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maryann johanson | #BlackLivesMatter

Brawndo: it’s what idiots crave

I swear to God I want to leave this planet sometimes. I’ve had to give up on The Onion because it can’t keep pace with reality. I saw a commercial on TV the other night for some new SUV — I wish I could remember what it was, but honestly, I wanted it out of my head instantly — that should have been called the Canyonero, it was so obscene, both the vehicle and its marketing: the selling point was, basically, “It’s freakin’ huge!” And then there was the ad for the bread-and-circuses travesty American Idol that was all “These are the three words that changed America!” and of course I can’t remember what the words were because my head was exploding, but the idea was that this stupid remake of The Gong Show was the height of American civilization. I thought, Words that changed America? How about “war on terror”? “Weapons of mass destruction”? “Good-bye habeus corpus”? Or, if you want to be more positive: “No search and seizure.” “No taxation without representation.” But no. “Welcome to American Idol”: those, or something very similar, are the words, we would have it, that changed America.

I really want to scream.
And now Idiocracy, Mike Judge’s brilliant satire on the dumbing down of America has failed to keep up with itself. For junk-food company Redux Beverages — best known for incurring the ire of the FDA, among many others, for its drink called Cocaine — will launch, on December 15, Brawndo (“it’s got electrolytes!”). It’s based on the sports drink in Idiocracy that fooled a planetwide populace of morons into starving itself to death. The imbeciles were trying to grow crops on the stuff because the marketers told them that “it’s what plants crave.”

It was a joke in the movie, see, a satire on people who will buy any old crap if it’s marketed to them effectively. But people really, actually want this junk. Brawndo was recently named “one of the top ten movie products we wish we had,” by Maxim.com — according to the press release I got about the product launch — which I believe says more about the average IQ of Maxim.com readers and editors than it does anything else.

I know, I know: it’s all a big joke. But Brawndo was a joke, and the joke was on its drinkers. Is that really something you want to be a part of?

In my review of the film, I wrote:

This is a movie that knows how dumb the average person is… and that half of everyone else is even dumber than that.

This is not, perhaps, the best way to court a movie audience, and maybe Fox was rightly justified in feeling that insulting the audience might not be the best way to get their dollars. Then again, most of the people Judge is slapping silly are too dumb to understand they’re being insulted, so perhaps it would have been a wash.


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