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May 16 2006

Beef! Beer! Ug!

demaistre.jpg
In this 1810 portrait by Karl Vogel von Vogelstein, Joseph de Maistre demonstrates la méthode du doigt by which European royalty have always claimed property such as beer or pussy.

Phil, my secretary, informs me that we’ve gotten “a veritable slew” of emails about the blatant misogyny in—surprise— a light beer commercial. I have not seen it, but Amanda has, which is strange because I have a TV and she don’t. All I can tell you is that this latest entry in the already-crowded field of repellent phallocentric advertising campaigns contains images of dudely morons sticking their fingers into beer bottles, along with the compellingly asinine, soon-to-be-really-tiresome-catch-phrase “you poke it, you own it.”

Of course, the beer company didn’t invent the phrase. In his influential 1789 treatise on private property, De droites du doigt (literally, “The Rights of the Finger”) French philosopher and monarchist Joseph de Maistre declared “You poke it; you may kill it, or give it to your bootblack.” Miller Lite, in an effort to strike a chord with its super-intellectual audience of civic-minded philosophy buffs, is clearly paying homage to one of the great authoritarian conservatives of the French Revolution.

43 comments

3 pings

  1. schatze

    Would have been all-round better if they’d stuck their dick in the bottle.

  2. Amber

    It’s times like this when I’m eternally grateful that I own a DVR, thereby missing this commercial, the manly meat commercial, et. al. completely.

  3. Arianna

    I think it has definitely affected my living conditions for the better that my household is devoid of television. I live with 4 males and 1 female besides myself, making six total, and none of us watch tv. I get the feeling living with that many males would be rather unpleasant if they were exposed to advertising of this sort, and the accompanying misogynist television programs. We derive all of our entertainment from computer games and good old fashioned board games and tabletop RPGs, with a healthy does of LARP swordfighting. Yes, we’re officially dorks.

  4. Ani

    And we wonder what got into those St. Louis schoolboys. “Honestly, Mr. Principal, we were just trying to grow up like Monsieur de Maistre!”

  5. Cass

    Was’t he also the author of that famous tract, “L’femme machine”?

    And isn’t light beer for fags?

  6. nancy73

    schatze: You’ve hit on the gooey center of the entire advertising industry – How to advertise TO the penis without SHOWING the penis. Even when they’re advertising “feminine products” of any kind, they’re still advertising to the penis. Gah!

  7. thebewilderness

    There we were, my 81 year old mum and me, watching Jon Stewart for our daily dose of news, and they start in with the you poke it, you own it. We both began screaming at the teevee. Then we shut it off. Watching Comedy Central is always a wallow in penile worship for the manly male. When the commercials aren’t comparing girlfriends to beer, they are showing women with high fuckability ratings sucking off ice cubes. One can only turn their head away a certain number of times before the screaming commences.

  8. norbizness

    contra Jeremy Bentham’s “The Negative Marginal Utility Of Flaccidity-Inducing Pisswater.”

  9. Rachel

    You can watch the commercial online at http://www.manlaws.com/ – ugh. Click “Talk To Us” at the bottom of this page to send Miller Lite your reaction. You can also call their Consumer Response Center at 1-800-MILLER 6. If you’d like to avoid SABMiller brands, here is the complete list.

  10. Pony

    To what do we owe thanks for your presence here today Norbiz? The beef? The beer? Oh how cynical am I.

  11. Keeshond

    Blessed be my DVR
    That sits in my media room.
    Hallowed be its function.
    It reduces misogyny,
    and eliminates foolishness.
    For mine is the power
    and the remote,
    forever and ever.
    Amen.

    “You poke it, you own it”? Why, the sublety of that double entendre is practically literary!

    De droites du doigt is all very well and good and everything, but for me it’s really about de puissance ma pied, or the power of my foot, which refers to the right I feel that I should have to kick the ass of some Madison douche bag should I feel the need.

  12. eric

    The piece de resistance is the article (found here: http://www.adweek.com/aw/creative/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002461900) which salutes the “Man Law” campaign for “abandon[ing] the innuendo and machismo of the beer-commercial genre for a slightly more thoughtful (if self-consciously low-brow) approach.”

