily sprayed. (Ninety-two pesticides are applied to its leaves.) Diuretic properties of caffeine cause potassium and other minerals to be flushed from the body.

    All this fear went away when I quit, and it was a book that inspired me to do it called The Truth About Caffeine by Marina Kushner. There are five things I liked about this book:

    1) It details–thoroughly–the ways in which caffeine may damage your health.

    2) It reveals the damage that coffee does to the environment. Specifically, coffee was once grown in the shade, so that trees were left in place. Then sun coffee was introduced, allowing greater yields but contributing to the destruction of rain forests. I haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere else.

    3) It explains how best to go off coffee. This is important. If you try cold turkey, as most people probably do, the withdrawal symptoms will likely drive you right back to coffee.

    4) Helped me find a great resource for the latest studies at CaffeineAwareness.org

    5) Also, if you drink decaf you won’t want to miss this special free report on the dangers of decaf available at http://www.soyfee.com

  18. Christian X Burnham

    Marcia: Hang on a sec. Let me put on my tinfoil hat….

    Google search on “coffee liver” gives…

    New research points to coffee’s ability to minimize the progression of liver disease, including cutting the risk of alcohol-related cirrhosis. …

    Researchers have confirmed drinking coffee can protect against one of the worst effects of alcohol. Alcoholic liver cirrhosis progressively scars the organ, …

    Drinking coffee could reduce the risk of liver disease in heavy drinkers, a US study has found.

    They discovered that liver cancer in people who never or almost never drank coffee was 547.2 cases per 100000 people. But for people who drank coffee daily, …

  19. “Why in moments of crisis do we ask God for strength and help? As cognitive beings, why would we ask something that may well be a figment of our imaginations for guidance?…”

    Good question. Are there no atheists in foxholes?
    And if so, why aren’t any there?

    It seems to me that we also thank God in moments of great satisfaction and relief, moments of great beauty and great inspiration.

    What is it about the conscious beings’ experience of God that it breaks forth in such intensity in moments of intense passion, whether it is fear and suffering or love and awe-struck wonderment?

    Or, in a sense, why does God exist on the extremes? – exist, that is, more fully and intimately in our consciousness that He does when life is a bit more humdrum and mundane?

  20. Michelle

    And one would think she stopped drinking Starbucks because their coffee’s awful.

    But I’m sure that some atheists or agnostics never stopped drinking Starbucks just because Wells was on their cups. And they didn’t get media time for it…

  21. CXB:
    Evolving squid: A few things- I’d like the workers of Starbucks to have a say in the management of the company. I’d like easier access to information about how Starbucks treats their workers

    That’s absolutely none of your business. That’s not input you should have unless you are a worker for [any corp], or a shareholder. You should have no more say in that than I should have a say in how you raise your kids. Nevertheless, most companies have contact information and you can always send your opinions.

    If you’re just an interested third party with no material interest in the company, why should you have any say whatsoever in how the company operates internally? By what special providence would you claim this right? Why should a company give any weight to your opinion? Answer those questions and you will understand why you have no say.

    and where they buy their coffee from- and how the coffee growers are treated.

    Again, that’s not really any of your business. Although I’m certain that if you wrote to them, POLITELY, and asked, they’d probably tell you. In my experience, most companies respond well to polite inquiry.

    Personally, I expect the coffee growers to be treated like, well, coffee growers. I know some people think they should be treated like kings and are even willing to pay more for a cup of coffee. I’m not one of those people.

    I’d like a way of holding Starbucks and all other companies accountable for their effects on the ‘community’- such that they can’t simply move in and take over the business that would normally go to independent coffee houses. I’d like anti-monopoly laws that penalize chain stores.

    If the independent coffee houses can’t compete…

    Let’s be serious here for a moment. Do you really think that an independent coffee house can’t compete with Starbucks on price and quality? In Canada, Second Cup and Tim Hortons kick Starbucks to the curb. Little mom and pop places where people used to go get some bad coffee and sit around and smoke are failing all over but it’s because the community is changing and people are less interested in that any more. In Canada, not much can compete with the caffeine juggernaut that is Tim Hortons. TH is even going to work on the NE USA now.

    There are anti-monopoly laws already, and they are enforced. Most people have a pretty warped idea of what constitutes a monopoly though.

