Like Disco Demolition, the Bud Light Dylan Mulvaney debacle is a black swan moment for the elites

Posted: April 23, 2023 by John Ruberry in baseball, business, culture, entertainment, media, News/opinion, politics
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By John Ruberry

A societal seismic shift, a black swan moment, occurred for the American elite, our “betters,” on April 1. Yep, April Fools Day, but the joke was on the elites. It was April 1 when on his–yes his–Instragram page, the transgendered influencer, Dylan Muvlaney, announced his sponsorhip deal with Bud Light, a beer brewed by Anheuser-Busch that is, or was, favored mainly by macho types.

The backlash was immediate. A boycott of the brew–with conservative celebrities leading the charge began–and Anheuser-Busch has since lost $5 billion in value.

Receiving the blame for this debacle is Alissa Heinerscheid, Bud Light’s vice president of marketing, who went on a leave of absence last week.

It’s likely that Bud Light triggered a tripwire, likely, to use Bill Maher’s words, Americans are angry because “they’ve had an agenda shoved down their throat.” Like the dimwitted sheep in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, many elites, particularly in the media, believe transgendered women are women. Most Americans disagree. 

And most Americans, unless they are woke, aren’t dopes. They know that males have an inherent physical advantage over women in most sports. If they decide to think about it–they know that the annual physical for Rachel Levine, the Biden administration’s assistant secretary for health who is transgendered, consists of a prostate exam. They are aware that after “gender-affirming” surgeries, some trans people want to switch back.

These same people are horrified of reports that some school officials, without knowledge of their parents, are encouraging minors to “transition.”

And these same folks are fed up with being called a bigot or some sort of “phobe” when they raise their objections to the transgender ideological movement.

And they are sick of transgendered women appearing in clothing ads wearing garments designed for females. 

Unlike Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, most Americans are able define what a woman is. And they know that men cannot give birth to babies.

As for the elites, many of whom like Heinerscheid have an Ivy League education, they’re the types of folks who don’t interact with smelly people who drink Bud Light. These smug know-it-alls are stupefied that the Mulvaney sponsorship has damaged the brand. 

The elites live in their bubble, which makes them quite vulnerable to a black swan moment.

What has happened to Bud Light takes me back to 1979 and the Disco Demolition stunt that was part of a Chicago White Sox Teen Night promotion during a twi-night doubleheader with the Detroit Tigers. Oh, “Disco Sucks” wasn’t just a Chicago thing, I saw my first “Disco Sucks” T-shirt a year earlier on sale on the boardwalk at Ocean City, Maryland.

I was a 17-year-old when Steve Dahl, a morning disc jockey for rock station WLUP-FM, began humorously “blowing up” disco records during his show. He’d play some crappy–aren’t they all?–disco tune for thirty-seconds or so, and then blow them up, not for real, but with sound effects. Dahl also took his act on the road, including a mock “takeover” of a suburban disco club, and the same thing happened at each event. Crowd control was an issue–too many people in too small of a space.

Surely, Mike Veeck, the son of White Sox owner Bill Veeck, thought that Comiskey Park, the home of the White Sox, could comfortably host Dahl and his minions, known as the Insane Coho Lips. The ballpark had a capacity of 45,000. 

But the doubleheader sold out and there were an estimated thirty thousand others outside Comiskey Park clamoring to get in. Teens who deposited disco records at the turnstiles were admitted for 98 cents, which was dirt cheap even in 1979. 

Dahl, in faux military garb, as you’ll see in the YouTube clip, exploded the records in spectacular fashion as the Insane Coho Lips chanted “disco sucks” following the conclusion of the first game of the doubleheader, a White Sox defeat. Immediately afterwards, about 7,000 of the rockers stormed the field and a riot broke out, one that included destroying the batting cage and igniting the crate from where the records were exploded. It was rock and roll’s first saturnalia. Police in riot gear promptly ended Disco Demolition 90 minutes later, and because the field was deemed by the umpires as unsafe for play, the second game was forfeited to the Tigers.

I watched the game at home on television with my parents and my brother. I hated disco and loved rock and roll, so I looked on with mixed emotions because I was also a Sox fan. I didn’t object when my brother pointed at me and said, “Hey, mom and dad, there are thousands of them on the TV, who are just like your son, tearing up the field.” Hey, don’t forget, I was 17 at the time.

Retro historians, often people who were born years after Disco Demolition, have tried to turn that night into a racist or anti-gay thing. Wrong. The people I knew who listened to disco were shallow and vapid–just like the music. It was love at first sight for them.

Here’s the disco black swan moment. 

The Disco Demolition coverage from the media, particularly the national media, was one of shock. Even more so than now, the elite media was based in New York, and they were the people who hung out at disco’s hallowed temple, Studio 54 in Manhattan. They lived in their ’70s bubble, one that didn’t include people who loved rock music and wore “Disco Sucks” T-shirts.

Up until Steve Dahl blew up those records, disco was seemingly everywhere–on TV shows, in commercials, and in the movies, most notably, with John Travolta dancing in Saturday Night Fever. Rock acts, including the Rolling Stones, the Kinks (sadly, one of my favorite bands), and Rod Stewart, recorded songs with a disco beat.

But post-Disco Demolition Night, the media, as well as the advertising and marketing “experts,” realized, after the totality of the riot, that more people hated disco than liked it. Disco didn’t die that night–even a freight train experiencing engine problems can’t be stopped on a dime, but disco went into a fatal tailspin. A month after Disco Demolition, Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall, a disco album, was released. It enjoyed brisk sales and a lot of airplay. But Jacko’s next album, Thriller, was more of an R&B album, it even included the King of Pop’s only hard rock song, “Beat It,” which was graced by guitar work from Eddie Van Halen.

Rockers had stopped cutting disco tracks well before Thriller was released.

A couple of weeks before Off the Wall arrived in record stores, principal photography began on a movie starring the Village People, Discoland . . . Where the Music Never Stops. Sensing trouble because of the anti-disco backlash, the film’s producer, Allan Carr, changed the name of his project to Can’t Stop the Music. It’s remembered as a legendary Hollywood box office bomb.

As the saying goes, “History doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes.” One of supporting actors in Can’t Stop the Music was Bruce Jenner, who now goes by Caitlyn. 

By the early 1980s, the expression “As dead as disco” was common. 

Transgenderism isn’t going away. Over my life I’ve known a few men who have gone thru procedures that allows them, sort of, to live as women. Fine, it’s their life. If, as an adult, men and women want to transform themselves into something different, well, no one should stop them. The same goes for people who want to obliterate their faces with tattoos.

On the other hand, don’t shove your choice down our throats and demand us to celebrate you.

In the advertising and marketing world, using transgendered spokespeople to promote mainstream products just might be as dead as disco.

No one wants to be the next Alissa Heinerscheid. Her job was to sell Bud Light, not to drive people to avoid it.

There was never a Can’t Stop the Music sequel.

Marketing people must not be good at math. One percent of the population identifies as transgendered. Which means of course means 99 percent doesn’t.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

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  2. petedetroit says:

    The expression “Disco Sucks” began as musicians’ lament for nightclubs switching from live to recorded (disco) music. Steve Dahl probably picked it up in Detroit where he dj’d before moving to Chi-town. It carried no racial overtones as both black and white musicians were affected by the loss of employment opportunities.

  3. Obama’s bpyfriend says:

    Love disco and all the hard rockers are all cocaine heads longing yo be Maddona’s beau. Ever meet a Led Zeppelin fan-they;re all named Hunter.