Sean Beckwith: The Lit Life presented by…
September 20, 2017
I'm here today to talk about integrity, about the inability to be bought off or bend my moral principles. But at the same time I'm here to tout the deliciousness of Michter's fine whiskeys. Unless I write a story that goes viral or a notable publication decides to take a chance on a 31-year-old copy editor who moonlights as columnist, I won't have the pleasure of having a sponsor.
However, a peculiar thing happened last week when I received an email from Michter's director of marketing with a subject head of "Michter's Samples." Being the cynical person I am, I thought it was spam, but also being the brown liquor connoisseur I am, I did a little research. I'm not trying to Equifax myself. Upon a quick Google, I found out that I was indeed their intended recipient.
After thinking about it, I realized that I gave Michter's a shout out in my Food & Wine column. Well, more than a shout out. I said one of their superb aged Rye whiskeys was the best thing I drank all weekend, which was true.
Then I received their sample, a bottle of Michter's Toasted Barrel Finish, and immediately opened it — it was my day off — and proceeded to imbibe with two thoughts in my head: 1. This whiskey is delicious and 2. What a bunch of suckers.
Sure, Aspen is a hub for wealthy people, but those people most likely aren't reading this. If anything, I've insulted them more than any other sector of readers this paper reaches. The only response I've ever received from elitists was from my people-watching column when I made fun of Urban Cowboys and people with an affinity for Botox and self-unawareness. (She said I need to calm down and let people express themselves, which is what I did in that column, but alas.)
I know a few people who are sponsored for their skiing abilities. For the most part you'd never know they were sponsored. Bragging about your ability to ski or snowboard in Aspen, or any mountain town for that matter, is a good way to get a dose of humility.
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Having said that, one such sponsored athlete, who I happened to briefly room with, was intensely self-involved. From hashtagging his Instagram photos with a personal #Gregslife hashtag to a general air of superiority, I was shocked that someone sponsored by a homeless man's feral dog's version of Red Bull could have such an ego. (Greg isn't actually his name. I may be an a–hole, but I'm not 100 percent a dick.)
Aspen has an overabundance of rich, snobby people of all ages. It's reminiscent of cliques in high school. I know this town is world famous and celebrities visit all the time, but who cares? I like to name-drop Aspen to my Nebraska friends as a way of needling them, not because I think they're inferior.
My first thought upon receiving any kind of perk through work is how can I share this with some friends? Whether it's passes to an event, lift ticket vouchers or a bottle of booze, I try to be generous. It's not so much personal perks as much as s— I get to share with my friends.
Food & Wine weekend is the antithesis of this way of thinking. It's the mecca for abandoning your friends because they're not on the list. It has to be my least favorite aspect of an otherwise great weekend. What's the saying, I'd give my kingdom for a drinking buddy?
If it wasn't morally corrupt, I would push products like the Pepsi scene from "Wayne's World."
When I'm on the mountain, I'm thinking about the next line and not my gear because I ride Lib Tech snowboards. I don't drink Coors to taste the Rockies, I do it because it's sterile and I like the taste. There's nothing like clowning friends and smacking a few Titleist Pro-V1s around the course. I love bangers that smash on my Skull Candy ear buds.
Wow, that was surprisingly easy, maybe I should be pushing products in hopes of free kickbacks.
Those fine people at Michter's will never sponsor me. If anything I should trying to get Yukon Jack on board. Though it's less and less about whiskey and more about having good people with which to enjoy it. #Michtersnextslogan
Michter's is an unofficial sponsor of The Lit Life and will remain so until it becomes an official sponsor or sends a cease and desist order. Sean Beckwith is a copy editor at The Aspen Times. Reach him at email@example.com.
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