Feb 11, 2014

The One With The Date Grape Daiquiri

Image courtesy of The Inlander

I have decided to throw this out there for those who are inexplicably supporting The Spokane Downtown Daiquiri Factory in their decision to name a drink at their new establishment, "The Date Grape Kool Aid".  Perhaps this is a fool's errand, in thinking that I would get a rational response, however being that I live in Spokane, and it's kind of frustrating to have the name of the city I live in constantly being associated with these people, I feel like I had to at least try to reach out and figure out just where their heads are at.

I have a question for those who are behind the naming of this drink, Jamie Pendleton the owner of the bar in question, as well as a local radio station, and for those who are still supporting him. 


My question is this:  Okay, so say we take you, and your supporters, at your word.  Say we agree that you had no intention of referencing date rape in naming your drink "Date Grape Kool Aid", despite the fact that there's only one single letter added to Date Rape to get to "Date Grape", and despite many date rapes occurring after plying a woman with drinks, sometimes spiked with something.  In fact, according to R.A.I.N.N. (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) a woman is sexually assaulted ever two minutes.  As if that wasn't scary enough, on average there are nearly 240,000 sexual assaults per year. 

That's the ones that are reported, mind you.  Also that only covers the women, that doesn't even take into account the number of men who have been raped.  In fact, and this is the most astoundingly shocking statistic, there are actually more men who are raped each year in this country, than there are women raped.  Not to diminish the horrific nature of women being raped, but I think that many people, when they hear "Rape", they perhaps immediately think that a man has raped a woman.

However, men's rape is also a horrible thing, and sadly one that is under reported due to the male macho bullshit thing we have gone for us.


But I digress.

Mr. Pendleton, let's just take you all at your word that this was never in a million years intended to offend anyone, that when you came up with this, the idea of rape (date, marital, or otherwise) was never even in your consciousness.  Let's just for the sake of argument, say that that is the way things were.

Even if that was true, when people come to you, potential customers at that, and say "We find something you did morally and wholly offensive on a very personal level." that your responses would not be "wow, we didn't realize this could be construed that way, let us apologize and immediately change the name.  While we did not intend this to be about rape, and while we do not view our naming of the drink in this manner, we realize that there are many people out there who do, both men and women, some of whom were sadly the victim of a vicious crime such as rape, and who trigger on that drink name.  We apologize sincerely, and we will immediately change the name."?

Why would you not simply apologize and move on, instead of trying to troll potential customers, as I said many of whom were the victims of sexual violence?  I mean this isn't like you do something online, and suddenly people across the country are saying they'll never support you.  You know those people were never gonna be your customers anyway, they live in Florida or Oklahoma or somewhere.

But these are local Spokane people.  Those who support both the SDFF and the radio station, in a perfect world.   Why would you openly antagonize them while digging your heels in and planting your flag over a name as stupid as "Date Grape Kool Aid"?

Now I realize there is a tradition in bars of naming their drinks something provocative and/or sexual.  Drinks like "Fuzzy Navel", or "Sex on the Beach", "Slow Comfortable Screw Against The Wall" and "Blowjobs" are just a few of the racy drink names.  I worked at a place, temporarily years ago, called "The Jewish Mother", and one of their drinks was "The Blue Hawaiian".  That wasn't bad, but then they sold shirts that read "I Got Blue At The Mother".  That was a bit racy, of course, and as I said, I get that mentality that is at a lot of these establishments.  You wanna be hip and cool and have provocative drink names, because it's funny to watch people come up and ask the bartender for a "Blowjob" or "Sex on the Beach".

That said, they don't typically have names that invoke the sexual violation of another person, and I would imagine if they did, that the owners of that bar would at least have the good sense to apologize and do what they could to make amends.

"Boycott Spokane Downtown Daiquiri Factory
And about your response.  What's the deal with that?  When people come to you and say "your drink invokes horrible memories of sexual violation", why is it your first instinct to mock them and engage in slut shaming, as you did on your, now removed, facebook page?  Why is it that you decide to push back and, as I said, plant your flag on THIS?  And when people are coming to you saying that this is hurtful, this is offensive, why do you have to channel your inner asshole and act like you are the victim and how everyone is just overreacting?

I saw that someone on their page, whether it was Jamie Pendleton, or one of his supporters, pointing to Urban Dictionary to show that it wasn't referencing date rape.  I'm not sure what's more ridiculous: Visiting Urban Dictionary, or actually trying to use it to bolster your defense of trying to make a play on words with date rape.

I don't know where this situation is going.  Numerous advertisers have pulled out, not just from the Daiquiri Factory, but also the radio station that Pendleton owns as well.  There's been a whole flood of negative coverage for them not just locally, but also across the country.

At this point, perhaps Pendleton will view it as a surrender if he changes the name, and will go down with the ship, so to speak.  Perhaps he views this as an attack on his pride at this point, and that he just cannot change the name without feeling like he has given in to the protesters, the very protesters he mocked and ridiculed as having inferior numbers and that they supposedly had nothing better to do.

Their facebook page was removed by Facebook after they began personally attacking the women who set up the boycott page, and acquired some of her personal pictures and postings on her own personal FB page, in order to mock and ridicule her, somehow labeling her a hypocrite because a picture of hers dared to have some cleavage.

Because you know...cleavage = complicit in date rape.  Slutshaming potential customers is not how you go about a good business.  Of course, the Republican Party has been doing that for awhile now, and we can see how great that is for their business, amirite?   And when you have people like the editor at the Wall Street Journal (owned by Rupert Murdoch who also owns Fox News) putting out the idea that women who have been raped, if they had anything to drink shares equal responsibility for their rapes, and likening it to a car crash, where both parties share responsibility, then you can see where people like Jamie Pendleton perhaps has it in his head that slut shaming women, and mocking their sexual assaults might be par for the course.

And even if Pendleton didn't intend this to be a play on words with "date rape", I think it's impossible to insist that it hasn't become about that.  People who support Pendleton and the Daiquiri Factory over the "Date Grape" controversy, have been coming up with awesome ways to show that this wasn't at all about rape.  Including the fine citizen that decided to make up these shirts.

Well, here's to hoping that Pendleton wises up and changes the name.  If not for the common decency of doing the right thing, or that he finally realizes the moral shame of trying to attack sexual assault victims, just so he can keep a stupid alcoholic drink name, perhaps he'll do it because he's hemorrhaging sponsors, and he begins to lose too much money.

Because in this world, that seems to be the only thing that people like Jamie Pendleton understand.


  1. I think you're correct in that part of the problem is that Jamie Pendleton feels backed into a corner, that he can't change the name without losing face. Of course, he painted himself into that corner without any help from the protest community; he had many opportunities to address this issue in a reasonable, responsible manner and at each turn responded with hostility and outright bullying. And still, all these people ask is a simple removal of rape from the menu and a public apology--far more charitable than I'd be under the circumstances. My suspicion is that this will end in bankruptcy; while this is unfortunate, whether it does or not is entirely up to Mr. Pendleton. He has done nothing to this point to indicate that any other outcome is even possible.

  2. Beautifully stated.


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