Tag Archives: dumb Americans

Beer Commercials: A Rumination On Homophobia And Reverse-Wish-Fulfillment

[It’s time for another disparate-point essay about something I was thinking about today.  Today’s topic: light beer commercials.  This is a rewrite of a post I threw up yesterday, briefly, half-baked.]

Look at the calendar.  It’s January.  That means it must be NFL playoff season, which in turn means it must be time for American macrobrewries to continue their assault upon the intelligence of their consumers.

In the recent past, Coors Light has conspicuously avoided discussing their beer and instead has found new, astoundingly moronic ways of advertising the packaging.  Last year, Miller Lite showed us men more interested in their relationship with their beer than in the hot women mystifying interested in these meatheads.  Budweiser claims that guys who drink beer rejoice in homophobic “kidding” as the highest form of camaraderie.

This topic has been covered here before.  And a quick Google search will show plenty of discussion on how these commercials are insulting to everyone who views them.  But there are two points I want to make about the new Miller Lite “Man Up” commercial series.  Two examples can be found here.

Point one: Miller Lite should “Man Up” and confess to what the real message of these commercials is: “Don’t be a f*ggot – drink our beer.”  They’re not allowed to say that, of course, but that’s the message, and they believe their audience trades in such moldy currency.  These beautiful bartenders mock men for fashion decisions, most which carry effeminate connotations (even fashion itself is effeminate).  The Budweiser “kidding” commercial contains witty lines such as, “Has he told you about his scrapbooking?” and, “Even Europe thinks your pants are too tight.”  Every single one of these commercials is a disguised gay joke.

It’s satisfying when the schoolyard bully gets called out by the playground monitor.  It would be nice if we could do a better job of calling out these beer companies as being homophobic.  It would be fun, but it would also present an interesting parallel between homophobia and beer brewing.  These macrobrews have successfully branded “real men” as liking beer.  BUT! real men don’t have a varied palette for beer (thus they drink beer made in batches by the billion).  By implication, then, microbreweries and the men who enjoy their beer are not manly, ie, gay.

In the same way that jocky homophobes feel threatened by gay men, so big beer companies feel threatened by microbreweries.  It’s cool when you can map consumer preferences, marketing theory, and societal tensions all on top of one another.

Okay, on to point number two:

no role models for hot women

Wish fulfillment goes both ways.  In the story of the beggar and the genie, we rarely think about the genie’s feelings.  Sure, these ads use hot women to sell beer, and in doing so objectify these women.  But these ads are also offensive to hot women, a demographic not accustomed to much societal sympathy.

Imagine the op-ed letter written on behalf of hot women (we pick it up halfway):

…Miller Lite structured an entire, ubiquitous campaign around hot women on dates, in relationships, or clearly in love with knuckleheaded men who don’t know body language from boogie boarding.

These commercials are offensive to hot women.  Everywhere we turn, we see ourselves being treated badly by schlubby men and drinking (or serving) lousy beer.  We are depicted as having terrible taste in beer, in men, and little or no backbone.  For every wish-fulfillment you bestow upon your consumer base, you strip a wish away from a hot woman.

Look, it is very hard to be a hot woman in modern America.  Young hot girls need dynamic, multifaceted media portrayals of hot women, so they are not pressured away from the rewarding life decisions many hot women have made.  Family support and social service organizations can only give hot girls so much help.  (Not to detract from the critical work undertaken by groups like Curvy Paths and the NAAHW.)

I want my hot daughters to believe that they are allowed to drink, and prefer, double IPAs.  I want them to have high expectations of the dating pool, and not assume they will end up with watery-beer-loving jerkoffs with gelled hair and emotional tin ear.  Show us those hot women, Anheuser-Busch, and maybe then we will end our embargo against talking to macrobrewery and advertising executives.  Maybe.

For every objectification, there is an object, and an -ification.  Too often we only think about the ification.

Common Sense from Slate

William Saletan at Slate.com wrote two recent articles on the Quran-burning bruhaha which ring true with wisdom and common sense.  I encourage everyone to read them both (they’re not that long):

We Didn’t Start The Fire: you aren’t responsible for Quran burners.  Don’t hold Muslims responsible for 9/11

Quranamok: The clarifying chaos of the Quran-burning saga.

One of his best points is the observation that nobody speaks for anybody.  Fifty racist Christians in Florida do not speak for America any more than nineteen Islamic hijackers speak for Islam.  Unfortunately, I think his second article contains one sadly naive bit of optimism.  Speaking about the conservative pundits who have manipulated the Florida story to their Islamiphobic and political ends, he writes:

Eventually, it will dawn on them that the Muslims who want to swim, eat, and worship at a community center in Lower Manhattan really are different from the Muslims who flew planes into the World Trade Center.

