« Money for Nothing | Main | Solidly In the Tank »

October 16, 2009

Friday Debate Question: Pepsi's Tasteless App

Dan Riehl thinks that only those "with no sense of humor and so much bottled up outrage just looking for something to come crashing down upon" find Pepsi's latest iPhone app offensive:

How the heck did the Sixties beget a culture with no sense of humor and so much bottled up outrage just looking for something to come crashing down upon? Talk about your unintended consequences. It's getting to be a crime to laugh at anything, though I suspect there wouldn't be an issue were the genders reversed here. Get over it, already. Geesh!

There are several things wrong with Dan's reasoning here. First of all, the stereotyping aspect of the app and the cheesy pickup lines don't bother me one whit. I agree that people are far too quick to take offense these days. People do fall into recognizable categories and there's nothing wrong with poking a little fun at our differences. Where I get off the bus is here:

The app then lets users add women - along with name, date of the conquest and comments - to the user's "brag list," which can be shared online on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Conservatives have a really nasty habit of fulminating about the horrors of feminism while absolving men of the very same irresponsible and selfish behaviors they deplore in women. Heaven forbid that men recognize that they are contributing to declining public morality:

I rarely hear anyone acknowledge that a man who behaved the way many men behave today would have been shunned by society when I was growing up. Men, too, are demanding that behaviors society has never approved of be not just legitimized but mainstreamed and approved of.

I would not want to have to raise a daughter in today's climate.

In what world has it ever been acceptable for young men to try and "score" with as many women as possible and then publish their names, the date of the interlude and graphic details of their conquest? Young men are not exactly known for their scrupulous honesty in this regard. They brag of screwing women who wouldn't give them the time of day with no regard for the effect on the woman's reputation. In a world where prospective employers conduct online searches as a part of the hiring process, having one's name and alleged sexual exploits plastered all over the Internet could have life changing consequences.

But hey - it's all just a big joke. At least it's funny if it happens to someone else's daughter. The hilarity might seem a bit less apparent when it strikes closer to home.

Perhaps this makes me a humorless individual just looking for things to be outraged over, but I expect more from men. If either of my sons had behaved that way, he would have been on restriction for the rest of his natural life and furthermore I'd have considered myself a complete failure as a parent.

I fail to see the humor in viewing women as notches on your belt and bragging about 'bagging' them online. Lovely standard Pepsi is setting for our kids, but I think the bar could be set a bit higher.

I've known Dan for years and he's a great guy. I'd like to think that this was the kind of drive-by comment all bloggers make from time to time when they're in a hurry. Grim nailed what is really going on here:

The reason we've got this kind of behavior going on is that we've created a society in which the rude are completely protected from any sort of reprisal.

It's exactly like the way that virtual communication leads to flaming: because you have removed the physical elements of the communication, there's nothing except personal character to stop people from flaring up emotionally at each other. This is a well-known phenomenon among bloggers, though it predates blogs, and has been observed since the beginning of internet communication.

The removal of the duel -- and the practice of filing criminal charges for assault every time a jerk gets a punch in the face -- has performed a similar transformation on non-virtual society. Neither Chris Matthews nor Keith Olbermann is the sort who would dare to speak that way in the presence of a man like Zell Miller if he were permitted the duel he wanted, even though Zell is spotting them both about fifty years.

Instead, modern society has made the good men powerless to do anything about the bad ones. You can point out that they are mannerless, cowardly puppies; but the more they get called names, the more attention they get, and the more money they make. They are actually rewarded for their bad behavior. Of course you're seeing more bad behavior as a result, and of course their model is being emulated by young people who witness it and see it being rewarded.

Like the internet flamer, they find that all restraints on their worst impulses have been removed. There is nothing to stop them from being abusive except their personal character. If they have any, it is clearly overwhelmed by the actual monetary rewards paid to them for generating controversy.

I can't help but wonder why any adult would think it's OK to post the details of sexual encounters online and even more importantly, why a major corporation is trying to mainstream this kind of behavior or lessen the stigma attached to sexual irresponsibility by saying to its critics, "Get over it. It's no big deal". And contrary to what Dan seems to think, I'd be equally offended if young women were being encouraged to brag about "scoring" with young men online. Wrong is wrong.

Though I'm not sure how outraged I am about this (more like disgusted), feel free to tell me what a reactionary, joyless prude I am in the comments section :p

Posted by Cassandra at October 16, 2009 08:26 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.villainouscompany.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/3232

Comments

*shakes head while recalling a time during which a gentleman would not boast of any amorous contacts with a young lady*

Bawdy in the abstract... yeah, no problem, but as you highlight

"The app then lets users add women - along with name, date of the conquest and comments - to the user's "brag list," which can be shared online on sites like Facebook and Twitter."
will have none but the personal injury attorneys laughing. All the way to the bank. And good for em.

And I might add, if I found a publication of a relative of mine on a social networking site under such circumstances... well, I think I'll hush now.

Posted by: bt_curmudgeon_hun at October 16, 2009 09:05 AM

Nail on the head in the explanations, I think.

In regards to the behavior and the sinking of character, I think the last points you highlighted strike me the most.

True, there is no WAY Olberman or Matthews would have said boo-squat rudely to or about Zell Miller previously. But now we raise our children with these idiotic zero tolerance rules and this establishes a pattern of pushing the envelope as far as it will go with no consequences. Because people are not allowed to hit back.

I'm a big fan of hitting back when it is appropriate. It teaches lessons on both sides. It also keeps behavior within acceptable boundaries. Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't raise my children to (nor do I myself) swagger around like an army of football hooligans, but standing up for oneself can certainly mean physically as well as in words.

How many dog trainers tell us not to smack the heck out of our canines if we discover poop in the house after the fact? The window of opportunity has passed, the dog has no idea why they're being smacked about poop already there.

Humans really aren't that much different in behavioral patterns - I learned that much training dogs and horses for many years. Immediate consequences teach the best lessons.

Teddy Roosevelt said it best, "Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft."

I also think it is interesting, and directly related due to the plethora of Zero Tolerance rules out there, that bullying has actually risen in the face of this effort to stop it.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and in an effort to save children from the horrendous effects of bullying, we've instead created a situation where bullies continue to push and people are not allowed to fight back. Character development becomes stunted. And we get Chris Matthews.

Posted by: airforcewife at October 16, 2009 09:38 AM

Haven't seen the add in question, but if it is as described, it is at best an affront to decency and honorable people. Just another example of the crumbling of society, which is sad.

Maybe we need to devolve back to cave living, which is what certain entities of the middle eastern persusion seem to think is a great way of life. 7th century living at its' best.

Got a civjob day off, so just lollygaggin today. Got my AD report day, and of course tears and fears from home 6. We'll manage tho....

For a bit of levity with some truthiness - on top of hopey-changeyness, try this item from PJM I copied from Malkin:

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/10/16/best-nobel-peace-prize-rap-ever/

Posted by: Kbob in Katy at October 16, 2009 10:06 AM

Because people are not allowed to hit back.

I agree. We like to say we live in an age so sophisticated we "have progressed to not having to use violence to solve our differences". But the fact is there are some things one can say for which the only appropriate response is a black eye (such as making a "joke" about statutory raping of your political enemy's daughter).

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 16, 2009 10:19 AM

I'd venture to guess that they're targeting the "younger set"...many of which would undoubtedly consider it "no big deal". Unfortunately, this is symptomatic of where our society lives nowadays...

Posted by: camojack at October 16, 2009 10:40 AM

If society stigmatized male promiscuity in the same way it does female promiscuity (or the reverse - if we applauded women for sleeping around the way we applaud men for doing so) I might be able to buy off on the "no big deal" argument.

But that's not true. Even kids call girls who sleep around, "sluts". Not so for boys.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 16, 2009 10:44 AM

These cowards run when confronted. They invariably have something to hide and fold like a cheap suit when held to account. I had a "chat" with a young lothario of the "Girls Gone Wild" generation a few years back. Seems he didn't know when to take "NO" for the final word on a matter of sexual conduct. She pointed the miscreant out to me as I drove her to school one day. She stayed in the car while I went over and had a word with him. I told him if I ever heard one word from anyone about his disrespect for women I would personally intervene in the matter. I then asked "Do I make myself clear and do you understand?" He meekly replied in the affirmative. His parents and the parents of the young lady were oblivious to his machinations as they tried to get the two together. The parents were friends.

I took the young lady's parents aside and said the relationship was a no-go and not to ask any questions unless they wanted the answer.

No more problems. Also, "cool" song lyrics from mainstream enteratainers sometimes mean exactly what they say, namely, that it is okay to regard females as sex objects and nothing else. Makes you wonder who writes this stuff? A bunch of pedophiles with no sense of decency?

Posted by: vet66 at October 16, 2009 10:52 AM

I guess I'm a humorless, reactionary prude, too.
Whatever.
It's a mantle I'll proudly wear, because I am raising a daughter in today's climate.
A *tweenage* daughter.
In Southern California.

I guess I should be glad my hair turned completely grey this last year.
0>:~}

Posted by: DL Sly at October 16, 2009 11:15 AM

Perhaps this makes me a humorless individual just looking for things to be outraged over, but I expect more from men.

From men, yes. However, this app targets those emotionally- and intellectually-arrested types whose development ceased at about age 15.

There *will* be braggarts posting the names of their supposed conquests online. The first defamation of character lawsuit -- and every succeeding one -- should name PepsiCo as a defendant.

How the heck did the Sixties beget a culture with no sense of humor and so much bottled up outrage just looking for something to come crashing down upon? Talk about your unintended consequences.

Well, considering the Sixties was a cluster of scattered fever swamps masquerading as the harbinger of Universal Coolth, it ain't surprising that the ones who didn't actually wallow in the sludge finally took exception to the posturing of those who did -- and who spawned the current crop of slimeballs.

Posted by: BillT at October 16, 2009 11:37 AM

Though I'm not sure how outraged I am about this (more like disgusted), feel free to tell me what a reactionary, joyless prude I am in the comments section :p

Well, I could say that you are a reactionary, joyless prude, but I was brought up that lying is a sin.

Having been born after the Sixties (barely) I can't speak to what caused the children raised then to be so humorless. My parents were raised in the Forties, and were roughly the same age as my contemporary's grandparents. And I think I have a fine sense of humor.

But Cass, there's nothing wrong with your analysis. At all. As I read the article, I had the same reactions as you. There was no problem with the app giving "lines" to use on girls (I've yet to meet a woman who did anything but laugh at a "line"), but when I hit the part about the "bragging", they lost me. What ever happened to "a gentleman does not kiss and tell"? Did I miss something? Obviously I know the answers there, but it still bothers me. So you're no prude Cass. The inmates just run the asylum these days.

Posted by: MikeD at October 16, 2009 12:37 PM

It's wrong to kiss and tell, even to close and trusted friends. To publish such things on the internet is despicable.

Posted by: Grim at October 16, 2009 12:40 PM

Cass, I completely agree.

As to the humorlessness, this goes hat-in-hand with Communism. Can you paint a less jolly picture than a portrait of a People's Commissar? Would a jolly, light-hearted group slaughter tens of millions of their own people in the Soviet Union and Communist China, respectively?

As to violence, the simple truth is that it solves EVERYTHING, pacifist wishes notwithstanding. I have often said, after watching boys and girls interact with their own gender, that girls are far nastier to each other than boys ever would be. The simple reason for this is that boys understand that there are limits and lines which should not be crossed lightly. If a boy crosses such a line and pushes to far, the response from another boy will be violent and the fight is on. Girls, without having to deal with immediate and violent consequences, will go to real extremes of nastiness with each other. A pop in the mouth teaches a boy that there are consequences to extreme taunting or provocation.

As men, in times past, duelling served the same purpose. One simply could not act outrageously without literally putting his life on the line. Thus, men either learned self-control or wound up dead sooner or later. Either way, polite standards of conduct were maintained. It is no coincidence that honorable conduct diminished as personal responsibility for the maintenance of one's own honor and reputation gave way to govt and collective responsibility for same.

