Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 13, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

LOST IN TRANSLATION....In this picture taken in Ramallah, "Starbucks Coffee" is rendered as "Stars & Bucks Cafe" in the sign above the shop. That seems pregnant with meaning, somehow, even though I'm sure it's not. Interesting, though.

Kevin Drum 12:05 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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Comments

This could just be a rather primitive attempt by a rogue proprietor to get around the use of the Starbucks trademark while exploiting it.

I can't imagine that if Starbucks itself actually licensed its franchise to this cafe that it wouldn't get its own name in English right. Corporations kill for such things.

Posted by: frankly0 on June 13, 2007 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

That's one way to drive business to your shop: sponsor a protest against the imminent disintegration of your polity.

Posted by: lampwick on June 13, 2007 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, mhr. You might explain all that to the godless communist, George Soros, who could buy & sell your ass from now until the final days. Come to think of it, middle-class-ers like me could probably do the same. You're not worth worth very much.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on June 13, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Two thoughts.

First, probably more money in it if it were "Tarts & Fucks".

Second, this is as close as Kevin Drum has come to recognizing that anything at all is happening in Gaza, the West Bank, Israel, or Lebanon!

Kevin's studied avoidance of these subjects I find both strange and unforgivable as it is largely this administration's disengagement from these problems while unbalancing the Middle East as a whole that has exacerbated suffering and death throughout the region.

Posted by: notthere on June 13, 2007 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Kevin's studied avoidance of these subjects I find both strange and unforgivable as it is largely this administration's disengagement from these problems while unbalancing the Middle East as a whole that has exacerbated suffering and death throughout the region."

Ouch. That's a bit unfair, notthere. It's not as if KD has been focusing on the virtues of supply-side theory during the administration's misrule. More than a fair amount of what he writes about directly & indirectly addresses the very unbalancing to which you refer.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on June 13, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

mhr, you are a silly buck.

Turning out those old, tired arguments, that are basically "scary tales from the 50s" that unthinking right-wingers and libertarians keep telling each other to reinforce their right-think and have no basis in fact representing ideas in opposition to your own, are wasted here.

The only people who believe the points you made are those who think with the same blinkers on as yourself.

Posted by: notthere on June 13, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0 is almost certainly correct. i saw plenty of starbucks when i was in beirut in 2005 and they were all called "starbucks coffee" (spelled phonetically in arabic as well as in english)

generally in the arab world trademarks are not translated, they're simply transliterated. so in beirut they spelled out the word "coffee" in "starbucks coffee" phonetically like the english word even though there is another arabic word for coffee-- "al-qahwa"

because they don't do either in the ramallah sign, it's probably just a cheap knock-off

Posted by: upyernoz on June 13, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

chaunceyatrest, it would seem, if the past is any test, that both Lebanon and Palestine-Israel issues are very, very slow to get picked up. So, whereas this blog is usually close to the front edge of a conversation, and posted views can be more revealing and informing, when it comes to these subjects they only get discussed in relative hindsight to the event.

It is a measurable phenomenon. It's not as if events concerning these peoples are unimportant. It seems more like KD avoids them because of the friction that arises. If that is so, it's a poor excuse.

Hence no mention yet of the problems betwen Hamas and Fatah in Gaza, or that it might spread to the West Bank and repercussions beyond, no mention of the problems in Lebanon, again Palestinian refugee based but another signal of the continuing radicalization of the Islamic fringe (because of the US actions?), or a peep about Israel or how that might affect the Middle East and the US (Netanyahu for PM?).

Posted by: notthere on June 13, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

In Quebec, the Starbucks signs regularly say 'Cafe Starbucks Coffee', which I never ceased to find amusing.

Posted by: aphrael on June 13, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

There are lots of cheap knock-offs like that in the West Bank. The logo was also different, if using the same color scheme - four cups of coffee, instead of the female.

Posted by: Brian Ulrich on June 13, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

What's interesting in the picture is the presence of women in a demonstration. Not the usual all-male shooting guns in the air.

Posted by: Susan on June 13, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

notthere,

You're right about much of what you say. That said, my own recollection of the coverage here is supported by what I found when I used the search tool at the bottom of the blog. Nobody's ignoring those issues here. I understand , though, that it's not enough to satisfy you. Fair enough. But I don't know if it's fair to imply that KD is loath to write something because of the response he'll get in the comments section. He seems to get plenty of grief from regular readers. Neither am I sure that it's fair to beat up on a blogger for not writing about what you want him/her to write about. I would imagine you get your Middle East commentary fix from other discussion boards/bloggers. I reckon they're not covering the issue of US income disparity or domestic healthcare issues the way KD does. These are mighty important issues, too. Is it fair to criticize someone like Juan Cole for not covering those things? Maybe, maybe not. But I'm not sure where it gets you.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on June 13, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

It reminded me a bit of "Stars and Bars," which we all know is un-American and treasonous.

Posted by: Reality Man on June 13, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

"It seems more like KD avoids [discussions of Israel and Palestine] because of the friction that arises."

Probably not the friction that comes from the comment sections, but the friction that comes from the owners, editors and fellow journalists of any/all MSM outlets. The friction that comes from bucking the dominant media "narratives" regarding such discussions.

Ownership, editorial policies, journalistic biases are also part of the reason (30%?) that the NYT, Washington Post and all large market media outlets supported the War in Iraq. Larger reasons were probably the lack of a coherent political "opposition" to the War, and profit motives in the capitalist press.

Posted by: luci on June 13, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

"It seems more like KD avoids [discussions of Israel and Palestine] because of the friction that arises."

Probably not the friction that comes from the comment sections, but the friction that comes from the owners, editors and fellow journalists of any/all MSM outlets. Bucking the dominant media "narratives" would be risky - for profits, for journalist career advancement, etc.

Posted by: luci on June 13, 2007 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Good one. Reminds me of a "Best Buy" store a friend photographed while in Suriname. Basically a small building painted blue, with the yellow Best Buy tag logo slightly modified.

Posted by: skewter76 on June 13, 2007 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

I hear in France they call it "Royale with Coffee"

Posted by: J. Winnfield on June 13, 2007 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Dear lord. Fatah and Hamas are beating the shit out of each other and this is what you choose to comment on?!

Posted by: Bill on June 13, 2007 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin's studied avoidance of these subjects I find both strange and unforgivable as it is largely this administration's disengagement from these problems while unbalancing the Middle East as a whole that has exacerbated suffering and death throughout the region.

Umm, "disengagement"? I hardly think that's what's going on here.

Posted by: Bill on June 13, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Yuck. Arabs invented coffee; they drink it their own way (e.g., Turkish, leaving in the grounds and adding cardamom). They don't need Starbucks.

Posted by: sara on June 13, 2007 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

There used to be a place in a somewhat obscure neighborhood in Nagoya, Japan (a somewhat obscure city itself) called Megabucks Coffee complete with an altered green sign. I wondered how they got away with it. Then those were the days before Schultz had decided he was going to take the world over one street corner at a time (while ruining the Sonics organization - Wally Walker as president? Puleeeze.)

Posted by: JeffII on June 13, 2007 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

There are a number of legit Starbucks in Beirut and throughout Lebanon. Used to have work meetings there.

Posted by: Jeff on June 14, 2007 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

I've been inside this particular Stars & Bucks. Copyright law is not enforced in the West Bank, so some entrepeneur created a coffee place and sorta stole the name. It's kinda of nice on the inside, but of absolutely no relation to the American chain. Has a different vibe.

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