    Dave
    The main point is that someone was able to get her name in the paper and advertise her holiness for all in town to see. I’ll bet she sent clippings to everyone she knows. Maybe she even posted a copy in her church, just to make sure everone sees her stand for god.

    That pretty much sums it all up.

  22. Hmm.

    “I’ve seen both progressive and conservative quotations on Starbucks cups, though I’ll wait with bated breath for them to post an opinion from, say, David Duke or Charles Manson.”

    I think it’s funny that in your mind conservative is the antithesis of progressive.

    I guess even scientists have a hard time looking at some subjects objectively 😉

  23. StevoR

    Quotes on a coffee cups to spark discussion – neat idea really.

    I wouldn’t stop buying anything just because they print one quote I disagree with. Especially, if they printed other things I did agree with and it was clearly just floated out there as a talking point.

    If they showed a consistent bias one way or t’other then either side might have a case but, as it is, it is more an example of :

    “Well curious but … get a sense of proportion!” 😉

    Even nasty people – indeed sometimes esp. nasty people – can provide interesting or amusing quotations.

    As for the BAs qu. on that lady’s reaction to a self-proclaimingly pro-Christian / anti-evolutionary (“Creationist”) message I’m sure if she saw it at all then she thought something like :

    “Oh yeah, that’s nice I agree with / like that one ..”

    for five secs or so then soon forgot about it …

    Not that I claim ESP just some old not-so common-sense. 😉

    Its usually the quote we disagree agree with that get the biggest reaction. Or maybe more like 60-40 % with the ones that we think are absolutely spot on like well for me, a lot of what Asimov, Sagan and, yes, Jesus Christ too said … (or wrote or we reportedly quoted as having said – to be pedantic.)

    Anyhow, I’d rather a cup of tea anyday! 😉

  24. I’ve never been a fan of Starbucks, and I’ve only had it twice. The taste isn’t that good, and the price is way more than the quality. The two times I did have it were because of leaving the house without making my own.

    Anyway, they could probably appease the masses, and still stimulate conversation by printing quotes from both sides of a topic on the same cup. Of course, someone would probably still complain because of the location of where one quote was compared to the other.

  25. Rob

    Y’know, I don’t think I ever even looked under the cardboard sleeve and saw the quotations.

    CXB: Sounds like you want to move the UK, where Starbucks is quite willing to sell you fair-trade certified coffee and where workers’ rights are a lot stronger than in the US.

    Evolving Squid: Every consumer is paying money to a company and thus has some right to know how that money is being spent. This is in no way comparable to having a say in how someone else raises their kids.

  26. Doc

    Pointless tangential comment:

    I vaguely remember reading somewhere (probably in a work of fiction) of a sort of heirarchy of coffee based on what it’s called, with “coffee” somewhere near the top, “java” much lower on the list, and anything called “joe” at the very bottom.

  27. People, people. This has nothing to do with creationists, when you get right down to it.

    It has everything to do with weak, whiny people. The TRUE enemies of civilization, who demand everything that makes them feel non joy-joy feelings be suppressed.

    > Evolving Squid: Every consumer is paying money to a company and thus has some right to know how that money is being spent. This is in no way comparable to having a say in how someone else raises their kids.

    Okay, let’s follow that line of logic. I buy a used set of rusty hedge clippers from you at a lawn sale for fifty kopecs. I DEMAND TO KNOW HOW THOSE FIFTY KOPECS ARE SPENT, YOU BOURGEOIS OPPRESSOR OF THE MASSES.

    Money is an abstracted method used to standardize the exchange of wealth for goods and services. You give Starbucks money, Starbucks gives you coffee (the good) made by a person they pay (the service) for the price for that good and that service. The transaction assumes no other goods or services apply and you have no “right” to anything else, including how they spend your money.

    Hint: it’s probably on paper, wages, salaries, ingredients, and advertising, not particularly in that order.

  28. Edweird

    I find it quite funny that one comment in a sea of many differing viewpoints that represents agnosticism makes such a stir when we have tactfully ignored and continued to frequent many other chains use of religious quotes and sentiments on every cup and fry tray(re: In and Out Burger and Chick-fil-a).

  29. Rational Zen: of course progressive and conservative are antonyms. Progressive means moving forward, changing to improve things. Conservative means holding on to old ideas, on the assumption that they work.

    Whether you hold to one idea or the other, they are opposites.

