In an effort to mitigate the fallout over his assertion that the arrest of Henry Louis Gates was “stupid,” President Obama will have a beer with Gates and arresting officer Sgt. James Crowley this afternoon, in what mindless newspaper hacks are calling the Suds Summit. See, when the President meets with someone in an official capacity, it’s often called a summit. And they’ll be drinking beer, so we should probably—Jimmy! Jimmy, what’s a word for beer that starts with S? “Suds Summit.” Man, that’s rich. You’re the king, Jimmy.
Sorry—I kind of blacked out on hate, there. Seriously, though, the President and Henry Louis Gates and the cop who arrested Henry Louis Gates are going to drink beers together and work this thing out, which sounded absurd to me until I realized that that’s how I solve all of my interpersonal problems, too. The Los Angeles Times justifies its existence with this report on what each participant will be drinking: Red Stripe for Gates, Blue Moon for Crowley, and for the leader of the most powerful nation on earth not currently overrun with Chinese people, Bud Light.
Two things strike me here. First, when you’re brokering a make-up session between two guys who got in a stupid argument and you ask them what kind of beer they like, and one of them says “Red Stripe!” and the other says “Blue Moon!” you say, “Well, you assholes are getting Bud Light, because it’s my house.” You don’t buy three different kinds of beer for a party that you know will only be attended by three dudes, one of whom is a cop.
Second, there is no way that the President’s favorite beer is Bud Lite. I believe that Henry Louis Gates likes Red Stripe, although it seems a little affected. Red Stripe was, for many years, my favorite beer, too. I’m sure it seemed even more affected when I drank it, but it is totally delicious and the short necks make it virtually impossible to hit anyone with the empty bottle—hence its ubiquity and the ska and punk shows of my youth. I also believe that James Crowley drinks Blue Moon, when logistics prevent him from drinking Jameson directly out of the bottle while watching a train pass by the front of his squad car as he thinks about his custody settlement. I refuse, however, to accept that President Barack Obama, when considering all the beers in the world that he would most like to drink, settled on Bud Light. There are three reasons why the story seems implausible:
1) Bud Light tastes like the hair near the genital area of a very old dog.
2) Of the people you know who drink Bud Light, how many of them are A) black dudes or B) Harvard graduates or C) Presidents?
3) Of all the beers I could think of, Bud Light seems the least assailable.
You might think that Budweiser would have been the safest choice, but that is also the favored beer of people who have never tasted beer. Bud Light implies that the President has made his selection from among at least two American beers. That his choice should be domestic goes without saying; one can only imagine what today’s 24-hour news cycle would be like had he said his favorite beer was Heineken. As it stands, Barack Obama will sit out back of the White House this afternoon and drink a beer—something that I think we can all agree is, in the variety of human experience, pretty fucking cool. When he gets to live out this fantasy, though, he will have to do it while drinking a Bud Light. Perhaps he can prevail on Gates to let him try a Red Stripe. If he cannot, though, he will have to suffer the retribution owed to a very mild act of dishonesty. As is often the case when we lie, the punishment fits exactly the crime.