Corporate America seems intent on demeaning society. I discovered this recently while paging through Cosmo to a) find out what a pig I am, b) see guy "sex secrets" revealed to women who must have been raised in a convent or closet, and c) reaffirm that women, despite their protestations to the contrary, are just as porcine as guys, since the mag is full of nothing but sex, advice on cheating on your boyfriend, half-naked men, sex, and how to get what you want from men. (Institute tip: Take off your clothes.)
The ads are just as bad -- not just in Cosmo, but on TV. Johnson & Johnson crosses the line with commercials for a warming personal lubricant that may well be the biggest medical breakthrough since chemotherapy or Prozac (unless, of course, you're Tom Cruise, chairman of the board of Crazy, Arrogant Scientologists). But to suggest that people might use it as a massage oil is just plain insulting. The Six Flags corporation is waging its battle against respect for seniors by featuring an elderly guy on its commercials who sends the clear message, "Old people shouldn't dance." With its coverage of the recent Live 8 concerts, MTV has obviously changed the "M" in its name from standing for "Music" to representing "Money," or maybe even "Moronic VJs who have never heard Pink Floyd nor gone sleepless for a week due to intense nightmares based on watching The Wall in an altered state, and who obviously can't help but insipidly blather on about how 'awesome' Floyd is while the band is playing live for the first time in over twenty years or asking, 'Which one's Pink?'"
A final example of this demeaning corporate campaign: Chili's, whose baby-back ribs commercials -- with the jingle penned by the dentist from Marathon Man -- have single-handedly reduced the nation's IQ by 50 percent. In true American fashion, we here at the Institute of Drinking Studies decided to fight back, and, after several hundred Cuba Libres, repaired to the restaurant at 790 South Colorado Boulevard one recent Sunday to do some critical research. Our first order of business: food. We found the chips and salsa slightly more addictive than crack cocaine. The margs rivaled any in town -- although one in our group learned, the hard way, that the more upscale version must be ordered with caution because its shaker does not have a secure top, and remixing your drinking can be hazardous to the tables around you.
But the rest of the menu could use some reworking. First, there are too many options. For three guys who took a large portion of the day just figuring out where to go, an eight-page menu is as daunting as War and Peace. There's also a "Guiltless Grill" section very near the page featuring the fried onion, and either the onion or the guiltless portion should go; we have enough guilt on board without being reminded of what we're doing to our arteries. Finally, while the fajitas were excellent, they were very interactive and required too much manual dexterity from drunks.
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All told, Chili's held up well under the Institute onslaught. Our waitress maintained a sense of humor despite our less-than-juvenile antics, and she actually laughed when we asked her if the ribs were good. But then, Chili's has only itself to blame for cutting our intelligence level in half.