"White people - and only White people - are taught that racial identity is evil and absurd. This results in White people adopting brand loyalty as a stand-in for who we are. Jack Daniels is the only man who should have ever built his identity around Jack Daniels.... Don't get me wrong - I love the righteous anger... But directing it all at something meaningless is... meaningless."
- Daniel Concannon @KeepNHGranite on Gab, commenting on a viral video of a man destroying his collection of Jack Daniels liquor and brand merchandise in response to the company's ad campaign featuring drag queens.
What images and qualities are embodied in the brand image of Jack Daniels (until recently, at least?) Former slogans include:
These slogans evoke early America. An independent, pioneering spirit. Entrepreneurialism. A dedication to excellence, and the patience and craftmanship required to produce a product of consistent quality. Continuity across generations. Masculinity and rugged refinement. Now, what does this evoke?
Exactly. It is a vicious mockery of all the qualities mentioned above. This isn't an ad for liquor - it's a demoralization campaign.
"Get Woke, Go Broke" is a phrase commonly used when a company publicly declares its support for extreme left-wing ideology that offends its customer base. The quip is satisfying and seems to be logical on its face, but is it really true? An almost innumerable list of companies have spent a news cycle or two as the subject of controversy when their "woke" ads or public statements cause outrage. Customers destroy purchases, make angry videos, and pledge to never buy the offending product again. Sometimes the outrage has a temporary effect on the company's bottom line, but has any multinational corporation really "gone broke" due to pushing leftist causes? Not that I know of.
Maybe the corporate leaders are living in a bubble, oblivious to how their trendy views will play in Flyover Country. But I suspect they do know, and are willing and able to absorb a temporary financial setback in order to promote their values. Either way, as more and more aspects of our world are converged into left-wing wokism, cognitive dissonance is created in the minds of Middle Americans who have tied aspects of their identity to brands, teams, or celebrities.
The tendency is understandable. Americans, especially Southerners, have had every aspect of their being villainized through media and our educational system. Our history has been rewritten with our heroes cast as villains, our culture mocked, our achievements either belittled or reinterpreted as crimes. What are we allowed to celebrate? Of what are we allowed to be proud? In what way can we enjoy camaraderie with our own tribe?
Some Americans boast of their allegiance to Ford versus Chevy trucks, or wear John Deere green caps. This can be understood as a proxy for the celebration of a traditional rural lifestyle and a willingness to engage in the difficult manual labor required to build and maintain a functioning society. For the sake of full disclosure I will admit that I have never been a fan of sports, but I have long believed that Southerners' outsized enthusiasm for college football is a sublimation of the urge to express regional patriotism, and also to celebrate masculinity in a manner that is not threatening to our ruling class. We can enjoy the company of mostly traditional, White Americans at a "country" music concert, but the big stars are required to comply with, or at least not seriously oppose, the ruling class' agenda (with regards to gun rights or the Battle Flag, for example) in order to maintain their celebrity status.
For a long time, traditional Southerners' nationalistic urges have been channeled successfully into harmless outlets. Now the elites, who have a near-monopoly on the culture, have begun to boldly inject their ideology into all these areas. By forcing their players to wear rainbow-flag emblazoned uniforms, bastions of masculinity like the NFL and NHL have been feminized. Owners of the Black Rifle Coffee company, promoted as a veteran-owned and pro-Second Amendment alternative to Starbucks, counter-signaled Kyle Rittenhouse. Brad Paisley crooned a racism apology for President Obama. Most recently, Bud Light and Jack Daniels have used transgender personalities to promote their products.
While "woke" advertising may be distressing to conservative fans and consumers, being snubbed by corporations can be a positive wake-up call. As Southerners and other traditional Americans are forced away from our "proxy" identifiers, we will be forced to either convert, or to explicitly embrace our real identity - found in familial and societal connections, our deeply held moral convictions and cultural traditions, and our connection to nature and our Creator. This forced alienation provides an opportunity for nationalists to direct people towards connection with something more meaningful. Let's make the most of it.
The Carolina Contrarian, Anne Wilson Smith, is the author of Charlottesville Untold: Inside Unite the Right and Robert E. Lee: A History Book for Kids. She is the creator of Reckonin' and has contributed to the Abbeville Institute website and Vdare. She is a soft-spoken Southern belle by day, opinionated writer by night. She loves Jesus, her family, and her hometown. She enjoys floral dresses and acoustic guitar music. You may contact Carolina Contrarian at CarolinaContrarian@protonmail.com.