July 3, 2006

"You have no idea how happy I feel here... By late evening, I find myself dreading the moment it will close for the night."

"It" is the Starbucks of Kandahar.

42 comments:

Tim said...

Cultural imperialism. No wonder they hate us.

But they don't hate us like we hate ourselves, do they?

I wonder why?

Buddy Larsen said...

As long as anyone anywhere on the globe is not deliriously happy at all times, Tim, we are the demons of Hell.

"Starbucks of Kandahar" is a great sci-fi title. All we need's the book!

Eli Blake said...

Actually Starbucks is probably safe. They can find a culturally distinct way to drink the coffee:

They could soak their long beards in the latte and suck it out during the night if they want. And we (other than guys who work at Christmas time as department store Santas) can't do that. So that enables them to maintain their unique cultural identity.

Of course, the women couldn't do that, but they don't have any rights over there anyway, so this method of drinking coffee would also play well with their misogyny.

Elizabeth said...

The story doesn't specify, but it looks like the clientele may be all male. I'm glad Afghan men have somewhere to escape the "conservatism" of their culture. I hope it occurs to them at some point that there's something missing.

Tim, I'm positive "they," say, those who danced in the streets on 9/11, hate us more than pretty much any of "us" do ourselves. Otherwise, why are we at war abroad?

MadisonMan said...

Why is this cultural imperialism? It's not a Starbucks(tm), but an Afghan shopkeeper who is using the name. I don't believe the US is to blame for coffee shops.

Tim said...

Elizabeth,

"Why are we at war abroad?"

Last time I checked, (and I check pretty frequently), only about half of us are at war; the other half split between those thinking the war is our fault and those thinking the war isn't worth fighting.

Either way, I stand corrected. They don't hate us like half of us hate ourselves, do they?

AllenS said...

Wait until they get a MacDonalds. Woo-hoo! Then, a Wal-Mart...

Buddy Larsen said...

"Khyber Pass Walmart picketed by Amalgamated Sherpas Local 101"

Elizabeth said...

No, Tim. Half of us disagree with you. That'a pretty Tim-o-centric view of the universe you have there, leaping from "disagrees with Tim" to "hates America!"

Half of us didn't drive planes into the Towers and Pentagon, Tim. Try to remember that as you deal with your hate for half of us.

Alan said...

I wonder if that Starbucks uses the same company logo? :)

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elizabeth said...

Alan, I can't believe I've overlooked that. It's a variation on the sheela-na gig.

Tibore said...

Uh oh. How long until Starbucks® of Seattle sues for trademark infringement? :-o

charlotte said...

Is the Starbucks Kandahar co-ed? I don't see any women in the picture or mentioned in the article.

My daughter went to "conservative" rural India last fall for a few days of work and wanted to visit some temples forbidden to women. One night she dressed like a man and gained entry to a remote mountain temple. Afterwards, she sat around a campfire with the local men and monks, drinking tea boiled in rusty tin cans they picked up off the ground.

She thought it all delicious and enlightening; upon hearing about it, my visions ran more to tetanus and parasites and what would have happened had they realized a female 'desecrated' their shrine and manly teatime?

Joe said...

Tim, don't forget the faction that is in denial and does not believe we are at war.

Roger Sweeny said...

This sounds so much like the coffee shops of London, three hundred years ago.

Tim said...

Elizabeth,

It's marginally interesting to wonder how my view of the necessity of fighting the nation's wars successfully you (accurately, in this case) ascribe as being subscribed to by half of us can be characterized as a "Tim-o-centric view of the universe," as I'm sure none of us seeking to win this war would think I actually originated the idea (and I certainly don't claim it as mine).

No matter. We're at war, we believe we need to win the war, and we recognize half of "us" have no desire to either fight or win the war. And while we recognize your half didn't actually fly planes into the twin towers, the Pentagon or the downed plane, we know that events since then clearly indicate your half's unwillingness to fight or win the war.

You can argue all you wish as is your want, but no war was ever won on defense. So whether your half hate us as much as America's enemies hate us is rather beside the point. It is clear that your half hate us enough to work as hard as you can to stopping us from defeating our enemies. Or, at a minimum, lacks the decency of letting those who want to get on with the job do so.

Anyway, we'll win despite your best efforts, and we'll know who supported us and who worked against us. Sucks to be you, whether you know it or not.

Internet Ronin said...

Alan and Elizabeth: I didn't but my ex-partner caught on to that pretty quick. We were living in Portland when the first Starbucks opened there. I remember him staring at the Starbucks logo on the first pound of coffee I brought home and asking, "I wonder how many people will even notice what's going on here?" Of course, I didn't have a clue and he had to spell it out for me!

He built up quite a collection of early Starbucks paraphenalia, guessing that the company would prefer to forget about the early versions. Not sure if he still has it all - I've got to ask.

MadisonMan said...

Tim, to answer your first question: Too Much Caffeine.

"Half" of us are by no means fighting the war. In fact, I'd suggest that less than 1% of "us" is.

