Friday, October 21, 2005

Swillmongers on television, but craft beer nearby as I watch.

About the best thing I can say about television is that in terms of evil, it’s a necessary medium.

Without it, I couldn’t watch major league baseball, pro basketball and the stray PBS documentary.

With it, I must endure commercial advertising, that wretched cesspool of pestilential misery with its rampant implications for the accepted manner by which people are tricked into believing they have lives.

Given my affection for the ideal of beer, it stands to reason that the most objectionable form of commercial advertising on television is that which exalts the insipid offerings of America’s bloated, aesthetically challenged megabrewers.

To paraphrase Dorothy Parker, the advertising strategies of America’s megabrewers span the range from A to B – so, let’s start with Anheuser-Busch.

A-B’s spending a ton of baseball playoff ad money to tout the virtues of its Select, trotting out August Busch IV (one of the more skilled people on the planet, we’re told, and certainly the bearer of the most honorifics since the unfortunate demise of Mrs. Ceausescu) to explain the special care lavished on the brand – the ingredients are more expensive, and extra time is taken in brewing Select.

The obvious question: If it’s that good, why not use the same care on the other brands? Doesn't the Busch drinker deserve as much?

Coors offers more of its patented brand of juvenile antics, i.e., swinish young men making suggestive noises while slurping sterile swill, while balancing this recurring Animal House technique with mountainous vistas of ice and snow serving as a backdrop for the wooden chairman, the defeated Pete Coors, as he babbles nonsensically about his product “starting here.”

Finally, there’s Miller – that’s SAB Miller, officially – devoting much of its ad time to the long neglected High Life brand, now revived owing to a bizarre affection for retro swill. The girl in the moon is brought to life, animated to perpetuate the merits of blind obedience to tradition, while not providing the slightest shred of information about the beer.

That’s because there is no pertinent information about the beer beyond the industrial mechanics necessary to produce it in the quantities necessary to bludgeon markets and establish virtual monopolies.

When the game resumes, you’ll notice the fans with their plastic bottles of mass-market, carbonated urine. Until they begin to question the liquid, the travesty will continue. But if the only information they receive comes from television, how can this ever happen.

Gee, maybe it's intentional ...

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