  30. One Eyed Jack

    The greater question is not what Starbucks puts on their coffee cups, but why people continue to pay $3-5 for a cup of coffee. It’s coffee people.

    Then again, we live in a society that’s willing to pay for bottled water; the same water that has been shown to be no better on average than tap water. It’s only a matter of time until we have bottled air (thank-you Mel Brooks).

    OEJ

  31. Rob:
    Every consumer is paying money to a company and thus has some right to know how that money is being spent. This is in no way comparable to having a say in how someone else raises their kids.

    I completely disagree with that statement. Being a consumer grants no special privilege or right to know how the money the consumer spends is used further on. Once it is spent, it isn’t the consumer’s money any more. Yes, saying that you have such a right is exactly the same as having a say in how someone else raises their children.

    Your rights end at the decision to spend or not spend.

    I ran a company for many years. Personally, I would never tolerate inquiries about how the company spent its money except from tax auditors and then only because it is required by law. Some potential customers did, however, attempt to gain such information by making disclosure part of the contract. In every case, my company would walk away from such disclosure contracts – not because we were running Indonesian sweat shops (we weren’t, our work was consulting), but because all of us directors felt that the customer has no right or justifiable requirement to know that information. Strangely enough, we were never hurting for business.

    In North America there is a growing voyeuristic fascination where people are starting to believe they have some right to know the answer to any question, no matter how invasive or inappropriate it may be.

  32. OEJ:
    The greater question is not what Starbucks puts on their coffee cups, but why people continue to pay $3-5 for a cup of coffee. It’s coffee people.

    For the same reason people pay $3-$8 per day to give themselves a lingering death over decades by buying cigarettes.

  33. Evolving Squid:

    You forgot an angle. If money == the right to know, then you, as an employer, had under Rob’s logic the right to know how your employees spent every last drachma you gave them.

    And I’m certain you weren’t gauche enough to ask. 😉

  34. Greg

    I’ll mention it again –

    You can’t spell IDIOT without I.D. – or D.I. for that matter!

  35. PK

    Evolving Squid, I have known you as a reasonable BAbloggee, but I think you jumped into this one too quickly (probably because of your experiences with your own company).

    In civilized countries there are many laws telling companies how to treat their employees. For example, there are minimum-wage laws, safety in the workplace, maximum working hours, and-so-on. These laws are drawn up by the people (that is, the democratic government). We can debate to what extent these laws are desirable, but there is no denying that they protect many people that would otherwise be completely disenfranchised (Walmart, anyone?).

  36. PK

    Oh, and let me go on the record, saying that I quite like Starbucks. Especially because they serve fairtrade coffee here in the UK.

    Shame they had to change their logo by covering the mermaid’s boobies…

  37. > In civilized countries there are many laws telling companies how to treat their employees. For example, there are minimum-wage laws, safety in the workplace, maximum working hours, and-so-on. These laws are drawn up by the people (that is, the democratic government). We can debate to what extent these laws are desirable, but there is no denying that they protect many people that would otherwise be completely disenfranchised (Walmart, anyone?).

    Yes, this is the appropriate check against corporate control. It has nothing to do with the myth of “I paid for a donut, so I deserve to know how the fifty cents were allocated the instant they left the till at the end of the day,” much less “I paid for a donut, everything about the baker.” The taxmen of the government, representing the people, are responsible for making sure that the baker doesn’t go off and finance terrorism in Colombia or some such nonsense, but WorldConglomoCo isn’t answerable to every schmuck who bought a novelty trinket painted with a pigment that WCC made maybe half of any more than you would be answerable to me should I have bought a rusty set of hedge clippers from you.

  38. In civilized countries there are many laws telling companies how to treat their employees. For example, there are minimum-wage laws, safety in the workplace, maximum working hours, and-so-on. These laws are drawn up by the people (that is, the democratic government). We can debate to what extent these laws are desirable, but there is no denying that they protect many people that would otherwise be completely disenfranchised (Walmart, anyone?).

    Yes, there are such laws, but the existence of those laws does not confer on “Bob the customer” any rights with regard to knowing how corporate money is spent, etc. Whether or not the laws are a good thing could be the subject of much debate, but their value is not the issue here.

    The question is whether or not “Bob the Customer” has some rights to know. Those laws do not grant it in any jurisdiction of which I am aware, although they typically grant some higher level organization (the government) the rights to know, depending on the particular political division a corporation might be in.

