Thursday, September 6, 2007

David Wright or Wrong

Narrowly edging out competition like,, and, is now officially the coolest site on the World Wide Web. The site is a promotion put out by Vitaminwater that asks fairly whimsical trivia questions about David (would he rather be a) a member of the goonies, b) a passenger on the Millennium Falcon, or c) an intern for Indiana Jones), and then provides commentary on the answers in the form of up-beat video clips of the star. Disappointment does set in eventually when the supply of questions runs out after four or five, and returning to the site does not yield a fresh supply of questions but only the ones that you have already answered. Compensating for this deficiency is a store locator that will direct you to the nearest Duane Read based on your zip-code.

David Wright has been drinking Vitaminwater since the minors and endorsing it for almost as long as he has been in the majors; when he was given a large contract by the Mets last year, he invested a significant portion of his new wealth in the company. I always found this odd, since the only other celebrity endorser of Vitaminwater that I could think of was 50 Cent; I used to wonder if they ever ran into each other at corporate events, and if it was awkward if they did. At first, I thought that this was just another manifestation of the generally superior marketing strategy employed by Vitaminwater—by having such disparate endorsers, they manage to effectively double the appeal of their brand.

After a little contemplation, it dawned on me that there is basically nothing odd or anachronistic about a potential social interaction between David Wright and 50 Cent. The former is an ultra-clean cut, patriotic and upstanding young baseball player and the latter is a rapper whose reputation is based almost entirely on the fact that he got shot a whole bunch of times while selling crack; you could say that they represent the two poles of the American pop-cultural soul. My impression, however, is that both of them represent their pole, not out of ideological convictions, but out of something closer to accident. Their affiliations, David as the poster boy of the establishment, Fifty as the angry voice of the criminal ghetto, are at the end of the day aesthetic, not political, choices; as aesthetic choices there would be little animosity in either of them for someone who chose differently. If either of them embraces any politics at all, it is not any politics in the traditional sense, a politics based on race, or class, or ideology, but rather an almost completely un-ideological politics of success.

Fifty is from New York, so the chances are about even that he is a Mets fan—approximately the same as the chances that multiple Fifty Cent songs are among the most commonly listened to tracks on David’s iPod (or were until Fifty started to become unpopular recently); if they ever do meet, at Vitaminwater’s Christmas party, I’m sure that they have lots of things to talk about: expensive things to do with your car, the best ways to dodge the tax-bite on a two million dollar bonus, and how the refreshing properties of Vitaminwater allows them to handle the demands of their respective, vigorous, careers.

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