I'm not exactly sure how yet another commentary has strayed into Iraq. If only this thread had stayed in Afghanistan, like so many things, life would be simpler.

Elizabeth said...

Tim, what is only of marginal interest is your compulsive declarations that half of Americans are self-loathing, or hate America. It's pure, hyperbolic demogoguery, it's ugly and stupid and pitiful. It has nothing to do with war, why we're at war, what the results will be, and how we should wage war. Your need to malign and accuse is, I think, purely your own personal problem.

Elizabeth said...

Sucks to be you, whether you know it or not.

Sorry, Tim. I just figured out you're 12 years old and playing on the internets. I'll forego responding to you in the future.

Internet Ronin said...

MadisonMan & Elizabeth: Well said. Thank you.

While it does seem like all roads lead to Baghdad these days no matter whether the conversation was about the weather, the price of tea in China, or those very weird shoes Ann mentioned the other day, the only way I've seen to avoid embarking on the journey is to cease responding to the
provocation. Hard to do when baited, I agree.

As for the Kandahar Starbucks - I think it is great.

Tim said...

Joe,

Of course. While they agressively protest to the contrary (see posts surrounding this one), the facts bear that out. They've no ideas but no shortage of complaints; they've no desire to fight enemies overseas but endless energy to wage war against the war; they take offense to their patriotism being questioned while disclaiming their patriotism. Yet they yearn to govern a nation they believe is the focus of evil, they cannot stand and will not defend, as if the rest of us were too dim to realize who they are and what they would do.

Tim said...

Elizabeth,

More than one internet? Who knew? And I wish I were only 12; then I could believe your half of the nation was merely misguided rather than motivated by malice.

But like I said, we'll win without you.

Internet Ronin said...

I must say, it looks like a beautiful coffee shop, just as the one Ann posted pictures of yesterday. Wish the pictures could be enlarged to get a better look around. Did anyone else notice how inviting the place looked?

The coffee shops in my area are pretty drab by comparison.

Elizabeth said...

Alan, that makes this all-male gathering all the more ironic, doesn't it, gathered under what is at least indirectly a symbol of female power? Still, as Ronin, says, the coffee shop is a great thing.

PatCA said...

"As for the Kandahar Starbucks - I think it is great."

Me, too. I also hope they get a Mcdonald's soon. Capitalism is a much better opiate for the masses than religion.

Buddy Larsen said...

Amen. Capitalism is all about seeding tomorrow. Offer folks a way to build a natural future, and they may not need a supernatural escape.

Pogo said...

Few things are more subversive to totalitarian thought than open discussion and caffiene.

Good for them. Next step: ladies invited, sans burkas.

Buddy Larsen said...

Taliban's little secret is, they're scared silly of the womenfolk.

Troy said...

Maybe they'll have a red hat society for "the ladies".

Calling it Seattle's Best Coffee would've been less iconic, but more ironic.

When one can get Hebrew National Hot Dogs in Kandahar, the situation will truly have changed. Baby steps... kudos to the "Starbucks".

charlotte said...

Next step: ladies invited, sans burkas

Pogo, you're not calling for a Hooters or a Deja Vu Kandahar, are you?

Buddy Larsen said...

I wondered the same thing--sure would sell the coffee--

charlotte said...

Maybe Maxim House coffee, nude to the last drop?

I like what the Afghan-American shop owner said, "Local people here were not really familiar with the taste of coffee and we were only selling a few cups a day" before the coffee shop caught on. Seems it takes an American-Muslim immigrant to introduce an originally Muslim-Arab product to Afghan Muslims in the 21st C. of Yankee liberation/ imperialism, capitalism, globalism, marketing and multi-culti sharing!

Buddy Larsen said...

"Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy!"

Pogo said...

An Afghan Hooters?
Ulp! heaven forfend!

I meant women and men drinking coffee in the same building (maybe even together), but absent the burkas. I hope they have something else to wear!

Buddy Larsen said...

Pogo

Troy said...

Come on guys... Strip clubs are only for pre-suicide attack jihadis.

I also have a feeling Pottery Barn would be taken quite literally in Kandahar.

Actually, when the multi-national pro-"little farmer" Starbucks can sue the shit out of this guy (or make him richer than he ever imagined with a buyout or franchise) for Trademark infringement, then we will know that Afghanistan is a peaceful and civilized place.

Pogo said...

Buddy, oddly enough, I think that's one of the few panels I've never seen!

Pogo said...

Troy, I agree. When aggression is displaced from bullets to barristers, progress has indeed occurred.

Buddy Larsen said...

Bullets and barristers, you can have both, in family court-- :-(

Pogo, I hadn't remembered Walt Kelly's drawing being so good, so kinetic. That cat stalking off annoyed is a piece of work.

Pogo said...

Buddy,
I like best his stuff from the 50s and early 60s. Kinetic, subtle, and detailed. Thanks for the link.

As Porkypine said: "don't take life too serious, it ain't nohow permanent"