The writers at Slate should get off their high horses and just drink a beer already.
In a recent article, William Gordon wails about the “gross puns and derogatory labels” on craft beers. And maybe he’s right—some microbrews probably should clean up their act.
But maybe Slate should also apply the Left’s traditional logic: if you don’t like a misogynistic beer, don’t have one. After all, the only person worse than the dude who brings “Raging Bitch IPA” to the party is the culture warrior who whines about it.
Of the more than 3,500 microbrews around the country, some sport profane labels, and others feature more mild stickers, but all of them market to an adult demographic. At twenty-one years and older, consumers can make up their own minds.
A microcosm of reemerging Puritanism, Slate’s outrage perfectly illustrates the Culture War 4.0. Once outsiders railing against the moral standards of the establishment, the Left has employed its newfound authority to squash dissent and to enforce its own moral orthodoxy.
In the past, no upright tavern patron would order up “Tramp Stamp Pale Ale.” That crude marketing would offend popular sensibilities and advertisers would reject branding like this before it made the bottle art. As the culture war progressed, however, all became permissible as traditional morals became passé.
Now that they’re behind the bar and calling the shots according to their standards, the Left wants to decide what goes on tap.
In his piece, Gordon sloppily overstates the problem, claiming that all of “craft brewing has a sexism problem.” Then he demands immediate action. Like an obnoxious partier who’s consumed too much of his own self-righteous six-pack, he makes a big scene over something small.
Go home Slate, you’re no fun.
Everyone knows cheap advertising reflects a product that cannot win over consumers by merit alone. There’s a reason why Budweiser’s King in the Can relies on busty women to sell cases of booze to the gullible masses. Competing with established staples for space on store shelves, craft ales have embraced edgier labels in a similar effort.
Though they’re rude, that’s fine, because the consumer is free to choose his or her brew. However, the Left’s selective moral outrage is not okay. It’s hypocritical, prudish, and worst of all, terribly sexist.
The movement that railed against traditional values shouldn’t pour its own moral swill down society’s throat. Instead, progressives should recognize that this isn’t the 1950’s anymore. Today, women order their own drinks. And through cold, hard, market-forces cash, they can decide for themselves what’s actually offensive.
More than a third of the craft-brew market is female, and if a significant number were offended, they’d dump these brands, or they’d ditch their boyfriends who drink them. Either way, women are smart enough to decide on their own.
Slate demands too much by expecting champagne sensibilities from a beer-drinking crowd. An indignant yuppie from Cambridge, Massachusetts won’t sway the industry, and he certainly won’t convince frat boys or dirty hipsters. Consumers buying different beers will. Friends mercilessly teasing friends about their beer choice will.
Sure, some brew houses print labels that are in poor taste (you don’t see Double D: Double IPA in my fridge). But moralizing about microbrews won’t end misogyny. There are bigger problems that need fixing, real ones that don’t require a movement to manufacture outrage.
So Slate, please let the consumer exercise his or her right to choose. Stop whining about rude beer labels. Just calm down and find something else to drink. There’s always a less objectionable cold one somewhere in the cooler.
Philip Wegmann is a Staff Writer and the Radio Producer for The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter.