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Bibles, beer, two blokes in blue suits and the seven minutes I'll never get back

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Well, that was weird. Having feasted on the lulz last week while compulsively hitting replay on that Department of Finance recruitment video, you'd think that as a nation we'd had our fill of bizarro YouTube moments.

But nope.

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Because here comes the Bible Society and a beer company, and two white blokes in blue suits talking about marriage equality. And hot on their heels, the savage backlash to the Bible Society and a beer company and two white blokes in blue suits talking about marriage equality.

Maybe it was just my Twitter yesterday. Maybe this didn't break out anywhere else, but it did break out all over my timeline, with angry barmen throwing stubbies of Coopers into a rubbish bin, and angry beer drinkers posting carefully composed pictures of more Coopers going down the kitchen sink, and lots and lots of angry tweetenvolk letting Coopers have it for that thing they did with the two white blokes and the Bible Society and the beer.


Deep breath.


I love a good internet pile-on as much as the next bloke – and the next bloke is an egg with 12 followers and some pretty serious undiagnosed emotional problems – but having taken in the flat-out inexplicable weirdness of that video, I'm struggling to understand the rage. This might be because I'm speaking from a position of profound ignorance, but I'm a commentator damn it and that's what we do. So I'm doing it now.

Andrew Hastie, the conservative white man in the blue suit who argued against marriage equality, was wrong so many times on so many points I lost count of how often I wanted to dive in through the screen and get all ranty and Kermit arms with him.

And Tim Wilson, the crazy-sock-loving libertarian with a woody for water-cannons looked profoundly uncomfortable even as he advanced a neoconservative argument in favour of marriage equality.

The exchange seemed a reasonable if shallow debate and I don't know why the Bible Society or the South Australian beer was there, but they were and so everyone lost their shit.

But why? Seriously. I'm not sure, other than to retread Andrew Hastie's statement that "We're reflexively hateful of our opposition."

It's both wrong and right. It downplays the hard truth in this instance that a lot of opposition to marriage equality is actually way hateful. But it also captured, indeed pre-empted, the intensity of the backlash against Coopers for supporting the venture.

The brewer eventually freaked out enough to start denying it had sponsored or supported the video in any way, a fact belied by the long, lingering money shots on those frosty bottles of light amber ale and the three participants toasting the brewer on screen and thanking them for their support.

It didn't help.

But having lost seven minutes of my life I'll never get back again – thanks a lot Bible Society – I  came away thinking the outrage was misplaced. The debate was even-handed, if a little anodyne and wilfully ignorant of the real and violent passions this topic arouses, especially among Twitter eggs with 12 followers.

But WTAF were these two numpties doing shooting a promo spot for a beer company within the grounds of Parliament House? Or anywhere, for that matter?

They could have been debating which of Buffy's boyfriends was the worst for the 20-year anniversary of the most important show on television and it would still have been bizarrely inappropriate to sit there necking the product of an industry they're responsible for regulating.

But nobody seems to be talking about that.