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Coffee Shop Courts Controversy With Shocking Punch...

Coffee Shop Courts Controversy With Shocking Punch Cards

A Pittsburgh coffee shop is making news with a violent loyalty punch card. The design from Black Forge Coffee features prominent right-wing politicians and pundits—your Cardiff-Giant-in-Chief Donald Trumps, your Bill O’Reillys, your Lyin’ Ted Cruzes—who after being hole-punched with each beverage purchase look as though they have been shot in the head. It’s a real double-whammy: controversial and dumb.

Black Forge is certainly not a shop that shies away from being “fringe”. Their whole aesthetic could be described as “Baphomet chic.” It’s all black metal and occult iconography, which is to say, I dig it. But this punch card, hoo boy, was that a swing and a miss.

Black Forge owner Nick Miller tells WPXI “The joke is that they look like they have been shot. It’s based on shock value. I want people to remember the brand.” And I guess it’s working. Here I am spending precious moments of my life talking about these guys when I could be sharing my infinitesimally small amount of time in this cosmic blip with my loved ones or talking about a new cold brew or something. But no. I’ve got to write about a punch card because some dude with a coffee shop wanted to show you he was more punk rock than you.

Amid the controversy, Black Forge has released a “sorry not sorry” statement on their website:

Black Forge Coffee has been in the news recently regarding our customer loyal punch cards. They were created as a humorous marketing tool and we do not with harm or violence on anybody, including the people depicted on the punch cards.
We will continue to carry these cards as a form of political satire. We opened in the Allentown neighborhood of Pittsburgh in 2015 as a community gathering spot for everyone regardless of race, gender, age, religion, or political affiliation.

That’s nice, but what exactly is being satired here? And what is the message of the “satire” exactly? Satire is smart and pointed. This is just a left-wing drive by, and a poorly done one at that; the better version of this would have the shop using a fist-shaped stamp instead of a bullet hole, because y’know, it’s a punch card. That’s a pun at least.

You can’t just say something is satire and make it so, much in the same way you can’t say you’re the “most welcoming” coffee shop to folk of any political affiliation when you’re making shock value jokes about killing the leaders they elected.

I’m a firm believer that  no topics are off limits of being satirized or made fun of. The catch is that the fun-making has to be good. This punch card is not good. It’s not funny, it’s not creative, it’s not thought provoking, it doesn’t start a conversation. It’s dumb.

I’d say it belongs scrawled across the notebook of an angsty high school metalhead, but that would be a disservice to angsty high school metalheads everywhere.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.

*top image via CBS Pittsburgh


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