    Let no one accuse the beer industry of setting the bar too high when it comes to “thoughtful.”

  13. Mandos

    You really want something like la puissance de mon pied, but someone may correct my noun genders.

  14. norbizness

    I thought it was the vegetable medley at the Hyde Park Grill, Pony.

  15. Keeshond

    Thanks, Mandos. I think you’re right. It’s been about 11,000 years since I took French and clearly I haven’t retained a whole lot of it.

  16. Christopher

    I’m still baffled at the idea of using the thumb as the bottle-carrying digit. Either these men have incredibly tiny, dainty hands, or Miller Light has a really wide neck.

    I mean, I have small hands and I can’t fit my thumb in a beer bottle. It would be impossible for somebody with big manly hands.

  17. hedonistic

    “You poke it, you own it?” Oh, puhleeeeeeeze! Chez moi it’s more like this . . . .

  18. Sylvanite

    Thank you, Discovery Science Channel, for being for more geekly than manly. I have yet to see any of these obnoxious commercials. This is good, as I have enough going on in my life without having to worry about my head exploding in outrage over an advertisement. Though I do hate the latest iteration of the Geico gecko.

    Discovery Science Channel – your source for computer simulations of massive natural disasters and endless discussions of how stuff gets made. Wooooo!

  19. Sylvanite

    Of course I meant “far more geekly,” not “for more geekly.” Though the latter isn’t actually incorrect, either.

  20. maarmie

    This commercial sounds awful. Haven’t seen it, thank Buddha! But I have decided never to go to Burger King again because of its latest. Something about “forget stupid chick food, be a man and eat enough beef to choke a cow. I’m a man, therefore I eat beef. I am tough. I am strong. I am man. Eat beef.”

    That’s the gist of it.

  21. finnsmotel

    Hardees is still bucking for the top spot on the mysogyny charts. (the ‘bucking’ in reference to the mechanical bull ad)

    Their latest has the two Philly cabbies whose accents are so bad, they put subtitles on the screen (semi-clever). One cabbie is essentially questioning the other’s manhood since he’s eating a burger and not a philly cheesesteak sandwich. The accused makes his defense, saying this burger has peppers and onions and cheese (fuggedabadit), just like a philly cheesesteak. The argument is about to come to a head when, at last, they find something they can agree on: cat-calling a walking-away female.

  22. hedonistic

    Finn, are you local to Philly? I’m wondering if Hardees is targeting their advertising to certain regions. I’m a local, but (here I go again) “I don’t watch TV,” so I missed it.

  23. Sara

    Just so y’all know that equality isn’t a myth, the other day I saw an ad for a new “energy drink” for women. And no, I can’t remember the name of the product, so actually the ad FAILS! HA HA HA — take that, advertising sluts of the patriarchy!

    I do, however, remember that the ad was full of women wearing preposterous clothing, that the drink itself is breast cancer pink and comes in a Sofia-pink can, and that the raison d’être put forth for this particular product (no doubt chock full of carcinogenic chemicals) is that it takes a lot of energy to do all the things women do, including, for example, “commuting in three-inch heels,” so we need our own energy drink, apparently with bubbles.

    Look, girls, we can be insulted to our faces by people trying to sell us stuff every bit as much as any man! More so, even!

    Oh, wait, that’s not equality, is it?

  24. hedonistic

    Sara, thats just TAB with an extra shot of caffeine! TAB!!! Can you believe it? I thought that soft drink went out in the ’70′s!

  25. Twisty

    As the poet said, everything old is new again.

  26. finnsmotel

    “Finn, are you local to Philly?”

    No, I’m in St. Louis, MO.

  27. alphabitch

    It is indeed the TaB energy drink in the pink can. I tried it. It’s not merely regular TaB with extra caffeine, which I would probably have liked, but it also has some freaky sweet metallic aftertaste that reminds me somehow of dipping one of those smudgy rainbow-colored Charms Pop sucker things into a cola-flavored beverage. It didn’t give me any extra energy burst or make me able to walk across a street in 3-inch heels so much as it made me want to scour out the inside of my mouth, or at least get some of those soapy, licorice-flavored Snaps candies.