Sadly, I don’t think this is true.  I think some of these blowhards (maybe Gingrich, probably not Palin) do not truly believe that every Muslim walks in lockstep to a globally-orchestrated conspiracy to take over the world.  But they will continue to stir that racist, hateful soup as long as voters and donors keep lining up for it.  They won’t wake up one morning and suddenly start behaving as compassionate Christians, or begin take America’s founding ideals to heart and welcome the world’s poor, huddled masses.  They’ll only change their tone when that tone no longer keeps them in power and money.

Which, I guess, is an argument for better public schools.

Cold Activated Morons

Coors Light is racing Miller Lite* to be as insulting as possible to their target demographic.  Miller Lite enthusiastically depicts its fans as senseless morons who prefer shitty lite beer to beautiful women.  This has been discussed here before.

At first I thought Coors Light merely distracted consumers from its beer with packaging gimmicks.  I now think it’s more than that.  It now seems possible that Coors Light is marketing itself to people who suffer from Congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis, or at least a strange inability to deal with time and temperature.

alt text

The cold activation window tells you when there's beer in the box!

The newest ads feature the above box, with the “cold activation window” which allows you to look into the box and see if the “cold activation labels” on the cans are blue (indicating the beer is cold).  I suppose a secondary feature is that the window tells you if there are still bottles in the box.

Nevermind the fact that this feature is essentially using less cardboard in the packaging.  Or the fact that if the bottles are spun around, you won’t be able to see the label through the window.  This takes Coors to a whole new level of audience mockery.  This saves neither time, nor energy, or assists the already-stupid label gimmick.  Nevermind what it suggests about the limitations of your fridge.

What comes next, you ask?

Coming soon: ColdActivation.com.  Register your six-pack online with its unique ID number.  Enter the time you put the six-pack in the fridge, and the temperature of the fridge, and Coors will text you when your beer is as cold as the Rockies!  While you’re online, create a profile for your Coors and upload photos of your Coors to share with other morons!  (Thanks to N. Krefting for predicting this dark future.) 

On the subject, I found this article about Coors new packaging.  I feel this article should be sarcastic, but it just isn’t.

*I just noticed that it’s actually ‘Coors Light’ and ‘Miller Lite.’  I wonder if there are laws that determine which ‘Light’ you use, based on how lousy your ingredients are.

Obama is a liar!

Today Obama admitted, on national television, that he’s trying to trick the nation with his health care reform.  He said, and I quote:

“On…my…health care vote…I’ve been completely brainwashed…that’s the game.”

Here’s the full video:

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=5002940&categoryid=2459792

Republicans, can I get a what what?

Best Picture Nominees

They announced the nominees for Best Picture this morning.  They’re expanding the list to 10 movies, so that they can further dilute the notion of “Nominated For Best Picture” in the service of marketing campaigns.  I’m glad to see Pixar’s Up getting on the list, although I don’t think it is Pixar’s best movie.  And I hate to stereotype a movie I haven’t seen, but… 

 

A Lifetime Original Movie, right?

The Blind Side?  Seriously?  Isn’t that a Lifetime Channel exclusive?  And Sandra Bullock is nominated for Best Actress? 

Sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room, I overheard an Entertainment Tonight-type television show talk about Bullock as taking the title of “America’s sweetheart” from Julia Roberts, who “held it for ten years.”  Besides speaking as if describing a title belt (a funny idea already), I like the idea of Sandra Bullock taking the title of “Julia Roberts” from Julia Roberts.  

At the risk of sounding elitist, I’m going to go all in on The Hurt Locker (which I have seen) being a vastly superior movie in every possible way to The Blind Side.  And I’d say the same about Star Trek.  And probably The Emperor’s New Groove 2: Kronk’s New Groove, which I assume does not contain paternalistic depictions of racial empowerment that make you feel rather queasy.  Which is the impression I got of The Blind Side from watching its trailers. 

Has anybody actually seen The Blind Side?  Can anybody tell me if it’s as bad as I assume it is?  Mostly I wrote this post so I can try this wordpress poll feature. 

Found a Photo

Here we go.  This is the photo I wanted yesterday but couldn’t wait.

Dallas Cowboys 3D Glasses Promotion

Whooo, 3D dulls the pain of another December loss!

The only person in this photo who seems to have his eyes on the field is the guy in the front row with the white jersey.  Who, incidentally, doesn’t seem to be wearing the glasses.

On a related topic, NFL athletes are so good these days that I really think it might be possible to switch the giant screen and the field.  Have the teams play earlier in the day and film it.  Open the stadium up and everybody comes to watch the game on the giant TV.  Then the players reenact the best plays from the game live on the field.

This would also allow that obnoxious jumping/guitar playing robot from the Fox NFL broadcasts to participate.

Day, Month, Year; Seems Pretty Obvious

Are there other Americans like me who can remember the moment when they realized that the rest of the English-speaking world does not write dates the same way we do?  In America, 5/11/2009 is May 11th.  In England or Australia, that is November 5th.  And, like many similar discrepancies between the US and the rest of the world, the world’s system makes more sense.  Day, then month, then year.  I was at a post office in London during my study abroad when I realized I was an ambassador to a silly people.  I have tried to be respectful of this difference ever since.