Heineken Tastes Awful
You know, for a second I was thinking about making this into a joke about how neither of these beverage companies really deserves any attention because they both taste like industrial runoff compared to their main competitors: Coke and skunked bong water. But let’s talk about politics, because it’s Monday morning and thus the ideal time to yell opinions no one asked for in the first place.
The Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial was dumb, but I’m not sure why people think the company responsible for those feverishly disturbing PuppyMonkeyBaby Mountain Dew commercials or that Doritos ad where McLovin sucks on his coworker’s finger like he works at Uber would be capable of any sort of nuance when it comes to intersectional politics. I don’t have much else to say about the Pepsi spot (you’re welcome) because it doesn’t merit anything but dismissal. That people were so up in arms about a soda company co-opting counter culture seems like a waste of energy. (Remember that groovy Coke commercial where all the cultures were holding hands and singing about how great soda is? That wasn’t an endorsement of multiculturalism, that was a company cashing in on it. I assume everyone was too zonked on reefers to get angry about it back then.) The moral of the story is that Pepsi sucks generally, you shouldn’t have been drinking it in the first place.
But honestly that smarmy Heineken commercial is hot garbage too. If you haven’t seen it, take 7 valuable minutes of your life and watch it so you can have a reference point to what I’m talking about. (Context for my blog post is more important than your time.) If you don’t want to watch it, that’s cool too. What happens, basically, is that three pairs of people—they’re English, that might be important? I don’t know them having fun accents somehow makes all of this more sinister/charming—with very divergent politics on feminism, transgender rights, and climate change are asked to hang out with each other and do some run-of-the-mill corporate team-building exercises like drinking. When they inevitably warm to each other, they’re shown candid videos of one another spouting their personal politics like a damn internet message board. It’s awkward, though not as awkward as you would think if a dude said he thought you weren’t really human because you’re transgender. Anyway, the message here is about discourse, that through just talking and listening to each other over an ice cold Heineken we’d be able to make the world a better place.
And yet here I am wondering why I would ever want to listen to someone who thinks women have too many rights? Or why I would want to have a civil discussion with someone who thinks transgender people are scientific abominations? These are people—morons, really—who have leapt past the edge of reason into some sort of valley filled with shadowy conspiracies designed to subvert their way of life. They are the intellectual equivalent of cultists, and my job in society is not to deprogram these ass holes. They deserve to be shunned and ostracized. They are, for lack of a more delicate term, wrong. About everything. They are so objectively false in their view in the world that to engage them in conversation is to rationalize their complete bullshit view of the world. I don’t wonder why a guy thinks women should be “tradwives” because that would mean they have an opinion worth listening to. These extremists shouldn’t be listened to by anyone, much less the people they’re dedicated to diminishing.
That doesn’t mean that dialogue isn’t an important part of American civility, it’s that these aren’t the conversations that we need to be having right now. Put a banker or economist across the bar from a man or woman who lost their job at an auto plant, or a recently immigrated family in the same room as a family from Kansas whose only relationship with brown people comes from what they see on Fox News. Those are the bridges worth building, the empathy worth creating.
(I should take a moment to say that holding completely insane conspiracy theories as dogma and being angry about issues that were created by both sides of the political spectrum over the last 40 years are not mutually exclusive concepts. They are many poor, disenfranchised people who think Obama was a lowkey Muslim trying to setup Sharia courts in rural Indiana. I’m honestly at a loss as to how to address that intersectionality because as much as we like to joke about them being dumb, racist—ok, they’re definitely racist—rednecks, they’ve watched the Federal government systematically and legitimately destroy the middle class. That is not a conspiracy theory, that is exactly what Democrats and Republicans have been doing for decades. I could go on for a while on these points but I also don’t want you to be miserable so here’s a good litmus test for whether or not the person you’re talking to is worth debating: If they yell about cucks and have email alerts for r/redpill, chances are they’re not worth your time. Do not talk to them, they will try to sell you supplementals that will make your dick hurt.)
Developing those bonds would require putting real pain on television, and no brand is interested in asking complex questions about racism or neoliberal economics. Heineken made an ad that would tug at the heart-strings of its most valuable demographic and it worked perfectly. You will remember associated Heineken with high-minded ideals of political discourse and order it next time you go out even though it tastes awful. You will forget that it gave equal credence to people who think your transgender friends are less than human and a guy who believes women are solely a vessel for his children which is funny because that guy definitely doesn’t know how sex works.