Drink Up / All Apologies


THE ROMNEY CAMPAIGN’S strategy of deploying the surprisingly life-like Ann Romney (aka Ann Rombot Candidate’s Wife 2012) to jack up her husband’s numbers with women is according to polls, paying off with younger female voters. Despite the set-on-stun laser-vision, mechanical grin, and matching helmet-hair, it would appear that the Annbot “humanizes” him. (He’s nuts about cereal!)

The most likely reason, Romney biographer Michael Kranish explains, is that “Mitt has had trouble connecting with the average voter really since he first got in public life….And she has provided a real softening for him and a human touch. I think the way Mitt Romney sees it is that she is a woman and that she will innately understand the needs and concerns of women more than he will.”

Of course because in the way that all Cadillacs are different—one has a bigger trunk another nicer headlights—they’re all same under the hood, it’s the same with women.

The Annbot is doing her best to distract women from the fact that her husband not only doesn’t believe women deserve equal pay for equal work, but can’t be trusted with the decision of whether or not to have a child, and they don’t deserve all the protections provided by the Violence Against Women Act the Democrats passed, which the GOP later stripped to the bone. Oh, and if you hear a knock on the door, don’t answer it. He’s not there to sell you the Book of Mormon, he wants your glasses and your library card.

I don’t doubt that the Annbot will operate 24/7 in order to help her husband get elected.

"He is human, not a character from 'Prometheus'."


Meanwhile, the Rombot brain trust continues to scramble for examples that point to Mitt being a “regular guy,” citing his prankster past as evidence that, as Mitt’s inner circle often alleges, he has a great sense of humor.

However that time might be better spent putting some of their better women to work on a time machine so they can travel back in time to stop Lil Mittens from recruiting a mob to viciously take down John Lauber, a classmate he suspects of being gay, so he can cut off his hair.

It would certainly be swell, if the campaign were able—in terms of the law—to stop Lil Mittens from impersonating a Michigan State Trooper. Which yes, is a serious crime. Unless, I suppose, your father is the wiping-my-ass-with-money rich Governor of Michigan.

One of Lil Mittens’ favorite and most storied pranks was disguising him self as a police officer. He’d don the state trooper uniform he’d gotten from his Pops, pop a flashing red light on top of his Rambler and get his jollies pulling over his classmate’s cars. After examining their license and registration he’d demand their keys, walk around back to unlock the trunk, and “discover” the bottle of bourbon he’d planted, and then threaten to arrest them. Jinkies! What a goofball!

It’s ironic to think of Lil Mittens’ driving around with a bottle of bourbon in the car given that his Mormon faith forbids him from drinking and smoking. Although he has confessed, “I tasted a beer and tried a cigarette once as a wayward teenager.”

What you may ask was the point of Lil Mittens prank?

Duh, to scare the girls in the car!

The details of Romney getting off on impersonating a police officer just came out. I have no knowledge of him apologizing to the people he harassed or the women he may indeed have frightened. Although I don’t doubt there will be one programmed for him should the need arise, a non-apology-apology. In the style of the mea culpa he delivered after the attack on Lauber came to light: “If anybody was hurt by that or offended . . . obviously I apologize.”

Obviously… Why obviously? 

What in our short history together suggests that “obviously” means anything to me? All it suggests is that you don’t get it, and you don’t really give a shit. Maybe someone—Jason Alexander, perhaps, who delivered a real sincere apology for making a gay joke on Craig Ferguson last week—could give Lil Mittens a lesson on communicating that you’ve learned your lesson.

What the campaign seems to fail to understand is that what makes The Rombot so hard to relate to isn’t his not drinking coffee or alcohol or smoking, or strapping his dog on the top of the car, or the fact that he wears the secret Mormon underwear, it’s that he doesn’t seem to get it.

By all accounts, Romney didn’t play police officer while at Stanford, but reportedly did seem to relish inviting his peers into his room so he could show off the uniform. It’s a bit pathetic really; why not just get your daddy to buy you a Batman costume?

