Cafe Society


I am no fan of Starbucks. Certainly not now that I have had to kick my lifelong coffee habit, but even when I was putting down several pots of coffee a day, it took an event of truly apocalyptic proportion to get me into any of the estimated 4 billion locations of the Seattle-based chain.

Why? Because I thought their coffee sucked. More to the point, most of what they served wasn’t even coffee -- just a creamy, sweet and often flavored liquid (pumpkin, mint cinnamon…) of a similar color and aroma to coffee, but bearing as much similarity to a proper cuppa joe as a bottle of Kahlua does to a French press full of the good stuff. I was also not crazy about having to learn a whole new language just to order a jolt (and a language not nearly so deep or lyrical as, say, the language you must learn in order to feed certain other addictions), and could not stand the sort of crowds that your average Starbucks attracted. They were the kind of people who liked Starbucks, and that alone was enough to make them enemies on sight.

I could go on and on about the reasons why I didn’t like the place – but now I feel as though I have to take a position in defense of Starbucks, because it’s currently under attack by a group that I find even more loathsome: misguided and goofy fundamentalist Christians.

Starbucks recently launched a new logo (shown above) in order to pimp a cheaper Pike Place Roast it’s trotting out in order to appeal to people upset at having to pay seventeen bucks for a cup of coffee-flavored milk. The new logo is actually an old logo -- a copy of an original Starbucks logo from back in the 1970s when the company was still small, local and arguably good, focused on selling coffee beans, tea and spices. And that logo is actually a copy of a fifteenth century engraving of a two-tailed mermaid called a melusine.

At this site, you can see how the Starbucks logo changed over the years -- first going green, then moving into a tighter and tighter closeup on the melusine’s face, with less emphasis on her naughty bits. So this new logo is basically just a return to the good old days when Starbucks was about hippies selling coffee beans to other hippies and anyone who wanted a good look at a melusine’s boobies needed to go no further than their local Starbucks outlet.

But here’s where the Christians come in. This new/old logo has really gotten under the skin of one Mark Dice, founder of a group called The Resistance, and he’s called for a boycott of Starbucks because the logo reminds him of a prostitute with her legs spread. “The company might as well call themselves Slutbucks,” Dice has said.

Three things we can assume from this retarded little back-and-forth:

1) Mark Dice thinks that all prostitutes are mermaids.

2) As Starbucks has had no real response to this threat of boycott, it is powerful enough that it has nothing to fear from weirdo, fringe groups of easily offended Christians.

3) There is a marketing team assembling right now in the belly of Starbucks World Headquarters to debate the usefulness of changing the company’s name to Slutbucks in order to capture that all-important market share of young men who like sluts and/or want to bang mermaids.

And one thing I now know for sure: Dice himself is a motherfucking genius. Please, for both of our sakes, take a minute to check out the homepage of The Resistance at This whole Starbucks brouhaha? Just the tip of the iceberg. Dice also believes (or claims to believe) that 9/11 was an inside job, organized by the Illuminati; that the ground under our feet is honeycombed with secret bases and tunnels used by “the elite” for their evil experiments, evil transit across the country and, one would assume, evil keggers; and that when the apocalypse comes (soon-ish, in his opinion), it will be carried out by Terminators, under orders from God. Oh, did I mention that this guy also goes by the name John Connor? You know, the name of the main character in the Terminator movies? If I may be so bold as to quote briefly from “The Resistance Manifesto”:

“In Chapter 9 of Revelation when the fifth angel blows his trumpet and locust-like horses march into battle, it easily could be interpreted that the locusts are mechanical Terminators. "And they had breastplates, as it were breast-plates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle." (Revelation 9:9) And the wings may be none other than the turbines or fan blades used to levitate these aerial Terminators.

Chapter 9 verse 7 says, "On their heads they wore something like gold crowns, and they had human faces." Could the gold crowns be crowns of metal and part of the Terminator? The reference to their faces being like a human face suggests that the advanced Terminators will resemble the human form, possibly for aesthetics as many prototypes have attempted. When will they be completely autonomous and free from any human intervention or control? What will happen when hybrid computer networks are the components of these devices? (See Hybrid Computers)

What happens when people commit crimes with robots such as theft and even mass murder, or if the robots go berserk and become a threat to all and everything in their path?”

I think we all know exactly what happens, don’t we? You get a half-good movie franchise from James Cameron and a governor of California who can get out of any political jam just by quoting his own lines from film.

Far be it from me to call anyone nuts, but Dice? He’s fucking nuts. Personally, I think the fact that anyone believes in a magical man in the sky who likes to watch us masturbate and sends us to hell if we eat a cheeseburger on Friday is pretty goddamn crazy to start (which is why I am a proud atheist), but at some point, Dice must’ve seen Crazytown coming up on the horizon, blown right past it without even so much as a wave, continued on through Weirdoville and Paranoid City until finally settling in Total Nutjob-burg, population him. His genius is in the fact that he’s selling T-shirts there (which you would know if you’d checked out the website), that he’s got videos up and a book that’s looking for a publisher. His genius is in the fact that he’s managed to get himself talked about on several major news programs (which always love an honest-to-Jesus screwball on a slow news day) and gathered to his ample bosom something like 3,000 followers who buy into his whole paranoid/conspiracy theory/end-times song-and-dance -- and now, by invoking the name of Starbucks, he’s getting even more press, including the thousand-odd words I’ve just dedicated to making fun of him. As a matter of fact, I’m still not entirely convinced that he isn’t a completely made-up person and that this whole thing isn’t just some kind of weird marketing ploy for the new run of Terminator movies due out in the next few years.

But all that aside, I want in on this scam. I can pretend to be just as crazy as this fruit loop. Hell, I can be crazier. Which is why, right here and now, I am founding the Anti-Resistance, a group dedicated to embracing the tenets of the Illuminati; the ingenuity of the secret tunnel builders; the goofy, homoerotic hazing rituals of the Skull and Bones society, and whatever else The Resistance is against. The Anti-Resistance believes that Jesus is not coming back and that God is out to lunch; that all life on earth was seeded by aliens and that, someday soon, our insect overlords will return.

The Anti-Resistance anxiously awaits this day. We’re going to throw a big party when it happens: balloons, piñatas, tequila shooters, the whole nine yards. Further, we of the Anti-Resistance can’t wait for the Terminators to arrive. We of the Anti-Resistance have always wanted a robot of our very own. Perhaps we can get it to do the vacuuming around Anti-Resistance headquarters. You know, so things look nice when the aliens come back.

Do you want to be a member of the Anti-Resistance? It’s easy. Just send a check (or money order) for fifty bucks to 969 Broadway, Denver, Colorado, attn: Grand Commander Jason Sheehan. For your membership donation, your name will be registered among the faithful in the Database of Destiny, your fingerprints and genetic map will be recorded so that when, inevitably, the computers of the world rise up to conquer humanity, Skynet will know that you are on the side of the right. Also, maybe we’ll get T-shirts made or something. Cool ones. Guaranteed to get you all the mermaid pussy you can stand (or merman dick, if that’s the way you swing).

Put those checks in the mail today, kids. I believe that we can make a difference. Remember that many years ago, L. Ron Hubbard had an idea similar to this one: a notion that he, a middling-grade science fiction writer, was powerful enough to start his own goofball religion called Scientology. And look how things turned out for him.

So let’s get this party started, huh? Taking a page from Dice and his Resistance marketing strategy, I’ve decided that the first official act of the Anti-Resistance will be to boycott McDonald’s because that giant M logo that it’s been using forever looks like a butt -- and we at the Anti-Resistance don’t like butts. Only mermaid tails. So screw McDonald’s! It should change its name to ButtDonald’s! Who’s with me?!? – Jason Sheehan

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun