Offensive or Absurd: A Review of This Month’s Ridiculous Internet Controversies

As November comes to a close, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on how quickly the Internet has managed to turn the season of giving, gratitude and graciousness into a shit-storm of pissed off, privileged angry people. If you haven’t already found something to be offended by this year (gender neutral kids toys, gay people getting married, fast food workers in NYC making enough money that the taxpayers don’t have to support them anymore) – then November is the month for you. It’s full of choices for what you might want to be SERIOUSLY OFFENDED BY including things like coffee cups, christmas sweaters, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and questionable football refereeing (I’m looking at you Patriots fans!).

[Mia imitating Patriots fans after Sunday’s snowy loss to the Broncos]

The pure volume of things people are offended by this month is so overwhelming I thought I would provide my lovely readers with a quick breakdown of what the minions are up in arms about – as well as which ones you should be pissed off about, and which ones should make you want to relinquish your affiliation with the human race.

Without further ado…

1. Starbucks Red Cups 

The situation: Starbucks came out with their annual holiday cup this year, and they left out the snowmen and reindeer designs and stuck with plain old green and red. Some people think maybe it’s because they hate Jesus and are waging a war on a Christmas. They say you should boycott Starbucks by buying their coffee (wait, what?) and telling the barista your name is “Merry Christmas” so they’ll be forced to spell Christmas incorrectly on the cup. It also helps baristas to identify which lattes need a laxative tossed in for some extra holiday cheer.

The evidence: Here is a picture of last year’s cup (bottom image) compared to this year’s (top image). As you can see, last year’s cup has pretty much nothing directly relating to Christmas on it, and this year’s cup has nothing on it period.

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 7.35.51 PM

The verdict: Absurd. This controversy definitely falls into the “WTF” category. Especially considering the people who are up in arms about it don’t even understand the definition of a boycott. It’s also entirely possible that Starbucks created this controversy on purpose to drum up some holiday publicity – and if that’s the case their PR team is all getting a really, REALLY big Christmas holiday bonus this year.

The result: Starbucks sales are most likely through the roof. Dunkin Donuts continues to post weak profits despite the hasty release of their own holiday cup with the word “Joy” on it. Which is pretty much a direct reference to Jesus, right?

 

2. Target Christmas Sweater

The situation: Target added a sweater to their line up of 67000 others that says “OCD – Obsessive Christmas Disorder.” Somebody somewhere felt this was offensive to people who actually suffer from the psychological condition “obsessive compulsive disorder.”

The evidence: Here’s the hideous piece of fabric that has come under fire.

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 8.00.09 PM

The verdict: I’m kind of torn on this one. As a person who suffers from a mild form of OCD, I do find this sweater a little bit offensive – but not because it’s borrowing the acronym of “my people.” I find it more offensive that the colors on the sweater are not in the correct rainbow order (white should be either first or last) and because there are two words in green and only one word in white and gray. It’s just not equal.

The result: Target said “get a grip” to the whiners and continues to sell their ugly $22 sweater. Target’s tolerance for people being offended by their stuff is pretty high, especially after suffering all the backwoods bigots who got their (definitely) manly panties in a serious wad over the desegregation of boys and girls toys earlier this year.

 

3. Bloomingdales Holiday Ad

The situation: Bloomingdales tried to sell something (we’re still not sure exactly what) with an ad that suggested men spike their lady-friend’s eggnog while she’s not looking. Some people said, hey wait, that’s called date rape and it’s illegal – what are you trying to say Bloomingdales?

The evidence: The ad that has everyone scratching their heads…and covering up their cups.

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 8.13.27 PM

The verdict: Offensive. When I first heard that another major retailer was under fire for an offensive holiday promotion my knee jerk reaction was “are you fucking serious?” But then I saw the ad and thought “are THEY fucking serious?” I mean I work at an ad agency and we can’t even get our clients to agree to use contractions in ad copy – I can’t imagine what the reaction would be if we brought something like this to the table. So how this got through the approval process of a multinational retail giant is really beyond me. Bravo to their ad team for being able to get shit done, I guess, except I just can’t figure out what the purpose of this ad actually is.

