Beer and Pavement

On Entitlement

Posted in Uncategorized by SM on August 17, 2011

“Entitlement” is a charged term in today’s political climate[1]. So, I’ll avoid the political angle and discuss the more important craft beer and indie rock sorts of entitlement we may encounter. I’ll also refrain from re-posting the video that prompted such a post, but you can find it here if you’re really interested.

Entitlement as a god-given right is an American ideal that won’t die. Even Tea-Baggers feel entitled to all their money and guns[2]. We all feel we deserve whatever we get…as long as it’s what we want for ourselves as well as the evil wishes for our enemies. This entitlement isn’t always even that related to the American dream. Nope, sometimes it just has to do with stupid shit like expecting the President won’t preempt your stories or Dairy Queen won’t run out of sprinkles on your birthday.

Despite the fact that liquor and beer distribution laws in each state widely differ, beer enthusiasts expect every brewery to ship to their product to their podunk, little village way out in North DaIdaho. Sorry. Craft breweries are small and wouldn’t be as good if they were large enough to distribute to every 7-Eleven from here to Eternity, New Mexico. There are too many obstacles for breweries to distribute anywhere.

Even when a brewery does find its way into a market, whatever they send is never enough. We only received four cases of that. Or We never saw any of that super rare brew you put out last year in gold casks. For one, be happy with whatever you get from your favorite breweries. For two, they’re not called “white whales” for nothing. Sometimes we have to put forth some effort for rarer beers. That or we need to be fine without a rare beer now and again.

For the most part, if you want better beer distribution, you have to work for it. Write letters and blog posts urging breweries to come your way or up their stock making its way into your state. Then, once it’s on the shelves, buy the shit out of it. Drink every keg and cask dry. Otherwise, there’s no incentive for breweries to fulfill your entitlement.

Music brings a slightly different set of entitlements. We’ve been able to get music just about any way possible over the past couple of decades. I always complain about the fact that there are no good record stores in this town (more on that later), but I can generally get whatever I want via the intertubes, specifically through Insound. No, music fans feel entitled to see their favorite musicians and bands live, in the flesh. It doesn’t matter that their market can’t possibly support such an act or that a 75-city tour every year just isn’t feasible. We want our rock stars and we want them now. Or something.

Even when our favorite bands make the trek to our little burgs with tiny clubs housing shitty sound systems, it’s not enough to just play an hour set and move on to the next city. Oh no. We want witty banter. We want our favorite song from your first album TWICE. We want to chit-chat after the show at the merch booth. We want the set list and a drum stick. And hey, if you get lucky…

We forget that touring musicians are working stiffs like the rest of us[3].They have to tour to sell records and often just to make a living. They owe us their allotted time on stage. Expect anywhere from 45 minutes to a couple hours of music. Banter and antics are extra.

That said, there are a few entitlements to which we are all…er…entitled. This is where the “life” and “pursuit of happiness” promised by our founding fathers comes into play.

  1. Every town deserves a decent record store. This means that we all should be within a 20 minute drive of a record store that stocks new and used vinyl and CD’s[4] for our perusal. Currently, my town does not have one of these. I once considered making one happen, but I don’t know that this would be the wisest of business decisions.
  2. If we are entitled to a record store, then we definitely are entitled to at least one bar with multiple revolving taps and a well-stocked bottle list. Luckily, my town does come through in this area. We have one really strong performer as well as several other, suitable options. We are not, however, entitled to one of those monstrous 40+ tap establishments.  Those kinds of bars have to be earned.
  3. Clubs should feature an adequate sound system along with someone who knows how to work it. I won’t name names, but certain clubs seem to think it’s okay to set up the sound for a heavy metal act every night. Sorry, but Neko Case and Glenn Danzig probably don’t require the same set up.
  4. It’s really not so much to ask that half your taps and most of your bottle selection be craft beer. I get that there are certain industrial rice-adjunct lager-makers that compel ($) you to stock their beer-like products, but there should be room for some variety, especially local and regional favorites. Oh, and Blue Moon does not count.
There are probably more, but you get the drift. These aren’t real entitlements, they’re just things I think we ought to have available.
What am I missing? To what do you feel entitled?

1That first line is for all those English professors in my life (particularly the one with which I live) as they return to their other jobs as teachers of America’s (and South Korea’s) future in the art of writing arguments and such.
2That’s the last time I get political. I promise. Maybe.
3OK. Not all of them.
4It goes without saying that this would include a substantial amount of indie, but every music/record store has that nowadays.

One Response

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  1. Mike said, on August 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    At the biggest venue out here, it’s tough to find a good place to hang out and drink a beer–underage drinking is a major problem, so they segregate the drinkers and nondrinkers, with the nondrinkers getting the partially obstructed locations. I don’t remember if that was a problem at the all-metal venue, but it seems pretty inalienable to me.

    Also, I don’t know if this falls into the “rights” or “responsibilities” category, but people who talk through the entire show drive me crazy. I have a right to not have to hear a guy complain about the bathroom’s long line for more than 2 consecutive songs, perhaps?

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