Somewhere, the Clydesdales are sobbing.
“I knew they were having trouble as a beer,” Clarence, one of the lead show horses, whinnied, sotto voce, to a stablemate.
“I mean, real beer drinkers have always called it piss water, and all the craft brews were eating them alive,” he said, lowering his head. “And nobody seems to be buying the beer truck/Dalmatian imagery shit anymore.”
“I know!” said the guy next to him, shaking his platinum fringe.
“Still, I never dreamed the situation was so desperate that they’d even think of transitioning into a Continent!”
“Who does that?! “
The outraged horses, of course, refer to the announcement that briefly broke the Internet earlier in the week: that Budweiser beer, and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch. now owned by Belgian brewer InBev, will take the name “America” on its 12-ounce cans and bottles.
To be fair, the seven-letter name of the massive continent was initially mis-attributed to that of an Italian mapmaker, and has been disputed since Vespucci days. So what’s the big deal to convert the B-word to the A-word, using the same cursive font?
Maybe America, the country, is a tad iconic to the people hung up on all that parchment-y stuff like what the Constitution, and the Emancipation Proclamation means to a democratic society and all.
Still, with only minor tinkering, the can’s formerly monarchist slogan “the King of Beers” was switched up to the uber-happening money-phrase “E Pluribus Unum.” Then the “AB” was changed to “US.”
Easy peasy, ’murrica!
And to give credit where credit is due: In an even ballsier move, Budweiser didn’t really buy America -- they are just kind of leasing it, well, more like freeloading off of it, for the summer.
And as every houseguest in the Hamptons knows, the “season” goes from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
That way America-the-Can can make the scene at major backyard barbecues and the all-important Fourth of July shindigs — from the mountains, to the valleys, to the oceans, white with (beer) foam.
Oh, yeah, and don’t tell anyone, but the post-Labor Day plan is for Bud to grift off America until the Presidential election on Nov. 8th.
Which brings up Donald Trump, who -- no surprise -- has already claimed credit for the move.
In an appearance on Fox and Friends, the Don was asked if he thought his slogan “Make America Great Again” had anything to do with the Budweiser name change. "I think so,” he said. “They're so impressed with what our country will become, they decided to do this before the fact."
I can’t believe he missed the opportunity to say “America, you’re canned!”
Sorry to sound so snarky, but I find this move ridiculous, and a disgrace.
Such cognitive dissonance about what our country stands for is weird to me, given my liberal/progressive background.
I’m old enough to remember when right-wing, love-it-or-leave-it types were screaming about the dirty “hippies” who were desecrating the flag by wearing it as a poncho in the mud at Woodstock.
The whole meaning of the “America” thing gets even more muddled by what Ricardo Marques, the Budweiser VP, claimed in the press release.
"We are embarking on what should be the most patriotic summer that this generation has ever seen,” he said.
Say what? Who is “this generation?” I think people really want to feel patriotic, but the reality is too scary and frustrating for that, although downing some shitty beer might help.
But by “patriotic,” Marques was referring to the “Copa America Centenario” being held on U.S. soil for the first time, “ (who knew? ) and “Team USA competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games."
I see. That makes sense. We’re very excited about the sudden outbreak of the Zika virus, and Brazil‘s destabilizing political coup, right out of the “House of Cards,” going on as we speak, and the chaos that it will inevitably bring to its economically desperate citizenry. Still, advertisers are putting down gazillions on the Olympics — the slots are going like hotcakes.
What a disconnect.
Now I see why the Budweiser brand had such a weak showing at the last Superbowl, with its top commercial coming in ninth (when it has historically been first or second) on the USA Today charts.
What I remember from the Bud work this year was all the dissonance: while one Bud commercial made fun of beer with “fruit” (and the fruity men who drink it?) another spot, also in the Bud portfolio, a decent, citrusy pale ale, called, Shock Top, featured a talking orange slice as insult comic.
Have we as a country achieved full idiocracy? Still, I’m sure the company researched the hell out of this move, right? Right or wrong, it has put Budweiser in the news, even if it lit up the Twitterverse with snark.
Actually, I bet hosts and hostesses throughout our great land will load up on “America” for their summer parties, just for the conversation value.
And some millennials and even their parents, will buy it as an ironic gesture.
As the spinmeister Ricardo Marques further puts it: The name change is aimed at inspiring drinkers “to celebrate America and Budweiser’s shared values of freedom and authenticity.”
And this new “America” Bud label comes full circle, freedom- and authenticity-wise: it also includes a line from Woody Guthrie's iconic song, "This land is your land."
I have no idea whether they are paying royalties for it. But in his time Guthrie, the famously lefty-leaning political activist, also wrote a song, "Old Man Trump" about Fred Trump, Donald’s dad.
It turns out that Guthrie, a veteran, actually rented an apartment in a Trump project called Beach Haven in Brooklyn in the 1950s. And he was appalled by Trump’s obviously racist rental practices.
So the “This land is your land” man ended the song with “No, no, no! Old Man Trump!
Old Beach Haven ain't my home!”
Sometimes, “authenticity” is so filled with irony that you can’t make this stuff up. Next: a wall around Modelo.