The latest in insipid, manufactured internet controversies comes to us courtesy of, of course, BuzzFeed.
BuzzFeed news reporter Rachel Zarrell has whipped up a familiar frenzy by targeting that most famous of American beers, Budweiser, for its new advertising slogan. As part of Anheuser-Busch’s new marketing campaign for its flagship product, Bud Light, the company is promoting the beer as the perfect accompaniment for “whatever.”
“The perfect beer for whatever happens,” the slogan reads. It is accompanied with the twitter hashtag “#UpForWhatever.” As it happens, “whatever” might include rape.
“Keeping in line with their ‘Up For Whatever’ marketing campaign, Bud Light appears to have a new slogan on their bottles: ‘The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night,’” Zarrell wrote. “By Tuesday afternoon, it started to make waves on social media for the company’s apparent tone-deafness when it comes to the role alcohol plays in rape culture.”
As asinine as that sounds, Zarrell provided a variety of screen captioned tweets from Twitter users with modest followings demanding that the nooses be fitted for the latest targets of their impotent rage. Surely, BuzzFeed was hoping to spark an even grander internet-based mob to exact some social justice and generate a good deal of traffic in the process.
The quality of this slogan as an example of clever advertising is entirely distinct from it serving as an incitement to violence. Those who insist it is the latter should have to prove that extraordinary contention. Now, the mere insinuation that it must be, in concert with the proper amount of public pressure, is enough to compel capitulation. And, rest assured, if history is any guide, Budweiser’s latest advertising campaign is not long for this world.
I understand that we are supposed to subordinate common sense because some fragile feelings might be hurt if we were to be intellectually honest, but this is positively reckless. Rather than suggest that the world’s largest brewery is advocating in favor of sexual assault, isn’t it more likely they are acknowledging that the consumption of alcohol limits inhibitions? In fact, might that be why young people drink alcoholic beverages at social functions? Those who are outraged over this slogan would claim that this couldn’t be the case. It must be a malicious effort to de-stigmatize sexual violence. Presumably sane people like Rep. Nita Lowey (D-CA) would have you believe that a company that broadcasts admonitions to “drink responsibly” in its precious commercial time is subliminally promoting irresponsible drinking.
Enough is enough. Are we simply incapable of acknowledging Occam’s Razor because someone’s ox might get gored in the process? Well, this has gone just a bit too far, and it’s past time to impale some bovines.
Beyond stretching the bounds of logic absurdly in order to hurl the bloody tunic of sexual assault into the BuzzFeed’s crowd of terminally bored prospective agitators, Zarrell didn’t appear to know that the offending slogan is merely one of many associated with the #UpForWhatever campaign.
Some Bud Light bottles, for example, will be labeled as “The perfect beer for leaving your comfort zone in another time zone.” Others will describe themselves as “The perfect beer for taking off the blindfold and showing that piñata who’s boss.” Still others will note that Bud Light is “The perfect beer for tuning up the old air guitar.” The initial run of unique “Up For Whatever” bottles will feature more than 47 different such messages, with many more to come.
“These new bottles are the epitome of our ‘Up for Whatever’ mindset,” said Alex Lambrecht, vice president of Bud Light. “They’re designed to inspire people to have fun and try doing something that might be a little outside their comfort zone. Or a lot outside their comfort zone. Bud Light fans who say they’re ‘Up for Whatever’ and back it up with their actions are going to have a lot of fun with us.”
But what Lambrecht calls “fun,” others call “unwanted sexual contact.” As he must be aware, just about every one of his tasteless beer slogans could be construed as an invitation to engage in assault. It doesn’t take a literary mind to discover that phrases like “leaving your comfort zone,” “tuning up the old air guitar,” and “showing that piñata who’s boss” have plenty all the potential in the world to serve as cutting sexual euphemisms.
Yes, that would be prurient, but not more so than to claim Anheuser-Busch is condoning sexual violence.
It’s probably safest for Anheuser-Busch to just release their products with a matte black label and no slogan whatsoever, lest they offend the hypersensitive “safe space” movement or attract the attention of news organizations that cannot meet their fiduciary responsibility to investors without regularly getting someone fired.
For everyone else who finds this manner of fabricated outrage dangerous, it’s time to stop ceding this turf to professional victims. This insanity has gone too far. No longer does the silent majority have the privilege of keeping quiet. It’s time to call this idiocy out for what it is.