According to a speech George Romney gave in 1970 at Brigham Young University, while at Stanford Junior Romney pranked some University of California students by leading them into a trap, in which his buddies “shaved their heads and painted them red.”

George Keele, who served his mission with Romney in Southern France, remembers answering the door one evening and finding two men wearing sheets who ordered he turn around and put his hands behind his back without saying a word. Guess who that was under the white sheet?

You guessed it: Mittens!

I’m sorry but I dare say, I don’t think Rombot’s problems “connecting with the voter” started when he entered public service. From all accounts, his arrogance, bullying, inbred sense of entitlement and the pleasure he gets scaring women were there from an early age.

Fake narc.

Romney’s sense of humor and his suave apologies put me in mind of another group of guys who just want to have fun. The boys at Belvedere, aka. the vodka most preferred by date rapists, found themselves in the hot seat when they debuted their ad featuring the slogan: Unlike Some People, Belvedere Always Goes Down Smooth Get the double entendre? Get it? Nudge, wink, wink… goes down. You don’t even have to see the picture to know what they mean. The picture makes it undeniably clear what their message is.

A young woman, presumably at a party, is being grabbed from behind by a drunk guy who grins stupidly, one hand on her breast. The young woman who is clearly trying to escape, who actually appears to be genuinely terrified, is shown mid-scream, her mouth open, a perfect O. (No teeth). The message Belvedere is sending their customers is that despite the fact the young woman is trying to fight back, she is going to chug this guy’s hog. After all, he drinks Belvedere. And it’s hilarious!

Only it’s not!

Rape statistics, in particular, acquaintance rape statistics, can vary, given that victims, especially those who might have been drinking illegally or doing drugs, are often reluctant to report the crime. Or unwilling to even consider it crime. I use the term “acquaintance rape” because let’s be real, do you consider meeting in a club, playing quarters at a party, or walking home from a bar a “date”? Please. I could go on.

The general consensus according to the CDC, RAINN, and the U.S. Department of Justice is that 1 in 6 women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape. The ages at which women are most vulnerable to sexual assault are from 12 to 34.  Oh is that all? Only really vulnerable for 22 years of our lives? Cheers!

(It’s interesting to note that the majority of male sexual assaults—on average 1 in 33 men will experience a sexual assault—occur while they are at educational institutions. 73% will know their attackers.)

Three quarters of women raped in college reported being intoxicated at the time of the assault. Not surprisingly, as the Journal of Sex Education and Therapy reports, an estimated 68 percent of their male assailants had been drinking at the time of the attack.

Adding insult to injury, as it were, in the Belvedere “Unlike Some People, Belvedere Always Goes Down Smooth” case, Alicyn Packard, the actress who appears in the ad, is suing Moët Hennessy USA alleging they used her image (lifted out of a Strictly Viral comedy clip, “The Baby Picture” that aired on Funny or Die) without her permission.

Oh oops, permission? We don’t need your stinking permission. She is also suing Moet Hennessay for emotional distress. It was a joke!!!

Hours after Belvedere began tweeting their ad to their 10,263 Twitter followers and posted it to their Facebook page (the ranks of fans numbering 916,970) and Jezebel subsequently posted it on their site, a firestorm of protests from fans of Belvedere women’s groups erupted.

Belvedere execs, apparently too busy jerking off to Barely Legal, used their free hand to lazily tweet an apology: “We apologize to any of our fans who were offended by our recent tweet. We continue to be an advocate of safe and responsible drinking.”

Subtext: I’m sorry you were offended. (Can’t take a joke.) I’m not apologizing for being an asshole, I’m just sorry it bothers you. Because when you bother me it just makes me want to rape you. You thought they might have at least added, “Oh and dude, we weren’t suggesting you need to get a girl drunk in order for her to have sex with you. We’re just saying, you know… sometimes it’s hard.  Get it. It’s a joke!”