Posted by: a former european at October 16, 2009 01:06 PM

afe:

I think that is a very good analysis in regards to girls and boys. And so now, we have people telling us to raise our boys like girls... Like I said, Chris Matthews.

Also, interesting connection to dueling. While I don't advocate a return to Code Duello, I hadn't thought about it that way.

Posted by: airforcewife at October 16, 2009 01:12 PM

One simply could not act outrageously without literally putting his life on the line. Thus, men either learned self-control or wound up dead sooner or later.

My understanding was that a duel rarely actually resulted in death. The simple fact that the man appeared on "The Field of Honor" and took his chances was considered satisfaction enough and often shots went into the ground next to the other person's feet.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 16, 2009 01:29 PM

I think the 'consequences' thing is important.

I will admit that when I was just a rosy-cheeked Editorial Staff, I used to sneak out of the house in outfits my Dad would never have tolerated. I'd have a halter top under my demure blouse and high heels in my purse to be donned the moment Dad vanished from my rear view mirror.

Given that I have never been as well endowed as Ms. McCain, I was particularly proud of my legs and my torso. Those my age will remember hip huggers, short cutoffs, and tied up shirts - our generation's equivalent of the low cut blouse.

Handling boys was never a huge problem for me. For some reason I was usually treated very respectfully. But I got a nasty shock one night in HS when a very persistent fellow grew way too enamored of the tie on the back of my halter top and my date (and future husband) nearly put him through the nearest wall.

I'd never had any problem protecting myself, but from that point on the fear of entangling him in a fight taught me to be a bit more circumspect in my attire when in public. The groovy braless look was suddenly out, out, out ;p

Kids :p We live and learn (and usually not b/c of anything our parents tell us, but when reality smacks us with the 2x4 of Life, their prior warnings do tend to seem much wiser all of a sudden...)

Heh.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 16, 2009 01:30 PM

Also, "cool" song lyrics from mainstream enteratainers sometimes mean exactly what they say, namely, that it is okay to regard females as sex objects and nothing else. Makes you wonder who writes this stuff? A bunch of pedophiles with no sense of decency?

Posted by: vet66 at October 16, 2009 10:52 AM

Yes, actually.

What else do you call 30-50 year old men who want to "bag" 16 year olds?

Posted by: Foxfier at October 16, 2009 01:41 PM

Roman Polanski?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 16, 2009 01:44 PM

LEAVE ROMAN POLANSKI ALOOOOOOOONE!!!!

HE'S A HUMAN!

Posted by: Whoopie Goldberg at October 16, 2009 01:49 PM

But I got a nasty shock one night in HS when a very persistent fellow grew way too enamored of the tie on the back of my halter top and my date (and future husband) nearly put him through the nearest wall.

One, good for your young man (future husband). And two, such a reaction could get him arrested today. And the world is worse for it.

Posted by: MikeD at October 16, 2009 02:10 PM

And so now, we have people telling us to raise our boys like girls... Like I said, Chris Matthews.

Huh. I read that at first glance as

And so now, we have people telling us to raise our boys like girls... Like Chris Matthews.

I didn't find that jarring, which either says something about me or about Matthews...

Posted by: BillT at October 16, 2009 02:15 PM

One, good for your young man (future husband).

Yeah. You know, I never dreamed of a knight in shining armor. I never wanted anyone to fight my battles for me.

It took lot of living and growing up (with the attendant humility life doles out) to appreciate the worth of having someone there who would defend me to the death, no matter what.

FWIW, the guy was pretty harmless. He was just bugging me b/c he'd had too much to drink. But he also was aware that my boyfriend was there. So I didn't feel terribly sorry for him when the hammer finally came down. Mostly, I blamed myself for being an idiot (not that I was dressed any differently from anyone else at the party, but still there it is).

Posted by: Cassandra at October 16, 2009 02:23 PM

Pepsi's lack of class is simply stunning. It is a shame one must go to Key West in order to hang out with people who know how to behave like civilized people in public.

