Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Against Lesbian Hands

Just as I referred back to the stupid controversy about Starbucks holiday cups from 2015 in my recent article on the Museum of the Bible, a new controversy was growing regarding this year's design. Or, more specifically, Fox News was desperately trying to stir one up. And this time around, it might even be dumber than arguing that the cups should include "ancient symbols" of the Christian faith like snowmen and snowflakes - and to be clear, coming up with something dumber than that is a real achievement.

Part of this year's design shows an image of holding hands at the top of the cup. The hands are shown attached to arms but not to bodies, which are entirely out of frame. Apparently some yahoos on the Internet have decided that the image depicts "lesbian hands," whatever that means, and are upset about it. Does a hand even have a sexual orientation?

But because it's essentially its job, Fox News waded into this non-story in the ongoing Culture Wars. Pairing a Buzzfeed article that noted that the image was not explicitly heterosexual, not explicitly cisgendered, with a couple of tweets, Fox News' website sold the whole mess as a report on a supposedly massive backlash against the coffee purveyor for trying to make baby Jesus gay.

Now, Fox News itself doesn't go very far into actually proving that there is a right-wing avalanche of criticism here. It offers a couple of tweets and not much else. As far as Salon can tell, there's not really more out there in the way of red-state rage. Matter of fact, look into the comments on that same Fox News post and you'll see that many of the site's readers see the whole matter as a massive serving of nothingburger, be they there to support or slam the right-wing outlet.

That Fox News tried so very hard to make this into a thing, however, says quite a lot about where it is and how desperately it misses its foremost fighter in the War on Christmas, Bill O'Reilly. He totally would have made something wonderful of this.

It's actually good to see that hardly anybody is taking this seriously. For years I wondered if Poor Oppressed Christian outrage had a limit, and it looks like this could be it. But it's also funny to see how desperate Fox News is to create a controversy based on nothing more than a couple of tweets. After losing its number one blowhard Bill O'Reilly to a sexual harrassment scandal earlier this year, the network is clearly floundering as it tries to drum up the old "War on Christmas" ratings.

I'm happy to see this whole idea spiraling down the drain to where it belongs. Nobody is trying to attack anyone by making an effort to be inclusive and inoffensive. Starbucks is a business, and they want to appeal to the largest possible demographic. The same is true of stores that put up "Happy Holidays" banners and the like. There's nothing more sinister to it than that.

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