Althouse | category: soda



an endless succession of beans and nuts.

"So now the Bud-lash is a whole thing, as is the backlash to the Bud-lash."

Writes Emily Stewart (at Vox), voxsplaining the fuss over Dylan Mulvaney and Bud Light.
Radio personality Howard Stern said he’s “dumbfounded” at all the hullabaloo, wondering on air, with regard to Kid Rock and [Travis] Tritt, “Why do you care so much?” ...
Anheuser-Busch, which is getting a ton of earned media out of this, appears to largely be riding the wave.... 
“These are tough brands to find growth for — Bud Light has been shedding barrels of volume for years. It’s past its prime, it will not be the largest beer in the country much longer,” [said beer columnist Dave Infante]. “This is standard-issue pinkwashing stuff. They’re looking for ways to quote-unquote align their values with customer segments that they think maybe they can still find some loyalty in.”... 

"Pinkwashing" connotes that the effort is superficial and fake. That is, it's advertising. There's no serious commitment to underlying principles. 

"Why do you care so much?" — Stern asked — but the advertiser is always asking you to care — care, but only just enough. Don't under- or over-care. Care the amount that makes you like the product and want to buy it. It's hard to calibrate! Remember when Pepsi miscalculated?*

Some of that traditional core audience, even though it’s not growing, feels betrayed by Bud Light’s LGBTQ outreach and alliance, however small, with a trans woman. They feel like it’s gone “woke,” like another part of the country’s culture is changing around them in a way that’s uncomfortable. 
“You’re talking about a demographic that’s drinking that beer here locally that’s about as far from that as you can get. You’re talking about some blue-collar working men. Women don’t drink that beer a lot or just in general, and sure, they just kind of struck a nerve with their base, potentially,” Don, the liquor store owner, said.


* See "Pepsi Pulls Ad Accused of Trivializing Black Lives Matter" (2017, NYT).  

Pepsi has apologized for a controversial advertisement that borrowed imagery from the Black Lives Matter movement, after a day of intense criticism from people who said it trivialized the widespread protests against the killings of black people by the police.... 

The ad, posted to YouTube on Tuesday, shows attractive young people holding milquetoast signs with nonspecific pleas like “Join the conversation.” The protesters are uniformly smiling, laughing, clapping, hugging and high-fiving. In the ad’s climactic scene, a police officer accepts a can of Pepsi from Kendall Jenner, a white woman, setting off raucous approval from the protesters and an appreciative grin from the officer. 

"He awoke to the sound of water dripping into a rusted sink. The streets below were bathed in medieval moonlight, reverberating silence."

"He lay there grappling with the terror of beauty, as the night unfolded like a Chinese screen. He lay shuddering, riveted by flickering movements of aliens and angels as the words and melodies of 'Marquee Moon' were formed, drop by drop, note by note, from a state of calm yet sinister excitement. He was Tom Verlaine, and that was his process: exquisite torment. Born Thomas Joseph Miller, raised in Wilmington, Delaware, he left his parental home and shed his name, a discarded skin curled in the corner of a modest garage among stacks of used air-conditioners that required his father’s constant professional attention...."
Writes Patti Smith in "He Was Tom Verlaine/Patti Smith remembers her friend, who possessed the child’s gift of transforming a drop of water into a poem that somehow begat music" (The New Yorker).

"He lived twenty-eight minutes from where I was raised. We could easily have sauntered into the same Wawa on the Wilmington-South Jersey border in search of Yoo-hoo or Tastykakes. We might have met, two black sheep, on some rural stretch, each carrying books of the poetry of French Symbolists—but we didn’t. Not until 1973, on East Tenth Street, across from St. Mark’s Church, where he stopped me and said, 'You’re Smith.'... Examining each other’s bookcases, we were amazed to find that our books were nearly identical, even those by authors difficult to find. Cossery, Hedayat, Tutuola, Mrabet...."

Goodbye to Tom Verlaine, my fellow Wilmingtonian. I too lived among the Butterscotch Krimpets, long ago. Never have heard of Cossery, Hedayat, Tutuola, and Mrabet though. Imagine being into Cossery, Hedayat, Tutuola, Mrabet, then meeting somebody who had books by all 4.

"You don’t like that kind of beauty?"/"Good grief, what’s likeable in such snakiness?... In our true Russian understanding concerning a woman’s build..."