Posted by: man riding unicycle naked at October 16, 2009 03:12 PM

FWIW, the guy was pretty harmless. He was just bugging me b/c he'd had too much to drink. But he also was aware that my boyfriend was there. So I didn't feel terribly sorry for him when the hammer finally came down. Mostly, I blamed myself for being an idiot (not that I was dressed any differently from anyone else at the party, but still there it is).

No one is responsible for the idiot's actions but the idiot. I know it's not always easy to not blame yourself when something bad happens, but seriously, thinking your manner of dress made him act the fool is a short step away from the vile "she was asking for it, look how short her skirt was."

And I KNOW you don't believe that. Young men are completely capable of being the sole cause of their own stupidity. And as an added dimension, if he know the beau was there as well, then what he did was more than get grabby with you (the primary offense) he outright challenged your gentleman to do something about it. And rational or not, that's more than most young men can bear. I had an airman try it on my girlfriend (now wife) when we were out with our friends, and I told them to remove him or I would be forced to do it less politely.

Posted by: MikeD at October 16, 2009 03:45 PM

This is another good reason not to consume Pepsi.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 16, 2009 04:01 PM

It is a shame one must go to Key West in order to hang out with people who know how to behave like civilized people in public.

I am not sure how to take this from a man who rides a unicycle nekkid :p

Posted by: Cassandra at October 16, 2009 05:12 PM

Yu-ain: You are correct that duels were often NOT fought to the death. Really, though, it depended upon the level of provocation and animosity. This is another reason men were cautious about undertaking truly outrageous behavior -- it might very well lead to a duel to the death. For minor disputes, or where tempers had cooled, first blood was sufficient to satisfy honor. Sincere apologies also worked to eliminate offense. Nevertheless, even when a duel was not to the death, accidents could and did occur. In the era of smoothbore firearms, accuracy was so poor that a killing shot could occur even where none was intended. Therefore, one always knew that entering a field of honor had a more than small likelihood that you would not survive to exit.

Posted by: a former european at October 16, 2009 09:24 PM

I view this app the same way that HR does Twitter and Facebook --an efficient way to weed out undesireables.

Posted by: H G Stevenson at October 17, 2009 12:29 AM

This is another good reason not to consume Pepsi.

I hadn't realized that there was more than one, but you're right.

In the era of smoothbore firearms, accuracy was so poor that a killing shot could occur even where none was intended.

An the converse is also true. There are many accounts of duels where neither party was injured, and that was taken to mean that honor had been satisfied -- both parties shook hands and walked away, both vindicated and relieved. There are also accounts of two duelists who were so set on death as expiation that they reloaded and continued until one participant was killed.

Posted by: BillT at October 17, 2009 05:52 AM

If society stigmatized male promiscuity in the same way it does female promiscuity (or the reverse - if we applauded women for sleeping around the way we applaud men for doing so) I might be able to buy off on the "no big deal" argument.
But that's not true. Even kids call girls who sleep around, "sluts". Not so for boys.
Posted by: Cassandra at October 16, 2009 10:44 AM

That's why I said many of which would undoubtedly consider it "no big deal"; I've heard lots of girls talking about "hooking up" (euphemistically speaking) in just that way: no big deal. While there may indeed still be some kids that call girls who sleep around sluts, it is by no means universally true.

Maybe you just need to get out more? ;-)

Posted by: camojack at October 17, 2009 09:23 AM

I think things were better when there was some widespread condemnation of promiscuity. I think there was less of it, and that was to society's advantage. We need to move back in that direction, not the direction we're currently headed.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at October 17, 2009 10:57 AM

Posted by: camojack at October 17, 2009 09:23 AM

Sadly, I can vouch you're more likely to be harassed for *not* sleeping around-- even if it's only found out after a great deal of asking by your harassers-- than if you sleep with every guy in your class.

