Friday links! Triumph of the pee shark edition

The Greenland shark

Did you know there is a species of arctic shark that eats polar bears, lives for 400 years, and contains an unusually high concentration of urea? Yes, I am referring to Twitter’s beloved pee shark. The Greenland shark is a real animal that really has been found with polar bear remains in its stomach, and it really does tend to get crustacean parasites that eat its eyes. Whether the parasites attract more prey by glowing and whether the shark really eats polar bears on the hoof—as opposed to dead ones that happen to fall into the ocean—are matters of debate. Further outside the realm of scientific controversy is the Verge’s report that no, the Greenland shark isn’t actually made of pee. Fake news. I think the reason people loved @joffeorama’s Twitter thread is that it captures the almost comical horror of the Greenland shark’s lived experience, not that they believed its body was 100% urine. Today is Friday, and our urge to correct people overthrows all other senses. Won’t you miss the point with me?

Continue reading

Pepsi pulls Kendall Jenner ad after 24 hours

Black men applaud Kendall Jenner in a Pepsi commercial.

One day after releasing a three-minute ad with original music, a multi-character storyline, and at least one helicopter shot—as well as another Kardashian everyone seems to know but me—Pepsi has pulled its Kendall Jenner commercial. Is this the fastest an American company has ever pulled an ad? No—that would be the disastrous Quaker Oats Company spot where Mikey refuses Life cereal until he dies of starvation, which ran for one afternoon in 1994. But this is pretty close. What is it about this commercial that so immediately enraged people? Pepsi gives us a hint in today’s statement:

Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.

Yeah, Kendall Jenner has suffered enough. But what’s this about making light of serious issues? The problem seems to be that this ad conspicuously elides serious issues of all kinds. Video after the jump.

Continue reading

Should Beyoncé make us drink Pepsi?

Pop star Beyoncé Knowles as literal mouthpiece

Pop star Beyoncé Knowles as literal mouthpiece

The aforementioned Mark Bittman—whose beans and greens recipe came out great last night, by the way—has used his Times column to call out Beyoncé for endorsing Pepsi. His intentionally provocative contention is that one day we will view sugary sodas as comparable to cigarettes in their impact on public health. Quote:

From saying, as she once did in referring to [Michelle Obama’s fitness initiative] Let’s Move, that she was “excited to be part of this effort that addresses a public health crisis,” she’s become part of an effort that promotes a public health crisis. I suppose it would be one thing if she needed the money or the exposure but she and Jay-Z are worth around $775 million.

Since we’re a bunch of grizzled old ethicists around here, I thought we might take up the question: Is it wrong for Beyoncé to sell her endorsement to Pepsi?

Continue reading