Bud Light Is Now the "Date Rape Beer," Say People Willing To Overreact To Literally Anything

A series of Bud Light bottles, as part of the beer's #UpForWhatever campaign, features a tagline that reads, "The perfect beer for removing 'no' from your vocabulary for the night." Guess what the response has been.
Avatar:
Chez Pazienza
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
110
A series of Bud Light bottles, as part of the beer's #UpForWhatever campaign, features a tagline that reads, "The perfect beer for removing 'no' from your vocabulary for the night." Guess what the response has been.
Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 3.02.17 PM

When I first began noticing and writing about the growing trend toward quick-fire online outrage a few years ago, I honestly figured that at some point it would become nothing more than another phenomenon of the digital age that plateaued and tapered off. It seemed logical to assume that eventually, with the myriad real dangers and challenges facing Americans who believe in equality and justice these days, the desperate need to go looking for things to be offended by -- and to call out every little perceived slight -- would fade away as smarter heads prevailed. It was almost impossible to process the notion that this great, relatively new technology at our disposal would allow for the rise of a generation defined by everything its individual niches felt personally victimized by. I make the joke a lot about how "problematic" issues are what people who don't have any real "problems" in their lives find to complain about, but somewhere along the line that joke became less and less funny.

Which brings us to today -- and the thing you're supposed to be very indignant over right now at this very moment until the next thing inevitably comes along. It's Bud Light. Not Bud Light beer, per se, which many would argue you should always be upset about because it tastes like toilet water that's been pissed into by somebody who's been drinking toilet water all day, but Bud Light's most recent advertising campaign, "#UpForWhatever."

A "sharp-eyed Reddit user," as The Washington Post dubs him or her, came across a Bud Light bottle which not only features the familiar hashtag on the label but which also has a tagline reading, "The perfect beer for removing 'no' from your vocabulary for the night." Now considering that the series of hugely popular ads behind this campaign have depicted groups of people of various genders, races and ethnicities drinking Bud Light and then agreeing to take part in a life-sized game of Pac Man or to take over an entire town just to throw a giant party, you'd figure the point here -- about Bud Light being part of an adventurous and memorable evening -- was obvious. But this is 2015, which means there's literally nothing that can be said, by anyone, that can't immediately have the most horrifically nefarious subtext attached to it by some assholes on the internet.

And so you get this: "Bud Light Earns Rep as 'Date Rape Beer.'" You get Bud Light beer's innocuous "removing 'no,'" line becoming "a slogan that promotes rape culture." You get Twitter exploding into an orgiastic outrage-gasm, with the #UpForWhatever hashtag being turned against Bud Light, accompanied by tweets like, "The perfect beer for a great night out with friends & maybe just raping some chick because we don't acknowledge the word no." You get a story at Jezebel that begins, with characteristic subtlety, "Oh hell yeah, my sluts. Very tight. Love to just remove 'no' from the old vocab." You, of course, get the Vice-President for Bud Light of Anheuser-Busch, having to say, "It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it," in an apology not for how the advertisement was conceived and written but for how it could be perceived by people trained to see threats and offenses everywhere.

Given that there was no way Bud Light intentionally meant to imply that its beer should be used in the commission of rape, exactly what was the danger inherent in this thing? What was the potential risk that needed to be addressed immediately by the internet legion? If it was that somebody was going to read this and change his mind about whether to not sexually assault someone or prevent someone who was sexually assaulted from coming forward because Bud Light said she was fair game -- because "no" was removed from the equation -- the directive to be gleaned from a Bud Light label is the least of the problems here. Sure, you can make the argument that it was just tone-deaf given that beer and date rape are inextricably linked -- as some have said, the slogan brings "new meaning to the term Epic Fail" -- but again, if you believe that Bud Light was actually trying to hint that #UpForAnything meant "up for rape" or that potential rapists need an official okay from their beer to proceed with being despicable, you're fucking nuts.

"The perfect beer for removing 'no' from your vocabulary for the night" is a pretty innocent turn of a phrase, especially considering the context provided by the larger #UpForAnything campaign of which it's merely a small part. It's only ugly to those poor, joyless souls who've honed their ability to perceive transgressions against their personal orthodoxies to a knife's edge. I've said it before but it bears repeating: There used to be a time when those who fought for progressive ideals and justice-for-all could go toe-to-toe with the most powerful opponent anyone could align against them. Now even a minor perceived slight is enough to send the new model of feminist and social justice activists scampering to Twitter in an attempt to make the bad words go away and bring about the idyllic on-demand world they've been promised since birth.

Yeah, in the great scheme of things a little anger over a Bud Light ad campaign is a trivial thing to address, particularly when there are so many other bigger problems in the world. But then, you could say the same thing about the Bud Light ad campaign itself.