The Third Annual "Be Like Mike (Wilbon) Month of April."
Since Wilbon revealed on the show that he doesn't drink, we've decided to dedicate our annual drying-up period (A.K.A. April) to him. Now, I don't know if Mike quit drinking because he was one of those black-out drunks who woke up behind dumpsters every weekend, or if he simply doesn't like the sauce, but whatever his situation, Drew and I join him arm-in-arm this month merely to prove what we've been saying all along, "We can quit anytime we want."
Let me first say, we are in not teetotalers by any stretch of the imagination. We've both enjoyed a long, fun-filled relationship with libations that's, for the most part, been free of regrets. We've drank, made fools of ourselves in public, gotten thrown off commuter trains, had lots of laughs, and all without any D.U.I.'s, street fights, unwanted pregnancies, or hospital trips for alcohol poisoning. This is in no way a judgment of people's choice to imbibe responsibly.
Got it? Okay.
Now, regardless of what anyone tells you, April is the most meaningless sports month of the year. I've heard people say it's February (yeah, maybe there is a little post-SuperBowl depression going on there), but that's when college basketball really starts to pick up. The actual Final Four games are the only true sports casualty to drying up in April. Still, if you're like me, the first four days of the tournament are the alcoholic endurance tests. After this Monday, all that's left is meaningless first-month-of-the-season baseball, and the NBA playoff race for the 8th spot, and the opportunity to get smeared by Phoenix or Miami.
Although there's a multitude of reasons to undertake such punishment (health, money, industriousness, further blog entries, etc.), I'm going to take the pretentious self-righteous route and say I'm protesting years of dumb beer advertisements during sporting events. If you go to any professional sports event, it's obvious how interwoven the relationship between the leagues and beer companies are. Indeed, beer is to sports what foreign oil is to America. If you're sick of either one, the only thing you can do is cut down on your consumption.
Even though my advertising friends say the campaigns merely reflect their target audience, I refuse, as a sports fan, to be lumped in with a gaggle of delusional brain-dead slobs. For every one decent, mildly funny beer commercial, there are 6 that promote the idea that if you just keep drinking beer, you'll soon be frolicking on the beach with leggy German swimsuit models, all helpless against the charm that comes along with downing eight beers.
-Wait, maybe I have that wrong. Maybe the commercials are saying, it's not you who drinks the 12 pack, it's the women displayed therein. That actually would make more sense, since no attractive woman in her right mind would ever glance your way after all the cheese dogs and Budweiser balls you sucked down at halftime. -It's clear you're going to have to get them drunk to have any chance whatsoever. Even if that's the case, it's an even creepier, date-rape message than the simple myth of super-model sexuality.
Even Miller's "Prevent Taste Loss" series of commercials were mildly funny to start, but at this point, that joke's been run into the ground like an oil tanker with a drunken captain. As amusing as those are, isn't it at least a little ridiculous they're making fun of drug commercials that also saturate the airwaves of sports telecasts? -As if anyone who watched sports would never take drugs for depression, erectile dysfunction, and baldness! All those companies must be going under after such misplaced advertisements!
I once saw a comedian who said he hates it when the premise of a joke is inherently flawed to begin with. Example: "'I walk into a bakery and see sugar-free cookies. What's that all about?! Who's that for?!' -It's for diabetics, you idiot!" In the same way, the inherent assumptions and premises of beer commercials are so absurd and delusional, they have to hire million dollar advertisement firms, who employ beaten-down and self-loathing (but now rich) comics, to mask their flawed assertions with humor.
For example, it's generally accepted by beer enthusiasts around the world and the Pacific Northwest that American beer is like what Monty Python called "Making love in a canoe. -Fucking close to water." Even foreign beers popular in America like Foster's and Beck's are considered watered up swill in their home countries. So, the aforementioned "Fight Taste Loss" Miller commercials are funny, but Miller, along with their major American counterparts, is incredibly bland-tasting. "Yes, I suffer from taste loss so, obviously, my only hope is to drink beer that tastes like a liquid carpet sample." -Notice the magic of humorous misdirection!
How 'bout the one where the New York hipster rock band won't hire a kick-ass guitarist because he doesn't drink Heineken? -That's so life-like, because, as we all know, it's important to retain your Dutch street-cred when you're opening up for Max Creek at the Wetlands.
I could go on and on here, but let's just skip to the coup de grâce commercial for all sanity, the absolute worst floater in an ocean of shit, the Coors Light "Twins" commercial. Not only is that terrible by itself, but it pained (but didn't surprise) me when ESPN adopted it as their football highlight lead-in music. Nothing gets me reaching for the remote faster.
All the above commercials operate under one false assumption or another, but clearly the most prevalent myth in beer commercials is that of sexuality. It only takes rudimentary powers of perception to realize the pathetic truth these commercials seek to help people escape from. Let's set aside the brutish nature of crude simpletons so teaming with fear that they adopt a 24-hour tough-guy persona. Carrying around such a profound sense of inadequacy can quickly lead to shunning anything resembling intellect, complexity, sensitivity and finesse in favor of power, classic rock, and fictitious sexual conquest. Regardless of the product, there's a lot of baggage that comes along with being a washed-up couch slob who beats off at halftime while listening to Kid Rock.
If you think I'm being too critical or dissecting this too much, you may be right. But try this the next time that "Twins" commercial comes on: Recognize that, not only is the myth of sexuality being promised, but in classic gluttonous fashion, the producers suggest that having 2 of the same sex slaves (not 2 different sexy women, but 2 sisters), is even better. Pleasuring not only each other, these two siblings will also be subjected to sexual humiliation at the chicken wings-stained hands of a slob who's only ever excelled at growing back-hair.
If you're still not convinced that that's fucked, ask yourself, "Would I, in turn, do the same for the pleasure of a female Coors Light drinker?" -Because that would only be fair, right? If you expect two sisters to get together for your pleasure, you should be prepared to orally take your own brother's member while some Jabba the Hutt-looking Madame drools Coors Light onto the back of your head. 'Sound like fun?
'Come to think of it, maybe a month of abstinence isn't so bad for the old perspective.