Just when you thought the collision of free speech and wounded sensibilities couldn't get any dumber, Starbucks lands in hot latte over the quotable quotes on its "The Way I See It" cups. Concerned Women for America threaten a boycott in retaliation for a pullquote from Armistead "Tales of the City" Maupin that attempts to convert teens to the homosexual lifestyle. Starbucks responds by promising to add one of Rick "Purpose-Driven Life" Warren's (favorable) quotes about God to an upcoming cup. But the problem doesn't end there, as Greg Beato reports:
Call it a craven attempt to mollify miffed Christians if you will, but since Starbucks' 33 million weekly customers include plenty of knuckle-dragging evolutionists, too, it's also a bold, self-destructive move. Indeed, what happens when people who have no interest whatsoever in what Jesus would brew get a shot of Warren's deep-roasted evangelism in their morning lattes? Starbucks will no doubt plead objective neutrality: It doesn't believe in God any more than it believes in happy gay men—it just wants to carry on the great coffeehouse tradition of (inoffensive, conflict-free) conversation and debate.
But of course it's not that easy anymore. In these extremely partisan times, objective neutrality simply means that, eventually, everyone ends up hating you.
Former Reason editor Virginia Postrel joined the humble company of Maupin, Warren, Moby, Rufus Wainwright, Michael Medved, and the president of the Atlantic Salmon Federation when one of her aphorisms made it onto a Starbucks cup.