Maybe you could pretend to be a cop and pull her over?

Forced to acknowledge that their public relations problem wasn’t going away but getting bigger, Belvedere president Charles Gibb would apologize again, this time with feeling. “It should never have happened … [It] is contrary to our values and we deeply regret the lapse.”

The lapse? A “lapse,” according to Merriam Webster, is defined as“a slight error typically due to forgetfulness or inattention <a  lapse in table manners> b : a temporary deviation or fall especially from a higher to a lower state.”


Obviously? A lapse?

I don’t know about you, but I’m not amused by these He-Man Woman-Haters, I don’t think their jokes are funny. And I sure as hell don’t accept their apologies.


About Elissa Schappell

Elissa Schappell is the author of the short story collections Blueprints for Building Better Girls and Use Me. A former senior editor of The Paris Review, she is the co-founder and editor-at-large of Tin House magazine. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.
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10 Responses to Drink Up / All Apologies

  1. Caleb Powell says:

    Let’s see, I’m going to vote Obama, but if I keep reading stuff like this I might change my mind.

    Seriously, I’m pro higher taxes, social health care, choice for women, gay marriage, gun control, etc., but this hyperbolic crusade against everything Romney does is almost a cliche. He’s now a “white sheet” wearing racist & misogynist responsible for “three quarters of women raped” in college. The dog on the car incident is being treated as if he decapitated Fido and put its head on a stake. This is just absurd. And the patronizing of Ann “Rombot” is similar to the double standard of Maher calling Palin a cunt vs. Limbaugh calling Fluke a slut. Be against both or comfortable with both. If you disagree with the policies, argue and engage, if you want to cater to your homegirls and homeboys, write something like this.

    PS – I’m still voting Obama.

    • Major Weekling says:

      I think it’s a character issue, mostly. From what we know about Mitt, he seems like a socially awkward, creepy bully…and it’s not just one incident, which can be written off, but many, over time. He makes George W look warm and fuzzy.

  2. Phat B says:

    Mittens. Heh. Keepin it real. Vodka ads are out of control. They never have anything to do with taste or price, it’s either “be a man” or “drink this and have a crazy space party with hot alien chicks.” Mittens.

  3. Richard Klin says:

    I’m been trying to decipher what makes Obama supporters tick and am having a hard time. I think one main component is granting him this bizarre exemption. This country is desperately, horribly poor. People can’t afford to function, to send their kids to college, to buy gas… and yet this has nothing to do with Obama. We have the most out-of-control military is recent memory… and it has nothing to do with Obama.

    • Major Weekling says:

      Totally agree that Obama is misunderstood, on both sides of the aisle, and hardly blameless for a lot of the shit going down right now. I have a post on that very topic in the works. The business with the terrorist playing cards is disgusting.

      But as our own Sean Beaudoin said, “I hope Obama wins. Otherwise, the leader of the free world is a hollow argyle sock.” Cutting taxes that are already criminally low, slashing services, gutting Medicare and Social Security, ignoring global warming, installing another Scalia on the Court…better Obama than that.

      That said, I’m writing in Tupac.

  4. Richard Klin says:

    But Obama IS slashing services and gutting Social Security. He’s also in favor of fracking, busting people for pot, and drone-bombing innocents. He’s given himself extraordinary power to imprison people without judicial oversight. And I couldn’t care less who wins this election.

    • Major Weekling says:

      Icke calls him “Bush on steroids,” and has accused the American left of basically falling asleep the day he was inaugurated. He has a point. But I still prefer him to Romney.

      Maybe you’re right…maybe if Mitt wins, at least we lefties will be on alert again.

      What other candidate is there to vote for? Are the Greens running someone? Don’t say Ron Paul — he’s a joke.

  5. Richard Klin says:

    The Greens are running Jill Stein, who I’m voting for, although without much enthusiasm. I’m a registered Green, but the party seems obsessed with running candidates for high elective office and losing on a regular basis.

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