    As regards the regular TaB, it is still in fact made and is available in some areas, though it’s never in soda machines or convenience stores, and it’s not advertised at all. I go out of my way to the one store here that regularly stocks it and buy as many cases as they have when it’s on sale. It’s slightly re-formulated from its original recipe — it’s sweetened with a blend of aspartame and sodium saccharine, I think is the main difference. But it still has that old-school diet soda aftertaste that so many people complain about. My only complaint is that it doesn’t come in those fabulous old textured 16-oz. bottles with those sprockety asterisky shapes on them anymore. Even if they did, though, I don’t think I’d be tempted to either carry them or lay claim to them by poking my finger in them.

    All these discussions about offensive/weird/misogynist ad content is making me happy to be one of the non-TV-having spinster aunts around here. So much easier on the old obstreperal lobe.

  28. mythicpower

    We still have TAB in South Africa. Ask for the tab, get a TAB. We ask for the bill.

  29. Mandos

    Yeah, I ask for the bill too. Here on the Plateau of Gorgoroth, people seem to ask for “checks” (cheques?). Having lived in Canada for a while, I’m used to “bill”.

  30. suezboo

    Mythic !! A fellow-blamer from my part of the world. I thought I was the only SAfrican feminist left alive. Sistah !

  31. kcsheehan

    I love it that the ad agency partner/spokesman is named Bogusky. Bogusky said: “We are trying to take thought leadership of the category.”

    Twisty, thank you for taking “thought leadership” of our category.

  32. Arianna

    Mandos:

    It’s spelled “cheques” in Canada. On the Plateau of Gorgoroth, I assume it’s spelled with alot more “ngs” and “zs”.

  33. KH

    Yeah, Mandos, (and Keeshond) that’d be me, the resident annoying franco-grammarian.

    What you want in that instance is du pied; it implies more of an omniscient power of the foot, rather than one of your feet specifically. If y’all were aiming more for a “rights, my foot!” type of outrage, you’d best go for “droits, mon pied!”, but Keeshond, I think what you are looking for is something more like “les droits de mon coup”, which would be literally “the rights of my blow” (coup means kick as well) and also have the added punny fun of sounding similar to “the rights of my ass!”, because really, our asses ought to have more rights than some dude’s beer-stunk finger.

  34. Mandos

    Yes, I’m aware the fact that it’s called cheques in Canada. It is spelled with many more gutturals on Gorgoroth, but somehow my mind always translates to “cheque”. And the spelling on Mordorian bank documents also tends to get translated to “check”. Weird, eh?

  35. Twisty

    “Plateau of Gorgoroth”

    When I was in junior high school I called myself Commander Faster, and I used to put stardates on all my homework assignments, painstakingly reproduced by hand in that one computer font we had in the 70′s.

    I no longer live on the Enterprise.

  36. Mandos

    Are you geek-baiting, O Twisty?

  37. thebewilderness

    MandosX3,
    Where the hell are you.
    I live in the Puget Sound area, where “Mordor Lives” signs have been posted at almost every clearcut for the past forty years. Nonetheless, I cannot imagine where you could be that is so devastated you would refer to it as the Plains of Gorgoroth.

  38. Mandos

    I am in the general vicinity of Barad-Dûr, of course. The restaurants are great and the night life exciting. Entertainment inexpensive.

  39. hedonistic

    Dammit, I just stayed up all night blogranting on this stooopid Miller Lite campaign. What’s wrong with me?

  40. mythicpower

    suezboo, how exciting!

  41. Chris Clarke

    Get a clue, Mandos. Whattaya think all the tacos are for if not geek-bait?

  42. Mandalay

    Michelob Ultra has a commercial that is aimed at women–running about doing womanly athletic things in small pieces of clothing while the breathless voiceover goes on about “make it your time” or something like that. Never mind that I’ve had water with more flavor than Michelob Ultra. Because girly girls don’t drink beer, don’t you know that?

    And I watch a lot of sports, therefore I see a lot of beer commercials. The only point to them seems to be that men do stupid things in groups.

  43. Peter

    Thats wierd, I gave up watching TV years ago because I thought it was so anti male!

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