I know there are awful, awful things on the internet, and that, as a grownup, I use the information superhighway at my own risk, but sometimes you see things that are so culturally offensive you have to speak up. This is one of those things. I understand most countries have a healthy novelty industry and also that there is no accounting for taste. Moreover none of these products are suicide-inducing all on their own, but the place they come from makes it hard to carry on.

It would be inaccurate to place all of the misogyny associated with beer on the shoulders of the mega-brewers and their legion of ad men. Certainly there are craft beer brewers (and drinkers) who reflect a pre-adolescent mindset that makes the He Man Women Hater’s Club still a thing in the 21st century. But this garbage isn’t aimed at them any more than are the Budweiser ads that assume every man works in a steel mill, is totally cut, and has strippers fainting at their feet in the local honkey tonk. It is aimed at people who still think beer (as well as masculinity) is a novelty.

beer novelties
Get it? I don’t gotta take my eyes off the Tee Vee until I’m so drunk I can’t see no more…

For a guy who talks about not taking beer too seriously all the time, this feels as if I’m creeping up to hypocrisy. But this isn’t a question of being serious or not, it is a problem of responsibility and identity. There’s something of a cultural sickness that pervades big beer culture that embraces the beer-swilling American who is consumed by not missing a second of television, being a real man (from a beer commercial), and upon whom all subtlety is lost.

This last part, the lack of subtlety that is praiseworthy in some quarters, is where there’s a real line to draw. There are better and worse ways to thumb your nose at convention. The kind of blunt force trauma with which these “man” products seem to do it is more than disappointing, it’s a little gross. There’s nothing wrong (I guess) with a well-placed fart joke, but the one-notedness endemic to beer novelties in particular (and to beer marketing generally) is tired and counter productive. After awhile, a 12-year-old stops being funny and starts needing a to be taught a lesson.

Drink what you like and be happy.

 

Tony Russo
Author: Tony Russo

Tony Russo has worked as a print and digital journalist for the better part of the 21st century, writing for and editing regional weeklies and dailies before joining the team that produces OceanCity.com and ShoreCraftBeer.com among other destination websites. In addition to having documented everything from zoning changes to art movements on the Delmarva Peninsula, Tony has written two books on beer for the History Press. Eastern Shore Beer was published in 2014 and Delaware Beer in 2016. He lives in Delmar, Md. with his wife Kelly and the only of his four daughters who hasn't moved out. Together they keep their two dogs comfortable.

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