When I was in college, Starbucks was the devil. They were considered evil by the hippigensia that pervaded my university (which I love by the way) because they worked against the little guys at home and abroad. In the US they moved into areas and put independent coffee shops out of business, or at least made their lives harder. Overseas their lack of care in purchasing their beans meant laborers were mistreated. So, by extension, Starbucks was the devil.

Eventually the hatred died down as Starbucks worked on cleaning up their image by offering benefits to their employees at home and buying at least partially into the fair trade movement.

Now in 2008, Starbucks is trying to turn their flagging business around in an economy where folks are cutting the fat. And Starbucks is nearly all fat. As part of their plan to turn things around they’ve launched a new line of Coffee that hearkens back to their roots in Seattle’s Pike Place. In addition to the throwback coffee, they’ve added a throwback design. But now the BBC is reporting that some Christians (belonging to a group calling themselves “the Resistance”) are up in arms over the “new” Starbucks logo (see comparison at right) and are calling for a boycott of the Coffee giant. Excuse my lack of righteous indignation, but I like the new logo better. If you’re going to use a representation of a mythological creature for your logo you ought to have the gumption to depict it in a similar way to the original. In this case, the Starbucks logo is reportedly based upon a “16th century Norse design” of a siren.

On a side note, I’m not sure it’s entirely appropriate to talk about Norse in the 16th century–by then I would think the general term Scandinavian and the more specific Swedish, Danish, Norwegian etc… would be more apt. Be that as it may, this just strikes me as another example of how some Christians get hot under the collar over the stupidest stuff… all the while they are probably working frantically to come up with some pseudo-Christian Kitsch version of the logo to slap on the T-shirts they sell which are manufactured with love by tiny hands in third world countries by companies involved in the same conglomerates as some of the “Christian” publishing imprints owned by parent companies that in their other manifestations cater to all sorts of degenerate appetites… Global capitalism and all that…

Am I wrong? Should I really be offended by this? Parents, would you cover your children’s eyes when passing this sign?

To paraphrase a commenter on another site, this is horrible… if we don’t get rid of this logo all the Christian children (and husbands) are going to go straight down to the fish market and debauch themselves.

I guess Starbucks is the devil again…

{read the article}

And, for a very interesting history of the Starbucks Logo, check out this site.

Update: Anna made an interesting observation regarding the original 15th century version of the siren vs. a “reimagining” of the siren on a current Starbucks bag. Compare the picture above to this:


Notice anything interesting?

Doesn’t it look like the mermaid had liposuction? I guess even mythical creatures aren’t immune to cultural standards of beauty. I’ll leave it to Anna to unpack this