Sunday, October 31, 2010

You're Not Really Offended

In another example of a company caving into allegedly "offending" a consumer (or potential consumer, I guess), we have a brewing company being informed by some overly sensitive individuals that their label was offensive and contained am image that should not be tolerated in our society anymore. Note: The person was a Wiccan astrologist and "healer". (Translation: She fancies herself a witch.) Side note: The image on the beer bottle was of a "witch" being burned at the stake. Wait. What now?

Correct. According to the delicious folks over there at
Slashfood, the Port Brewing Company concocts a "...wheat beer, spiced with grapefruit zest, orange peel and coriander" called Lost Abbey Witch's Wit. Yummy. But it wasn't the deliciousness of the beverage that sparked the outrage of a one Vicki Noble. She is the aforementioned "witch" from the paragraph above. She saw the label on the bottle and flew off the proverbial broomstick handle! (That means she wrote a strongly worded email to the company.) Behold! Said label!

Huh. Cool. Kinda creepy. Good for Halloween sales, I would imagine. Sadly, capitalism isn't the focus of this tale. No, it's that there was a drawing of a person seemingly being burned at the stake with throngs of onlookers gathered 'round. THAT was the nugget of contention that Ms. Noble had with the beer. In her email she wrote: "Can you imagine them showing a black person being lynched or a Jewish person going to the oven?...Such images are simply not tolerated in our society anymore (thank the Goddess) and this one should not be, either." Oh, for cryin' out loud.

You know what the difference is between showing a black person being lynched or a Jewish person "going to the oven" and the depiction of someone being burned at the stake? The difference is that the first two might stir up some outrage because they actually happened. Witches being burned at the stake did not happen! You'd think that someone who claimed herself to be a witch would know that.

Are we really supposed to allow fake outrage at something that is allegedly offensive when it isn't even real? First of all, it's a drawing. It's not like there was a really nice color photo taken at the fiery event that was plastered on the bottle there. No, someone drew that. Second of all, witches that were tried during the Salem witch trials (which is what I'm assuming that she is wrongly referring to with all of her misplaced outrage) were generally hanged. I think that there were only around sixteen of them (not the gazillions like people have been led to believe) and they weren't burned at the stake. They were hanged. And finally, witches aren't real! Good Lord.

But what do you think the Port Brewing Company, of which Lost Abbey is a division, did? You got it. Instead of saying, "Tough witches teats" they instead will "...spend thousands of dollars to change the label." ::: sigh ::: What is wrong with you people?

Why would you do that? According to the article, a one brewery spokesman, a one Sage Osterfeld, said that "complaints flooded the brewery, accusing Port Brewing Company...of "inspiring violence against women. . . . We have been compared to the violence in Darfur." Oh, for Christ's sake! Are they burning people at the stake in Darfur? No? Then that's not a very good comparison then, is it? And it isn't crap like the labels on beer bottles that inspires violence against women. There are plenty of things that do inspire violence of all sorts, but I'm going to stick my neck out and say that beer bottle labels are NOT one of them. And I'd really like to know how many complaints "flooded the brewery". Ten? Regardless, if these people weren't loyal consumers of your brand, who gives a fat rat's ass? They can complain all they want; it's not like it's going to hurt sales or anything.

Port Brewing Company, I am deeply saddened by your actions. There is no reason why you should have had to change your awesome label. Why couldn't you have just told those who were all fake outraged that you were sorry? What did you think was going to happen if you didn't change the label? Were you afraid that they would cast a spell upon you? Psst! I'm going to let you in on a little secret. That doesn't work!

It's a shame, Port Brewing Company. Had I heard about this and heard that you did not cave in to fake outrage over a non-existent issue, I would have been tempted to go out and buy up your wonderful beverage by the truckload. But now? Now, not so much. Now I just see you as another cowardly company (not that I had ever heard of your before today, mind you, but I'm just saying) who would rather give power to the undeserving rather than stand up for what is right. I won't be buying any of your beverages in the future. Do you think that changing your label is going to make all of those "witches" flock to buy your product? I think not. Good choice, though. Reeeaaaalllly good choice.

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Dafydd said...

Actually, there were witches burnt at the stake, just not in Salem. England and its colonies usually just hung convicted "witches", but on the Continent, particularly in Germany, covicted witches were burnt, although they were usually garrotted before hand. A few were burnt alive though.

Scott Jacobs said...

Happened in Spain, too, during the Inquisition.

Anonymous said...

Visited the brewery yesterday. They are out of the beer but customers have told them not to change the label and support their artistic vision.

Seems that is the direction they will go.