"... we keep to a type of our own, which we find much more suitable than modern-day frivolity. We don’t appreciate spindliness, true; we prefer that a woman stand not on long legs, but on sturdy ones, so that she doesn’t get tangled up, but rolls about everywhere like a ball and makes it, where a spindly-legged one will run and trip. We also don’t appreciate snaky thinness, but require that a woman be on the stout side, ample, because, though it’s not so elegant, it points to maternity in them. The brow of our real, pure Russian woman’s breed is more plump, more meaty, but then in that soft brow there’s more gaiety, more welcome. The same for the nose: ours have noses that aren’t hooked, but more like little pips, but this little pip itself, like it or not, is much more affable in family life than a dry, proud nose. But the eyebrows especially, the eyebrows open up the look of the face, and therefore it’s necessary that a woman’s eyebrows not scowl, but be opened out, archlike, for a man finds it more inviting to talk with such a woman, and she makes a different, more welcoming impression on everybody coming to the house. But modern taste, naturally, has abandoned this good type and approves of airy ephemerality in the female sex, only that’s completely useless.”

From "The Sealed Angel," an 1873 story by Nikolai Leskov, collected in "The Enchanted Wanderer." That's a character speaking, not the author's attitude.

That passage amused me, as I was listening to the audiobook and hiking in the mud in the Arb today. The story isn't much about women though, but about the Old Believers and their icons. Yesterday, I read the first story in the collection, "The Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk."

My reading these stories has nothing to do with the woes unleashed by Russia in the world today. It is a consequence of reading Larry McMurtry's book "Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen: Reflections on Sixty and Beyond" (which I mentioned a few days ago, here). That book begins: 

IN THE summer of 1980, in the Archer City Dairy Queen, while nursing a lime Dr Pepper (a delicacy strictly local, unheard of even in the next Dairy Queen down the road—Olney’s, eighteen miles south—but easily obtainable by anyone willing to buy a lime and a Dr Pepper), I opened a book called Illuminations and read Walter Benjamin’s essay “The Storyteller,” nominally a study of or reflection on the stories of Nikolay Leskov, but really (I came to feel, after several rereadings) an examination, and a profound one, of the growing obsolescence of what might be called practical memory and the consequent diminution of the power of oral narrative in our twentieth–century lives.

"Kuachua Brillion Xiong, 25, of Merced was pulled over for driving aggressively on Interstate 80 in Cass County, Iowa, on Dec. 21. He had an AR-15-type rifle, ammunition and a grappling hook, among other items...."

"He told a sheriff’s deputy that he disapproved of the government and President Biden and that he was traveling to Washington, D.C. He was carrying a 'hit list' of targets saved from TikTok videos.... Authorities described Xiong’s vehicle as 'lived in,' with several empty cans of Red Bull energy drink.... Police also found money in the vehicle 'earmarked' for Xiong’s funeral expenses, and his GPS was set for the White House.... 'Xiong believes that he is the only person remaining who can free the United States of evil and it is necessary for him to kill those in positions of power,' Special Agent Justin Larson with the Secret Service said in the affidavit.... Targets included former Presidents Clinton and Obama, White House medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci and Meta Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg.... He also detailed his plan to get into the White House through what he described as a 'weak spot' and how he would use a grappling hook to climb over the perimeter fencing...."

From "Merced man arrested on way to White House with rifle, ‘hit list’ compiled from TikTok" (L.A. Times).

"After Mitt Romney was photographed drinking a Diet Coke while running for president in 2012, the church posted a statement on its website clarifying its stance on caffeine, saying it 'does not prohibit the use of caffeine.'"

"The Word of Wisdom, the church’s health code, specifically bans hot caffeinated drinks, like coffee and tea. Brant Ellsworth, an associate professor at Central Penn College in Summerdale, Pa., specializes in the history of the church. He said that its clarification about caffeine did not likely spur the popularity of soda shops in Utah... 'Moms can’t function without caffeinated beverages,' said Ms. Durfey, a mother of two. 'We’re exhausted... I don’t know a single mom who cannot [sic] go through the day without some form of caffeine. I think that has definitely aided in the popularity of soda shops, because L.D.S. women can’t have coffee, they can’t drink alcohol. So their vice of getting that relaxation, that energy, and that whole kind of ritual I guess you could say — I feel like soda is their only option.'... As a nod to her hometown, Atlanta, Olivia Diaz, who is 27 and lives in Orem, Utah, likes to order Life’s a Peach — Dr Pepper with peach and vanilla syrup flavorings, and half-and-half to make it 'extra dirty.' (The term 'dirty' refers to the flavor add-ins, and its use in marketing was the basis of a 2015 trademark lawsuit, when Swig sued Sodalicious.)... Many of the dirty sodas, which come in sizes up to 44 ounces, can contain up to 1,000 calories."

