As Budweiser celebrates "Freedom," Anheuser-Busch funds abortion ban
Plus: The "Love It or Leave It" Blackout Starter Pack, “Best Bar” listicles seem bad, actually + more
#️⃣ Digits: Budweiser’s summer centrism vs. Anheuser-Busch’s political donations
I have a column out today in VinePair about “Freedom,” which is what Budweiser has temporarily renamed itself for summer 2022. It’s the latest iteration of a seasonal jingoism-as-marketing stunt that dates back to 2011 for the King of Beers, and part of a long tradition of American brewers rallying around the flag to sell suds. There are plenty of reasons to be cynical about this lowest-common-denominator schtick, particularly at a moment in this country’s history when we can’t keep babies fed, schoolchildren alive, people housed, insulin prices down, bridges from collapsing, the ultra-wealthy from buying elections, already-pathetic efforts at averting climate-death on track, Christofascist fundamentalists away from the levers of power… et cetera. But here’s a specific reason to be cynical: the very same year that Budweiser, wrapped in the Stars and Stripes, encourages you to “Let [Freedom] Ring” on every can, the brand’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch, donated….
$15,000 to 34 antiabortion Idaho lawmakers
…who passed a so-called trigger ban on abortions in the Gem State that will likely take effect in just a few weeks now that Roe has been overturned. Details of A-B’s donations were first reported earlier this year by the always-excellent Popular Information, which received no response from the macrobrewer. For my column, I followed up on Popular Information’s reporting, asking an A-B rep how these political donations to those lawmakers—whose legislative actions are anti-liberty by any reasonable measure—comport with the firm's stated "commitment to equality,” and/or the concept of "freedom" as seen on this year's Budweiser cans. The company declined to comment.
📬 Good post alert
🤝 Jack Hamilton on conspicuous consumption, commodification, and High Fidelity’s legacy
This week behind the paywall on The Fingers Podcast, I interviewed Jack Hamilton about conspicuous consumption, cultural commodification, and so much more. Jack is a bit of a polymath, and he wears a bunch of hats, though not in the toxic start-uppy sense of the term. He files regular dispatches as Slate’s pop critic and teaches as an associate professor of American Studies at the University of Virginia (wahoowa, et cetera.) He’s also the author of Just Around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination. This past spring, Jack went a little bit viral on Twitter with a post about a movie called High Fidelity, which came out in the year 2000. (It’s based on a 1995 novel by the same name written by Nick Hornby.) Here’s what he posted:
As someone who loved both the book and movie versions of High Fidelity, and covers the rapidly shifting cultural landscape of American craft beer, I was intrigued. So I slid into Jack’s DMs and invited him on The Fingers Podcast. The result was a really fun, thought-provoking episode that bridged the gap between two rich cultural disciplines—music and drinking—and explored the reasons some people organize their lives around their consumption patterns despite all the cost and anguish it entails.
Paying subscribers get access to this and every full-length interview on The Fingers Podcast. If you’d like to listen to it, and you haven’t yet, please buy a subscription today:
I depend on reader support to fund the boozeletter’s independent journalism. Thanks to all the paying Friends of Fingers who have stepped up to underwrite this work!
🧾 The Settle-Up
Don’t miss out, follow Fingers on Instagram today. It’s free and your feed will thank you. (Not really, that would be weird. But you know what I mean.)