The most interesting man in the world

Beer, publishing and critical thinking

The author, a retired Chico State philosophy professor, is an “aficionado of the flamenco arts.” He did commentary on North State Radio for 10 years and wrote a column for the CN&R in the late ’90s called Parker at Large.

I should say here at the outset that this column is not about me. I am certainly not the most interesting man in the world. In fact, I am actually the fourth most interesting man on my block.

But I do have an interest in the Most Interesting Man in the World. For one thing, I like the Dos Equis commercials that he appears in. I like the one where the voiceover tells us that he once had an awkward moment just to see how it feels, and the one where we’re told that the police often question him just because they find him interesting.

The actual guy in the commercials—the actor—is a fellow named Jonathan Goldsmith, a guy from the Bronx who played secondary roles in television shows for years, and got the MIMW job five years ago, when he was exactly my current age. (There may still be hope, should I find something interesting to do.)

Recently, while my co-author and I were working on a new edition of a college textbook on critical thinking that we revise from time to time, I had to update some material on advertising, credibility, self-deception and such. I wanted to run a still shot of Mr. Goldsmith in full MIMW character, surrounded by beautiful companions. The point of the photo was to have been in the caption. It was simply: It is no doubt true that this commercial has sold many barrels of Dos Equis beer, but there is absolutely no reason in the world to think that drinking a Dos Equis instead of a Corona will make you even the tiniest bit more interesting to anybody you will ever meet. To believe otherwise is to engage in the most wistful of wishful thinking.

I thought this would make a great visual in the text while making a solid point. My colleague agreed. So I requested use of the still shot from McGraw-Hill, our publisher, and the photo editor said he’d go after it. Soon, however, we got word that the people who do the Dos Equis ad would not let us publish the photo. Since the textbook would be read largely by young people, they said, they were afraid that using the photo would encourage beer drinking among America’s youth.

I’m thinking the people at Dos Equis could use a course in critical thinking.