Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Red Cups Are Coming

The red cups are coming! The red cups are coming!

Let's talk about the red cups at Starbucks and the rather extreme response that some Christians are having to the holiday cups that the coffee chain released on November 1st of this year, like they do every year.

For reference I'm putting this year's cup and last year's cup in this post.   The 2014 cup is on the right and features stars or snowflakes, which, to be clear, are winter themed items and not Christmas themed.

But this didn't stop a group of Christian's from going up in arms about the store becoming 'anti Christmas'

I'm not going to get into the 'movement' but I'm going to break down how absurd they are in their quest because 1.) Starbucks still offers plenty of Christmas items in the store, including a Christmas blend coffee and 2.) it's a fucking cup, it's red and green, how the hell are they offended.

So as a way to 'get back at' Starbucks Christians are being encouraged to go to Starbucks and buy a cup of coffee and tell them their name is "Merry Christmas."

Okay, what?

You want to prove a point by giving the company  that you're upset with MORE MONEY? That's the opposite of what they should be doing if they want to prove a point.  They should be actively going to Starbucks competition, not going there and spending money.  Like, wow, you really got them, you spent $5.95 on your peppermint mocha latte and they wrote Merry Christmas on the cup.

Starbucks employees don't care what they're writing on your cup and Starbucks home office is employees are probably sitting there looking at the tag #MerryChristmasStarbucks and cackling because they're getting a ton of free press that is encouraging people to go into their stores.

I also want to touch on a the video that was posted that started this whole thing.  The link to this video is here.  I'm laughing out loud right now because at no point in their holiday cup history has Starbucks featured religious symbols on their cups, they have featured things like ornaments, evergreen trees, snowflakes, snowmen and stars.  These aren't religious symbols, they are commercialized things that we view as Christmas-y.

This guy is so offended because they took away the Christmas from the cup, he even says something about taking the 'Christ' out of Christmas and I'm sorry, but that's too funny because Starbucks didn't do that, he did by buying into the commercial view of Christmas.  A cup isn't what Christmas is about and just because the cup is minimalist and only red doesn't mean you should freak out, it's just a cup.

Honestly, I'm more upset that it's only Novemeber and places are already playing Christmas music and the red cups are already out.  We haven't even had Thanksgiving yet, can we just take this one holiday at a time and maybe stop commercializing religious events? I'd be cool if I could just go buy my overpriced coffee in a plain red cup and not have to deal with the extreme views of 'scorned' Christians. You guys have it pretty good, you have entire sections of stores for you right now, how do you think that Jewish kid feels when he sees he only has the cap of an aisle in Target?  That Muslim girl who is getting shit for wearing her headdress doesn't have anything in the store, you can deal with the plain red cup.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Master of None

I'll admit it, I spent 5 hours straight binge watching Master of None, Aziz Ansari's new show on Netflix and holy fucking shit did I relate to that show on so many different levels.  He did such a great job of creating the characters and the different story lines that really hit home with me and probably millions (maybe not millions) of other people.  This post is going to be about the show so I'm throwing up a huge SPOILER ALERT right now so no one can get mad at me.

Aziz plays Dev, a late twenties-early thirties actor who's working as a commercial actor in NYC.  He's a first generation immigrant and his life is pretty sweet, his apartment is (in my opinion) awesome, his friends are an eclectic group who I'd love to grab a drink with and he has a great girlfriend, until he doesn't anymore.

The season finale of Master of None was the kind of ending that left me yelling at my laptop.

After I took a few minutes (hours) to sit, to stare at the now black screen of my laptop I didn't feel any better.

I had grown attached to these characters, smiled at their quirks because I can relate to them, laughed at their jokes and awkwardness, I was invested in their relationship in a way that I haven't been in  a long time.  (Yes, I am fully aware of how sad it is that I can get invested in a fictional relationship more than I can get invested in my own [lack] of love life).

So there I was listening to Rachel (Dev's girlfriend - ex girlfriend) talk about how she can't become her sister.  She can't wake up one day with a kid and realized her window to live a life that she wants has closed.  She says in an earlier episode that it's not like it closes slowly, you look up one day and it's already done.  She moves to Japan.  I hate how much I relate to her, to her need to live a life without regrets, to wanting to be free, even if that means hurting people you love.

Then there's Dev.  He fell into acting and it's not like he loves it, it's just something he does because the money is good. The look on his face when Rachel tells him she's leaving is a look I've seen before because I've put it on people's faces, but I've also seen it for myself.  I was heartbroken for him because how could she just leave him like that? But I know how, I know why.  He goes too.  He ends up moving to Italy to become a chef.

The ending wasn't clean cut and happy.  Sure, both characters are moving and trying to grab like by the horns and live fully but at the same time what's the cost? They aren't 100% sure about each other,  but when in life are you really 100% sure about anything.  I'm not 100% sure about most things.

Maybe that's why I cut ties and run, because I want something to be 100% guaranteed.  What Master of None really showed me was a fogged mirror of myself.  Aziz Ansari created a show about Millenials that causes us to put down our phones and think about our lives.  How do we treat our parents? Our grandparents? Are we missing out on life as we toil away at jobs we don't like, in relationships that don't satisfy us? Are we really living?

End Spoilers

These days we live half lives.  We want to do all these awesome, amazing things, but we're scared shitless because we don't want to miss out on what's happening where we are.  I still think about what my friends in Buffalo are doing and feel a little FOMO (fear of missing out) but then I think about who I would be if I were still there and I start living in my moment again.

I don't want to be a person who is always cutting ties, who's always afraid that my window is going to close. I want to be a person who doesn't care about the window, who will find a door if that doesn't work out, who will stand up for what's right.  I'm not going to ignore the open windows around me, not anymore.

So here's to all the windows out there, closed and open and the ones that haven't been built yet.  Here's to spending Sunday afternoons wrapped in a blanket drinking tea, here's to coffee shops and book stores, here's to loving the life you're living and trying to make it better if you don't.  Here's to the Millenials, the risk takers, the people around me who inspire me to be better.

A special thanks to Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang for creating a show that spoke to my soul in a language that it understands. Thanks for the laughter and introspection that it inspired, just thanks for doing what you do.