How could an elitist anachronism be so popular in today’s egalitarian society? How could someone who almost gamed Western civilization itself be so enthusiastically endorsed by a multitude of viewers? How can there exist a man without any limitations?
Ask Jonathan Goldsmith, an American actor who until recently was the Dos Equis man in the beer ads, AKA “the most interesting man in the world.” For almost ten years, his persona has greatly benefitted the beer brand.
Like the original James Bond who trod before, the Dos Equis man has shown millions the world over how to live. An epicure with savoir faire for all seasons, he was unflappable and uncompromising — with a stiff upper lip. He was handsome, in a genteel but rugged way. At home in a tux or safari suit, he sought adventure that Ernest Hemingway could only dream of on the plains of the Serengeti.
The Dos Equis ads say almost verbatim that the police would question him, just because he is so interesting — with a personality so magnetic that he cannot even carry credit cards. They say that he was someone who once had an awkward moment just to see how it felt. In the ads he “lives vicariously through himself,” and he intones, “It’s never too early to start beefing up your obituary.”
The irony is that the Dos Equis man is not in sync with our times or politically correct. First, he has elegant taste. One can easily see him sipping a 25-year Macallan single malt, or tucking into some foie gras washed down with a Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes, sitting in a campaign chair. However, he nonetheless recognizes fine beer when he sees it. But how does his boutique image fit with our national obsession with mass marketing and fast food, leading to a general dumbing down?
Second, the Dos Equis man is well-dressed without being too studied about it. How does this fit with torn, faded, pre-washed jeans, and with expensive Nikes, and a gray hoodie from Old Navy — the uniform of the millennials? It does not.
Third, the Dos Equis man is not technology enabled. It is remarkable that he does not see the need to project coolness while festooned with electronic devices, wires protruding from orifices — nor does he text while crossing the street against a red light. He does not look like a techie to a generation that has defined itself through the portable hard drive and short cuts to the truth. One would not expect to see the Dos Equis Man as a habitué of Starbucks, jamming out emails on a MacBook or tweets to a retinue of millions, while sipping a tall macadamia latte with nutmeg and extra foam.
Fourth, the implication in the ads is that the Dos Equis man and his many pursuits make him highly attractive to women. Is this the message of our times — that masculinity is in vogue and nerdiness is out? I think not. In fact, the Dos Equis culture could be read by the Left to be oppressive — we have yet to hear Nancy Pelosi weigh in on this subject, and millions of Americans can only look forward to that in an election year. And closer to Election Day, we might even see the Dos Equis man accused of misogyny by Hillary Clinton.
Indeed, the Dos Equis man has been so successful at everything he touches that he could easily rank in the top echelon of the top 1% of all human endeavor. How can this performance be championed, while Wall Street and the cult of the CEO are under vicious attack in much of the country?
The answer is that what once was good marketing no longer is. About six months ago, it was announced that Jonathan Goldsmith is retiring from this magnificent role. Evidently the company wishes to appeal to younger voters. Followers of Mr. Goldsmith are unhappy with this change, which is evidently designed to attract millennials. Earlier this month, the French actor Augustin Legrand, 41, was named successor.
Perhaps the popularity of the Dos Equis man, past or now present, is to be found in man’s yearning to be a way he cannot be. But against these noble aspirations is the wise advice of Clint Eastwood in the Dirty Harry Movie Magnum Force: “A man’s got to know his limitations.”