Well, shit’s looking good. 7-11 is getting into beer. They’re making a beer called “game day” which is cool. Here’s why: Game Day is being brewed at the City Brewery up in LaCrosse Wisconsin which used to be the Heileman Brewery that was responsible for so many great local brews including Old Style, Black Label, National Bohemian, Ranier, Olympia and of course, later, with the subsequent repurchasing of the brewery by local interests (after miller disgraced all these venerable beers by saving the packaging and putting a new gross beer inside) they brought out LaCrosse lager which is, in fact, the original Old Style recipe. That’s right folks! LaCrosse Lager was the same stuff that my friends and I used to get bums to buy us when we were out for a night on the town when we were in highschool. Of course, back then it was still called Old Style, and didn’t taste like the Old Style that exists today. Is this confusing? It shouldn’t be.
I understand though. there’s a certain kind of expectation that’s really a new phenomenon here in the brave new world of global capital driven colonialism and that’s the expectation of, nay, right to familiarity at all costs based on packaging.
Here’s what I mean: Not long ago, like when your parents were kids even, KFC for example franchised by sending out a packet of ingredients and a recipe to whoever wanted it. They sent em a sign and that was the whole thing. The chicken was prepared with these spices and sold under this sign but the idea that it would be the same wherever the sign was was absurd. There were too many x factors: The chickens, the kitchens, the people cooking the shit, the weather etc. It just wasn’t expected. There was this reasonable belief that things could and would be different wherever you went and while sometimes that made for a pretty bad cheeseburger in Holland (they still do it pretty weird, just by the way) generally it was seen as not just an inevitability but also an interesting insight into the way the world functions differently in different locales.
Well, of course McDonalds changed all that with assembly line production and factory and farm exclusivity and all that kind of nonsense and these days the burgers in the Burger King in Tokyo are the same. Oh sure, they have different items in the US and Japanese franchises, but you get the idea. Shit’s the same. Although, coke in England is made with sugar, not corn syrup and the results are palpable. Same goes for the ketchup. That shit’s sweeter over there, or at least sweet in a different way, but you get the idea. Generally, the shit’s the same. WAY more similar than it used to be. No one familiar with the fare is gonna walk into a mcdonalds anywhere on the earth and be shocked by the taste of the cheeseburger.
Now, of course there are great exceptions to this, like the difference between the taco bell in, say, rural Indiana (Chesterton has the BEST fast food service I’ve ever encountered) and oh, I don’t know, south St. Louis, where shit’s been sitting under those lamps since the morning and well, it’s gnarly and if you ask about maybe getting something edible they look at you like your face is leaking semen. That’s just how it goes though. Much in the same way one guy on the Denver Broncos can tackle the shit out of you and another guy can’t. Different team members, different weaknesses and strengths. Jesus Christ, what are we even talking about here?
Here’s what I’m talking about, folks! These assholes are changing up the beer inside the cans and leaving the cans the same and it’s a total mind fuck. The logic is that we’re too stupid to realize it, and for the most part, we are. I mean, fuck. It’s just cheap beer, being funneled into sloppy fat drunks, right? What’s the problem?
Well, they’ve got a point there…so uh, what am I saying over here? Oh, that’s right! 711 is making beer and it’s coming from a place that used to make some really great beers, so that could be cool. Except that now they make Arizona iced tea and shit at that brewery, so maybe it’s lame. Look, I don’t fucking know. Let’s leave this discussion with the following things in mind:
- Don’t eat fast food when you travel unless A) your only other choice is a gas station sandwich or nothing or B) you’re desperately disappointed by everything you’ve eaten since you’ve been wherever you are. Here’s why: You’re missing out on a huge part of the cultural experience. After pornography, there’s no better way to see the intimate details of what locals are into than by eating their food. The American guy in Athens at the McDonalds is the saddest man on the earth (to other people. Sadly, to himself he’s thinking “man, I hope they do 20 piece McNuggets here. I’m so fucking sick of dolmas.”
- You probably don’t need to shop at 711 either, but hey, whatever you’re into. Lord knows when I want a Juggs magazine and a slurpee and a pint of jim beam and a string cheese it saves me a few trips.
- The times are changing folks. I tried to get my kid a unique gift from Wales just recently and there was nothing in the toy store that I couldn’t get here. Globalization’s comforts are more than just ways to keep travelers on a familiar ground. It’s also a great way to get all sorts of stuff that you’d never otherwise be able to get right in your home town (like, for example, Lawrence Arms records! Right? Of course). The downside is, there’s not a lot of uniquely cool stuff in the stores anymore. It’s all familiar. That’s because I’ve got great choices at home, but still. The end result is that if you live in Bloomington, you could travel to Chicago to get about 80% of the same shit you could get if you traveled to London for a shopping trip. That don’t seem right somehow, but I guess it’s cool. I don’t know. Fuck.
Okay, that’s all. I gotta go hopefully have three big meetings and do a small film shoot today, so I’m fucking out of here. Later, assholes.