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David Moore
davidm@q-notes.com

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I’ve never been a big Starbucks fanatic. Caffeine makes me feel kind of freakish and it generally irritates my stomach, so the mega-chain and I really didn’t seem to be a good match. I have to admit, the mega-chain philosophy (companies like Wal-Mart, CVS, Starbucks) has never been particularly appealing to me.

I liked the idea of experiencing different regional cultures — even within the boundaries of our own country. It used to be pretty easy to find one-of-a-kind restaurants and stores while traveling — it was an addition to the adventure. You got to experience something in one place that you couldn’t find in another.

The world’s not like that so much anymore. It appears most of America likes the idea of cookie-cutter culture. Small family-owned restaurants, drug and retail stores are a thing of the past.

The mega-chains have the capability to undercut the little guy with bigger buying power and lower prices. I resent that. I feel like corporate America basically squashed a nifty part of the country’s culture.

Nevertheless, I’m not totally anti-Starbucks. My partner always makes a trek to the coffeeshop around the corner on weekend mornings. He says he needs the caffeine to get him going for the projects around the house. Sometimes I’ll go with him and get an iced decafe.

This past week a story came across my desk that — despite my reservation about corporate mega-giants drumming out small business owners — made me change my feelings about Starbucks.

As it turns out, Starbucks was a sponsor of Seattle’s gay Pride. What’s more — they’ve sponsored several regional gay Pride celebrations across the country.

According to a report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, around 75 Starbucks employees marched in the recent Seattle Pride parade, wearing T-shirts in rainbow colors with the word “PRIDE” on the front, with a Starbuck’s company van following behind. The following day, Starbucks employees passed out samples of Mint Mocha Chip Frappuccino to Pride festival-goers.

“We’re committed to supporting things that matter to our employees and our customers,” said Heywood McGuffee, Starbucks marketing manager for Washington state.

But wait — there’s more.

Starbucks’ relatively new “The way I see it campaign” prints quotes from actors, artists, writers and other culturally notable individuals on the back of their paper cups. Among the vastly good, liberal progressive thinkers are individuals like environmentalist Dennis Hayes, composer Quincy Jones and gay writer Armistead Maupin.

Here’s the kicker.

Seems the company’s gay-supportive attitude has finally gotten to be way too much for Concerned Women of America. That’s right, one of those annoying ultra-conservative anti-gay organizations wants its flock to rise up and smite the coffee giant for being way too gay. Concerned Women of America and others like the American Family Association and Focus on the Family are also calling for boycotts on Kraft products, the Ford Motor Company, Nike and Allstate Insurance.

In response to Starbucks’ cup campaign and their support for San Diego gay Pride, CWA hack Meghan Kleppinger has this to say about the company on the CWA website:

“...Starbucks [is] sponsoring “Pride” week...an event that places innocent children in the middle of sexually explicit materials ... and all I could think was “Starbucks hates children.”

Kleppinger goes on to rationalize her chain of thought by pointing out Starbucks’ sponsorship of the pro-choice organization Planned Parenthood and donations made to a “liberal candidate.”

Is anybody as tired of this $#@% as I am?

On behalf of millions of angry queers everywhere here’s what I have to say to all the right-wing zealots that want to take gay off the American culture map and the companies they’re trying to intimidate: I always buy Kraft cheese and my partner must have 20 pairs of Nikes. You better damn well believe I’ll keep driving him to Starbucks in my Allstate-insured Ford.


David Moore
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