Mixed Drinks, Mixed Men
In today’s mixed-economy of freedom and controls – where the individual is both “man the victim” and “man the killer” – where he suffers from some of those controls and benefits from others – the behavior of both types of cowboys have an emotional resonance to him. The commercial counts upon the part of man who is still innocent – who still admires ability – to respond to the commercial in one way, and then appeals to the evil part of man – the part who has given in and gone along with today’s prevailing ruthlessness – to respond to it in another.
“Man the victim” finds this commercial appealing because, living in the kind of culture where his wealth and his happiness is subject to molestation by the state (or any criminal who wouldn’t be properly punished by the state) at any time, the sight of such a flagrant, unbelievable act of violence allows him to believe momentarily that his feelings about the real world are unfounded. He is able to tell himself, in effect: “this is what it would look like if my feelings about the world were correct. That isn’t what’s happening, so I’m just overreacting.”
“Man the killer”, on the other hand, finds this commercial appealing because, being responsible for creating the kind of culture that currently exists (for the sake of some pragmatic, short-term personal goal), it allows him to believe that his feelings of guilt are unfounded. The sight of a cowboy shooting two others for something so petty as a cocktail allows him to think “this is what I would be doing if I were really a predator. That isn’t what I’m doing, so what I actually am doing isn’t immoral.”
A contradiction of this nature cannot last – not in a man nor in an entire nation. Eventually the more consistent element will win and one type of behavior will have complete emotional resonance while the other will be completely perplexing. By making light of it (ie: by exploiting the population’s confusion about it) in order to reach the near-term goal of selling vodka (“Three Olives the killer”) – and, being willing to do so only out of sheer desperation to remain profitable in a mixed-economy (“Three Olives the victim”) – Three Olives Vodka Company is ensuring that the contradiction will not be resolved any sooner. The only result of this is that the objectively inferior element – manipulation or predation as a means of economic prosperity – will be more likely to become the dominant element (emotionally) for the individual, and (economically) for the nation.