Words have meaning. You cannot use a particular word which has specific definitions and then say, “That’s not what I meant.” Well, OK, you can but trust me, we all know what you meant, because we know what those words mean.
A new bar in Spokane whose website invites the “savvy” to enter, has chosen to name one of their drinks “Date Grape Kool-Aid” — a name which is a gross example of marketing gone wrong. In trying to portray themselves as young, hip, and cool, the Spokane Daiquiri Factory (SDF) has crossed the linguistic line.
The U.S Bureau of Justice statistics report shows that in 2012, there were 346,830 instances of rape/sexual violence in America, however this same report also states that only 28 percent of these crimes are reported to the police, which brings the possible total number of rape to over 825,000. Even more telling is that the percentage of reporting on rape/sexual violence crimes has dropped by half in the past nine years. I believe that this steep decline in reporting is due to the rape culture that pervades America and that it is getting worse, not better.
“Date rape” is a term used to classify rape into convenient categories, but do we say “date murder” or “date burglary”? No, so why do we perpetuate the use of a term that only serves to cloud the issue? Rape is rape, no matter in what setting or upon whom it is committed, rape is rape. To demean the victims of such a violent crime by glibly calling a cocktail “Date Grape Kool-Aid” is to try and laugh off their pain and suffering.
Perhaps the SDF owners are too young to remember the horrific events of the Jonestown murder/suicide in 1978 where over 900 people drank Flavor-aid laced with cyanide and other drugs, killing themselves and their children in the largest single loss of American civilian life in a deliberate act until Sept. 11, 2001, but I remember it. Whenever I hear someone flippantly use the term, “drink the Kool-Aid” to mean blind, uncritical acceptance, I picture in my mind the bodies of all of those children whose mothers knowingly gave them that murderous cocktail, and the other 900 bodies strewn around the ground in that horrifying scene.
The response of the owners of SDF to requests to change the name of the drink has been to tell the protesters to grow up and get a sense of humor. With this response, I wonder what their attitude would be if a woman asked for help when she was intimidated by a man at that bar. Would they ignore a plea for help? Tell her to grow up? The insensitivity shown by SDF in this situation is astounding, especially considering this is their first week of business.
Words have meaning, and I want to hear the SDF use some new words. Sorry. Understand. Change. Then the community of Spokane that has protested so vehemently against this revolting name can use new words too. Thanks. Forgiven. Relieved.
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