The result: Someone is definitely getting fired. Bloomingdales apologized for the inappropriate ad, and admitted it was in “poor taste.” That might just be the “understatement of the year.”

 

4. Nordstrom Chanukah Sweater

The situation: Every year Nordstom comes out with a bunch of purposefully ugly Christmas sweaters and sells them for more than their actual sweaters because they are just THAT good marketing. The collection is called “The Ugly Holiday Sweater Collection.” This year, in the spirit of inclusiveness (didn’t anyone learn from Starbucks?!!), they included an ugly holiday Hanukah sweater. Or maybe it was just so Christians wouldn’t feel singled out for their poor taste. Either way, the sweater in question got a lot of people, as Mia would say, “all fired up.” It featured a large menorah with the play on words “Chai Maintenance” written across the top. Women who spend way too much time online shopping and/or on Twitter felt this was negative stereotyping and completely lost their shit, inadvertently living up to the exact stereotype that Nordstrom playfully accused them of in the first place. SIGH.

The evidence: Here’s the ugly sweater that seems to be offending people for all the wrong reasons.

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 7.43.44 PM

The verdict: Undecided. As a very “chai” maintenance Jewish woman myself, I actually think this sweater is pretty funny, and I would wear it with pride, if the idea of spending real money on a horrifically ugly piece of poorly made clothing didn’t make me break out in hives. The JAP reference on the bottom, however, (which ironically was not what got everyone’s feathers ruffled in the first place) is pretty offensive – IMO. JAP is definitely a derogatory term and not one that I would even use in conversation, much less on a hideous sweater.

The result: Nordstrom pulled the “Chai Maintenance” sweater from shelves – because they’d rather lose $49 in sales than suffer the wrath of angry feminist Jews. Probably a good call.

 

5. Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Christmas Trees

The situation: To avoid being accused of agnosticism (and subsequently put on trial for witchcraft and strung up from a tree over a lake somewhere in Salem) Reeses decided to go ahead and get in the Christmas spirit by selling Christmas Tree shaped peanut butter cups. Some of the trees got a little muddled in the process and ended up looking more like Chanukah bushes, or, as some Twitter-ers (Twits?) politely put it, turds. Peanut Butter-Chocolate lovers everywhere expressed their extreme distaste for the blob-shaped candies, then ate them anyway.

The evidence: Here’s one of the infamous “trees.”

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 2.35.09 PM

The verdict: Hilarious. I personally love watching people lose their shit (haha, get it?) over a turd shaped peanut butter cup – especially an edible one that we all know ends up in a similar shape somewhere down the road, so to speak. It has really opened the door for amateur comedians to strut their stuff on Twitter and also means more Reeses Peanut Butter Cups for me, since I could care less what shape they are as long as they’re chocolate. Pregnant ladies #AmIRight?

The result: Reeses does nothing and continues posting their prescheduled and completely unrelated and unengaging social media content as usual. Executives are thrilled that leftover Christmas Trees can now be repackaged as Easter Eggs, saving a million bazillion dollars in manufacturing costs.


 

29 weeks pregnant

How far along? 29 weeks

Total weight gain: 20 pounds. Oy vey.
Maternity clothes? does all leggings all the time count?
Sleep: a little bit
Best moment this week: spending Thanksgiving with my family and watching Mia play with her cousins for the first time since she was 4mo old. (kids are so much more fun when they can entertain each other!) ALSO – Dan (with the help of his buddy Jerry) finally got the attic insulated, so it was really fun checking that item off the to-do list, especially for half the price of professional installation.
Miss Anything? not being bossed around by a psycho toddler
Movement: so much – finally seeing it from the outside now and Mia says it’s “gross.”
Food cravings: not to be totally cliche but….ice cream (with banana and nutella of course)
Anything making you queasy or sick: Tums, which is really unfortunate because it’s heartburn city all day er’day over here.
Labor Signs: just some annoying Braxton Hicks contractions
Symptoms: acid reflux, heartburn, 20 extra pounds – the usual
Belly Button in or out? in-between
Wedding rings on or off? Still on
Happy or Moody most of the time: depends on Mia’s mood, and whether or not I put her Cheerios in the right color cup.
Looking forward to: All of our fun holiday plans coming up – and especially decorating our tree!

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