The second-highest-rated comment over there is: "I’m not usually a humorless scold, but this is not a good thing. Completely empty calories, mountains of probably not biodegradable waste, and cutesy names/flavors tailored to an eight year old. I’ll stick with plain old water, and a glass of wine before bed. But then, I’m a grown up. And don’t get me started on 'The Church.' Cheers."

Coke saves the world.


I ran into that at the subreddit r/cringe, where the top-rated comment is: 
“Think people! How do we appeal to the younger generation while sending a positive message?"  
“Let’s make a video game character become sentient at the sound of a coke being opened in the real world in the middle of a bloody battle and have him lay down his arms in the name of peace.”  
“Fuck yeah.”  
How in the fuck did that ever make it past initial pitch? 
I was reading that subreddit after we got into an extended debate about the word "cringe" as it's used in discussing comedy.

We were talking about the new Dave Chappelle comedy special, which I consider a genius work of art, but I see Fast Company calls it "boring, transphobic." I guess "fast" means "dumb" now.

Bob Ross, resurrected to paint a Mountain Dew ad, is welcome even as it obstructs the "Repo Man" clip I wanted to find.

For once, I am not annoyed — I am the opposite of annoyed — by the ad YouTube served up in front of the video I wanted to watch: 


Well, that's just great. Good to know the beloved dead man is refreshed. 

There is a Bible verse about tending to the thirst of a dead man: "And he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.'" 

Yet no one pictures Bob Ross in hell. It is more likely that you would picture him in a Heaven that resembles his paintings, and I'm sure that picture has abundant water features, with painterly tree reflections. Still, you weren't picturing Paradise with soda, were you? Maybe you were! There's that song about Paradise with cigarette trees and a soda water fountain.

Now to the serious business of this post, the "Repo Man" clip: 


That's the pine-tree-shaped air freshener that the repo man will find in every repossessed car. I needed to look up that clip because I was about to read the NYT article, "Why Police Can Stop Motorists With Air Fresheners Hanging in Their Cars/A majority of states have laws making it illegal to hang anything from a rearview mirror that obscures a driver’s view. But critics say the laws are often used as pretexts." 

I haven't read the article yet, but I'd say that hanging something from the rearview mirror is an activity associated with the lower class. There's a bit of a safety issue, but it's easy to suspect that these laws justify traffic stops of people the police might want to intrude upon. And we have a recent incident in which a young man was shot to death, apparently by accident, after he was stopped, we were originally told, for having an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror.

Now, I've read the article. I'd summarize it like this. There's a legitimate, though fairly small, safety issue, but not every car with something hanging from the rearview mirror is stopped, so there is room for racial animus to play a role in who is stopped and how that person is treated after they are stopped.

The article ends with an anecdote about a woman who, at 35 years of age, still feels traumatized by a traffic stop over an air freshener that happened when she was in high school:

“He kept asking me questions like he wanted to trip me up,” said Ms. Mixon, who is Black....

“If I get in a car with somebody and they have something hanging from their mirror, I’m like, ‘Can you take that down?’” Ms. Mixon said. “Being a Black passenger might trigger something in a racist cop, so let’s just remove that altogether from the situation.”


There is no comments section anymore, but you can email me here. Unless you say otherwise, I will presume you'd enjoy an update to this post with a quote from your email.

"The woman... told officials she was swimming in a canal when she noticed a door and entered it. She said she eventually became lost..."

"... and ended up three miles away from where she first began, surviving on a can of ginger ale she discovered unopened along the way. Police are trying to determine if the woman was actually underground for three weeks. They say the health officials they have consulted believe it is more likely the woman was only in the sewer for two or three days. 'We don’t feel that there was any crime committed,' Ted White, a police spokesperson, said. 'But the biggest question is, is her story credible? Was she actually down there the whole time?'"

From "Naked woman rescued from Florida sewer after driver hears her screaming/Delray Beach fire rescue says woman sustained superficial injuries and had been reported missing three weeks earlier" (The Guardian).

Coke saves the world.Bob Ross, resurrected to paint a Mountain Dew ad, is welcome even as it obstructs the "Repo Man" clip I wanted to find.

Report "Althouse"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?