In one of the biggest non-stories of the year, President Obama met yesterday with the principals in the soon-to-be-forgotten but currently-notorious, racially-charged, violently overblown incident up in Cambridge, in which a black Harvard professor was arrested for disorderly conduct after allegedly breaking into his own home after a trip abroad, and not reacting well when the police were called in. Our usually well-spoken Chief Executive, remarking that the police had acted “stupidly” in the affair, found himself promptly tasting shoe leather, and hastily invited Professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley to the White House to discuss the matter “over a beer,” and perhaps turn bad PR into good PR by creating a “teaching moment” for the Nation. In other words: desperate spin control.
The resulting “Beer Summit,” covered in exhaustively shallow detail by the national media, was frought with symbolism, intentional and otherwise. As a so-called Beer Expert, I feel the need to step in as an analyst, and help you decipher the Story behind the story. Because while the event may have been nothing more than a feel-good photo-op, the beer selections of the participants say a lot about race and class in this country, and the perceptions of our perceptions about race and class. So let’s take a look at exactly which beers were called in to grace the nation’s highest picnic table on that fateful afternoon…
President Obama’s beer choice: Bud Light. The message: “I don’t really like beer, but I don’t want to come off as an elitist, wine-drinking douche, so I’ll order the best-known brand in America and hope I poll as a regular Joe, albeit watching his weight.” The sub-subtext: “I’m still paying for that ‘guns-and-religion’ comment in the PA primary, and I’m going to need Joe Sixpack on my side to get Health Care passed.” Beeradvocate.com’s review of Bud Light: C (mediocre).
Professor Gates’s beer choice: Red Stripe. The message: “What did you expect, malt liquor? You did, didn’t you, you damned racist. You think just because I’m African-American I’m going to go for the forty?” The sub-subtext: “I wish I was in Jamaica.” Beeradvocate.com’s review of Red Stripe: C (mediocre).
Sergeant Crowley’s beer choice: Blue Moon. The message: “Beer is beer, but I don’t want to come off as some ignorant blue-collar douche by drinking Bud Light, so I’ll order a Belgian Coors and hope it doesn’t taste like ass.” The sub-subtext: F#@k these f#*cking politicians and their f^*king photo ops, and f%^k that ni%^ah egghead motherf#$kah who got me into this mess. If I’ve got to go through with this f#@king charade I’m ordering off the top shelf , f#@k you very much.” Beeradvocate.com’s review of Blue Moon: B- (worthy).
But wait! There’s more! Washington’s emerging expert on saying stupid shit and having to eat it later, Vice President Joe Biden, heard they were passing out free malt beverages on the South Lawn and crashed the party. The veep’s choice: Buckler, a non-alcoholic brew. The message: “I am an alcoholic.” The sub-subtext: “I am a f%&king alcoholic.” Beeradvocate.com’s review of Buckler: C (mediocre).
That’s it, everybody go home now and have a real beer. Nothing to see here, move along…