Jewish World Review August 14, 2002 / 6 Elul, 5762
Law and Disorder --- and Starbucks
Not far from where I live there is a Starbucks. Shocking, I know, but true.
If you leave that Starbucks and walk into the mall across the street, you will
find another Starbucks. And if you walk to the other side of the mall, you
will find a third Starbucks, three Starbucks within a hundred feet of each
Now, I have nothing against Starbucks. I order caffeinated beverages from
baristas quite often, frequently even skipping the Venti and going right for
the Grande. Or is that the other way around? Anyway, that's the kind of guy
I am. But it does baffle me how Starbucks has the reproductive ability of a
rabbit. And what happened to big medium, and small, anyway?
This unnatural Starbucks fertility seems to have suddenly struck LAW AND
ORDER. For years, it just chugged along. Prosecutors and police would
change, but the formula remained the same, as reassuring as murdered
adulterous realtors in a Perry Mason rerun. The faces change, but the victims
remain the same.
Then along came LAW AND ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT, and LAW AND ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT. Reruns and instant replays of the above began to pop up on every basic cable station known to man.
This spring a new one popped out of the tube, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, LAW AND ORDER, only reality-based, chronicling real cases in San Diego via special
hidden cameras. It is called a "dramamentary," as opposed to a "docudrama,"
which I guess is way seventies, back from the days when you had to go to a
coffee shop to get coffee. Remember that?
The proliferation of STARBUCKS and LAW AND ORDER are capitalist miracles,
especially in today's economy. I mean, coffee? You can get coffee anywhere.
Why Starbucks? Why now? There is no natural explanation.
And why LAW AND ORDER? I can see STAR TREK. Fans get to dress up like
Klingons and pretend to put their imaginary phasers on stun. What do fans of
LAW AND ORDER get to pretend to be? Crusty guys and bitter women in business
attire? Phasers are never fired. Certainly, much coffee is consumed, but
that's about the only connection I can see.
Now CSI, my new favorite show, is starting to multiply. CSI: MIAMI will be
premiering this fall. And where will it end? CSI: FARGO? CSI: DES MOINES?
LAW AND ORDER: SMALL CLAIMS COURT? I have an idea for a series: a well-known coffee house chain wants to take action against nuisance suits. They face
ruin. They hire a forensic private eye firm: CRIME STARBUCKS INVESTIGATORS:
BURN FRAUD UNIT. It's interactive. Prove that you watched it and you get a
free soy latte. Bring your coupon, show your phaser. And, as always, kids
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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.
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© 2001, Ian Shoales