    The government having a right to know is not the same as arbitrary customers having a right to know. It’s like I said above: when the tax auditor comes and asks how I blow my money, I’m happy to reveal my expenses. When some customer makes the same demand, they get told where to get off.

  39. KaiYeves

    She is taking this too far. I am a Christian, but I have always believed that God does not want you to beg for help over every little thing. He gives us the ability to deal with our problems.

  40. Brown

    Meanwhile, folks in Sudan scream for the execution of a teacher who, at the recommendation of her class, named a Teddy Bear “Muhammad.” The criminal penalties of imprisonment and deportation are too good for her, says the religious crowd. Even the penalty of whipping is not sufficient for this crime. No, urged the pious, she must be shot.

    I’ll let Christopher “Religion Poisons Everything” Hitchens have his field day with that news item, but I will use it to point out that we all should take great pride in the fact that we can all TALK about deficiencies in the religions of others as well as our own, without having our lives or livelihoods placed in jeopardy.

    Imagine if the sellers of this coffee receptacle, or the auther of the quote, were at risk of being tossed in the pokey or tortured for having published such a thought.

    Freedom of expression: not just the law, but a damn good idea.

  41. PK

    ES + Centipede, I am not talking about the “I pay you three bucks, now show me your books” argument. I completely agree with you there, and it is not the original point CXB brought up.

  42. Imagine if the sellers of this coffee receptacle, or the auther of the quote, were at risk of being tossed in the pokey or tortured for having published such a thought.

    I’m pretty sure that Starbucks sells coffee from Sudan :)

  43. PK:

    Hmm. Looking back at it, it’s not CXB’s idea regarding worker treatment which caught flak, it was CXB’s insistance that as a private citizen he would like to see this laundry list of things which, as you say, are in the domain of laws. Evolving Squid’s view seems to be that as a private citizen CXB’s got no place to make such demands as a business is not obligated to organize itself in a particular way because customer #2761 said so.

    I could be wrong, though, but I agree with the concept that companies are private organizations with the right to arrange themselves however they see fit within the bounds of the law.

  44. As a consumer, I should certainly like to know whether the company I’m giving money to is engaging in some odious practice in the persuit of my custom.

    Of course, I might not need to if more odious practices were outlawed.

  45. You’d certainly like, yes. I’d also like a pony, but I doubt it’s in the cards.

  46. Evolving Squid’s view seems to be that as a private citizen CXB’s got no place to make such demands as a business is not obligated to organize itself in a particular way because customer #2761 said so.

    Exactly.

  47. Frogmarch

    perhaps they should print some vegan advocacy information on their cups, like: a few week old calf was created to keep the cow lactating high yields of milk and that that calf was then killed because it was unneeded. And that that cow is forced to make milk in such quantities that it feels sick a lot of the time, converting its own body into milk while it morns the loss of its calf.

  48. PK

    Your latte will never taste the same…

  49. Meh, it’ll taste the same. Life feeds on life. Whether any particular person can live with that particular the-world-is-not-all-sunshine-and-rainbows factoid is his own problem.

  50. I’d sort of like to know whether she eats meat on Friday, uses birth control, that sort of thing. If she got caught being grossly hypocritical while bitching about atheist coffee cups, that would make for a great human interest story.

  51. Manni

    The most astonishing fact about this story is that some news outlet actually made a story out of a woman who decided to no longer buy coffee at Starbucks.

    I make decisions like that every day, but I’ve never seen my picture in the paper.

  52. > I make decisions like that every day, but I’ve never seen my picture in the paper.

    You probably didn’t throw in enough holier-than-thou righteous indignation. 😉

  53. The problem with what you’re saying, “Progressive means moving forward, changing to improve things.” is that it’s totally subjective.

    They can’t be antonyms as they have no clear definition.

    You’re version of “better” may be different from mine, from everyone else for that matter. Holding on to the old idea is the “better idea” very often, does that make it progressive? Effecting change by not changing.

    I’ll agree though, that subjectively they can be seen as antonyms. I think you are generally equating conservative with religious, which you obviously believe is making the world a worse place. Ergo, anything non-religious is progressive. That doesn’t make you right, just different from others. Dare I say regressive in the eyes of some…….

  54. lorrie

    I’m just wondering if there’s a cup out there some place that’s harder to
    be broken and repales tea and coffee stains from staying on the cup it’self:) if there is i’d like to find one:)

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