Some people have commented that the woman portrayed in the symbol is a Pagan goddess. In reality, it portrays a siren from Greek mythology. Sirens are similar to mermaids, except that they have two tail structures, not one. In Starbucks' symbol, she is shown as holding the ends of her two tails close to her head.
Back during the infancy of the company, Starbucks opened their first store in Seattle WA. Both Seattle and coffee had strong associations with the maritimes. So, they felt that a siren was an ideal choice for a company symbol. They used a 16th Century Norse woodcut as a basis for their design.
"Steve M," writing for Starbucks, said:
"She is a storyteller, carrying the lore of Starbucks ahead, and remembering our past. In a lot of ways, she’s a muse -- always there, inspiring us and pushing us ahead.
And she’s a promise too, inviting all of us to find what we’re looking for, even if it’s something we haven’t even imagined yet.
She means something different to every one who sees her, who knows her. For me she’s kind of the final say on the spirit of everything I write and everything we do. Even as I’m writing this, I wonder what she thinks. (She likes it, by the way.)" 1
However, J.F. Sargent, writing for Cracked.com has a different angle on the siren. He said:
"In mythology, sirens are consistently seen as a personification of the ocean -- and that's not a good thing. They're brutal sociopaths who murder you by being attractive. According to scholars, they would sing an 'irresistibly sweet' song that 'lapped both body and soul in[to] a fatal lethargy.' Sailors who crossed paths with a siren would become so obsessed that they would crash into the rocks and die." 2
Leonardo da Vinci wrote about the siren:
"The siren sings so sweetly that she lulls the mariners to sleep; then she climbs upon the ships and kills the sleeping mariners." 3
It appears to be a strange, rather evil, mythical character for a company to use as a symbol -- one whose purpose is to deceive and murder humans.
2015-NOV-12: Is it perhaps time for Christians to regroup their efforts?
Vinay Menon, the arts and life columnist for the Toronto Star, reviewed the history of the "War on Christmas." He noted that a decade ago during the early years of the "war," the battles were easier to follow. The enemies in the "war" were all human beings: secularists, atheists, religious liberals, secular humanists, and others, sometimes characterized as "moonbats" (extreme left-wing persons). But, by 2015, the enemy has been reduced to an inanimate object: a paper cup. More specifically: the lack of symbols on a coffee cup. Menon suggests that the defenders in the battle may now be sensing "demons where none exist." They now view the plain surface of a coffee cup has having representing an act of aggression against Christianity.
"The soldiers [once] on high alert in the war on Christmas are now deep in a valley of futility. They can continue to adopt an adversarial position. They can keep pointing their pistols at shadows. They can keep fighting, now alongside Donald Trump. Or they can realize this is going nowhere and revamp their battle plan. ... The war has spilled from schools to government offices to popular culture. ..."
It would be so much wiser for believers to accentuate the positive, to shine a light on the material absurdities that are at odds with the true meaning of Christmas." 4
He suggested that the Christian soldiers could start a dialogue on fellowship, or decency, or the growing divide between the rich and poor..."
"... there is no war on Christmas. But the true meaning of Christmas keeps getting buried under an endless cycle of pointless skirmishes waged by those with a political end game. Worrying about what’s on the outside of your coffee cup is to silently mock those who don’t get enough to drink or eat.
There was a time when this would be the real outrage." 4
Perhaps the soldiers of the War on Christmas could regroup. One option would be for them to divert their energy from the lack of symbols on a coffee cup in order to tackle a topic in which Jesus seems to have taken a special interest: the care and status of children.
Recall Mark 9:36 & 37:
"And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them: 'Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me'." (King James Version)
A Google search will quickly reveal that:
1 in 10 U.S. children suffers from child maltreatment.
1,593 children in the U.S. are known to have died during 2012 as a result of abuse.
One in four U.S. children goes to school hungry.
15.3 million children in the U.S. lived in food-insecure households during 2014.
Worldwide, 3.5 million children die each year from hunger.
90% of U.S. LGBT youth report being bullied at school.
Most LGBT students feel unsafe at school.
The percentage of LGBT youth in homeless shelters, having been expelled from their homes by their parents, vastly exceeds the percentage of LGBT youth in the country.
I suggest that redirecting their efforts towards fighting child poverty, hunger, abuse, harassment etc. might be a better investment of time than demonizing Starbucks for the lack of symbols on their coffee cup. I think that Yeshua of Nazareth would approve of a new target.
IMHO, with evils like the Google search has revealed, the design on the side of a coffee cup seems a bit trivial.
This topic continues in Part 4 with more information on the War on Christmas.
The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.