Posted by: Foxfier at October 17, 2009 11:59 AM

As with everything *en vogue* for teenagers, (ie, platform shoes and big wing collars in the latter '70's, 'Hammer' pants and fade haircuts in the '80's, etc.) in five years these kids will be asking themselves, "WTF was I thinking!?" Only this *fad* will have negative repercussions far beyond what's hanging in the back of their closet or the 'Everybody's Doing It' moment. It's an unfortunate and brutally hard lesson that some kids will have to learn. That's why enrollment for the School of Hard Knocks is never *down*.
Doesn't absolve Pepsi from playing to the more baser instincts just for profit, though. Kids have more than enough temptation in this day and age already.

Posted by: DL Sly at October 17, 2009 01:13 PM

Hmm. Here's a site that might shed some light on why the seeming 'double-standard' on male and female promiscuity...

http://no-maam.blogspot.com/2008/02/questionators-should-women-have-right.html

Whether anybody actually buys the explanation as given or not is of course a completely different story. To some degree, I can see what the man's driving at... but I also note that adultery and fornication is equally frowned upon in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, regardless of who's actually doing it male or female.

And as for whether people back in the 'good old days' had better manners... a couple of names come to mind. Casanova, for one. Rabelais, for another. Sure, they were seen as libertines, and most decent people won't want to be associated with them... but then again, they hobnobbed with the mighty of the day, and there's a reason their names are still well-known today.

Human nature remains human nature, regardless of geographical or temporal location. Catherine the Great was slandered and libelled as having died as a result of intercourse with a horse. One of the French Kings back in the day was well-known for his mignons (little boyfriends). Waaaayyyyy back in Solomonic times, good ol' wise King Solomon himself was outed for having wives in the hundreds and concubines in the thousands. More for them being foreigners who worshipped other gods, to be sure, but it's there in black and white.

Not saying that these were brags, per se, but it was out there.

Posted by: Gregory at October 18, 2009 11:28 PM

Ever wonder why women tend to all think the same way and why they desire big, Socialist government over individualism and freedom? Ever wonder why women will stick up for another woman even when they know that woman is obviously in the wrong? It’s because of their allegiance to the herd. The herd comes first. Now you know.

*rolling eyes*

The sad thing is that I'm sure there are lots of men who agree with this guy.

Somewhere, in a universe far, far away, thousands of Straw Men suddenly cried out in agony... and were stilled :p

Posted by: Cassandra at October 18, 2009 11:36 PM

I agree, Greg, that there have always been those who refuse to bow to conventional morality.

I think the difference is that they always understood that there was a price to be paid. The standard was still there regardless of whether they followed it or not.

I don't even think there's much of a standard anymore. I don't have too much of a problem with those who make a conscious choice to do what they want and pay the price. What bothers me is the notion that society has no business supporting stable families and ostracizing people who cause a lot of problems. If it's worth it to them, they can certainly do as they please.

And I think others should be free to disapprove if they find the behavior objectionable.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 18, 2009 11:44 PM

Well, Cass, if he has substituted the term 'lefty' or 'liberal' I'd have agreed without hesitation, you know...

And I'm really not sure what penalty that French King suffered (other than being laughed at)... or for that matter, Casanova himself. I mean, look at the way we use his name nowadays. It's seldom said with more than a hint of disapproval (and some sneaking admiration)

Posted by: Gregory at October 19, 2009 02:21 AM

Ever wonder why women tend to all think the same way and why they desire big, Socialist government over individualism and freedom? Ever wonder why women will stick up for another woman even when they know that woman is obviously in the wrong? Etc...

Nope. What *I* wonder is, "Does this guy even *know* more than two women?" -- 'cuz I know a *lot* of women, and they're more apt to *pounce* on a woman they know is in the wrong than *flounce* at a man who'd suggest it.

Posted by: BillT at October 19, 2009 05:55 AM

Therefore, one always knew that entering a field of honor had a more than small likelihood that you would not survive to exit.

Right, and that's where I was going. It often wasn't to the death... but it *might*. You just never knew. That's why a non-lethal result was still considered satisfactory. One was willing to stake their life on it and take their chances.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 19, 2009 11:34 AM

Post a comment

To reduce comment spam, comments on older posts are put into moderation 5 days after the last activity. Comments with more than one link also go into moderation. If you don't see your comment after posting it, try refreshing the screen. If you still don't see it, your comment is probably in the moderation queue.




Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)