Monday, January 12, 2009

The Grinch Who Stole Sparks

After I had posted on Saturday about the ban on Sparks energy-beer, I couldn't stop mulling it over in my mind, like a lover that left on unfinished terms. Something just didn't add up. What exactly happened to make MillerCoors agree to stop producing it? It not like it's easy to push around giant multinational corporations. What powerful entity had the clout to put the kibosh on the Sparks party??? Who killed Sparks?????

Well, it turns out it's this guy:


Michael F. Jacobson is the head of a nonprofit organization called the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which lobbies for stricter food and beverage regulations. The CSPI convinced five states' attorneys general that the combination of energy and booze in Sparks was dangerous, and the attorney generals brought a lawsuit to MillerCoors. MillerCoors settled and agreed to take the energy ingredients out. You can read the CSPI's press release about it here.

Thanks a lot, Mr. Party Pooper.

I don't want to sound like too much of a hardline Libertarian private-militia type, but I don't like the government stepping in and forcing a company to stop producing a popular product that's safely enjoyed by many adults, just because there's a risk that some teens might go nuts on it. This isn't like cigarettes where there's a genuine health risk to anyone who smokes them; this is a ban on a product because of the potential behavioral affect it might have on a specific group (teens) who are already legally banned from using it. Sparks isn't unhealthy for you, it just might make you act like an idiot. And goddammit if it isn't my right to choose if I want to act like an idiot or not.

Look, I know this isn't exactly the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in terms of important issues, but this is your government, and it's being bullied by some nerd with wire rimmed glasses and a Just for Men dadstache who hates to party. Petty as it sounds, this is one small issue that stands for a lot of bigger issues. You've gotta fight for your Right to Party. Here's what I propose:

Write an email to Michael L. Jacobson. Tell him you're a responsible adult, and you don't appreciate what he did - you already have one dad to resent and that's plenty. Copy and paste the following email to him at cspi@cspinet.org:

Dear Michael L. Jacobson,

I am writing to let you know that you are officially NOT invited to any more of my parties. Because your organization was responsible for killing Sparks, you're kind of a party pooper. You're going to really miss out, because if you were at my party, you'd be doing some wild dancing, members of the opposite sex would suddenly look more attractive than usual, you would have made friends with a stranger in line for the bathroom, and you probably wouldn't be able to remember all of it the next day. Too bad you'll miss it.


Sincerely,

[Your Name], [Age ]
[Your Mailing Address]

If you send this and CC me - sorryimissedyrparty@gmail.com - I will mail you a homemade "FREE SPARKS" pin as a thank-you. That's right - I will mail you a homemade pin. How LiveJournal is that?!


Facebook this shit - get all your friends to write in. Tell those weird high school friends you feel awkward about keeping in touch with anyway to write in. Yes, I know an email-writing campaign won't reverse the decision, but I want this organization to know that there's actually responsible adults out there who enjoyed Sparks are and NOT grateful they took it away.

Oh, and if you're under 21, please don't send him the email (it will undermine the Cause) - if you want a pin, and you're under 21, let me know and I'll send you one anyway.

UPDATE: Sorry, I have no more pins, but feel free to write a letter anyway. Thanks to everyone who wrote in!

33 comments:

rachel said...

god i love you katie.

Anonymous said...

Funny, I was about to write the same thing.

Kerry said...

I appreciate your rage and sense of civic activism (Ghandi would be proud) but your commentary may be better directed at MillerCoors. You're not going to change this guy's mind, and all the emails are only going to fan the flames of his "cause."

Here's the URL of the MillerCoors contact form: https://millercoors.com/feedback.aspx

Drop them a line and let them know that if we've lost Sparks, they've lost an entire generation of socially-active YoCos with disposable income.

Fight for your right to drinks Sparks!

Katie said...

I don't have any delusions this is going to change anything or bring back Sparks; I just want this guy to know there's people out there who are pissed off.

matt said...

They should outlaw Kool-Aid... because that was the #1 mixer in my college daze...

Anonymous said...

his personal email is mjacobson@cspinet.org. he's a huge party pooper and also a total asshat, so i don't think he'll mind not being invited to your parties. but i commend the campaign. cspi thinks they're doing some huge favor to people by saving them from themselves when actually they're just grumpy food nazis.

Deef said...

I'm reading all this from Germany and well... I'm really impressed by your commitment, Katie.

In Germany we don't even have a product like Sparks. We do the classic Red Bull Vodka mix to reach coma.

Maybe I should start a business with a copy of Sparks. A nice German brand name for that kind of Drink could be "BLITZ". .-)

Anonymous said...

OH NOEZ NO MORE SPARKS. Just pop a caffeine pill with your beer and stop whining.

kdub said...

This is awesomesauce to the highest power.

late to the party said...

Totally just sent that email... I'm so excited!

PS got some friends to email too... you're invited to any of our parties.

Ethan said...

Just wanted to leave my own Sparks love:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fassination/89152469/

Tommy said...

A Sparks zine of goodbye letters:
http://birdsong.trapdoors.org/rc_issue01.html

Katie said...

Whoa, my friend Cat is one of the contributors on that. I'll have to get one!

Tommy said...

ooh cools send me your mailing address and I'll send you one thomaspico [at] gmail.com

Leila said...

I want a pin! Please?

leilalatex |at| gmail |dot| com

Also, your blog is the best.

Anonymous said...

ok somebody just make an identical of sparks and give it some cheap name. cuz yea i need it! or i will die. :(

Anonymous said...

this is making my bestie cry!

Anonymous said...

I thought this was hilarious! Great idea. I'm going to take the "serious" route in my e-mail, what do you all think *ahem*:
The tax payer money used in the campaign against MillerCoors brand Sparks would have been better spent on significantly more beneficial endeavor. For example, teaching youth personal responsibility, alcohol education and abuse prevention. Instead, you chose to use a non-proactive limited-scope lawsuit which is the antithesis of a democratic, free market society.
Is it the National Association of Attorneys General's goal to continue a bullying campaign against all caffeinated beverages that could be mixed with alcohol? That is what it will take to achieve what you set out to accomplish with the Sparks lawsuit.
It’s a pity the American public wasn’t more aware of these types of browbeating actions supposedly done on their behalf. Of course, if public awareness were the goal, such a lawsuit would never have been necessary.

great stuff, eh! too bad it won't bring sparks back :(
i'm emailing the jacobson guy and the person who was listed on the maine attorney general site as a contact, http://tinyurl.com/9svht6

Ally said...

I want a pin! I'm under 21 though.

But I do support civilian protests=D

413xexistsxoxo@gmail.com

Morgan said...

Man, I love you.

Lula Season said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lula Season said...

Moreover, even if it Sparks did pose health risks (like, tobacco intake is purported to do), it is my damn decision to harm myself if I so choose! Is cutting yourself illegal? Is having promiscuous unprotected sex illegal? Is having your drivers license at the tender age of 16 when all you really wanna do is get high and drive or get drunk and drive, preferably with a carload of like-minded BFFLs illegal? No. So back off, Sparkicidal maniacs.

That would be my two cents.

Anonymous said...

Bad for teens, WTF? Alcohol and caffeine when mixed is potentially dangerous because you are mixing an "upper" with a "downer" increasing chances of a heart attack. I completely agree government shouldn't be regulating things like this, but any merit your post had was completely lost when i realized you have no idea what you're talking about.

Funny sight tho. Suck it

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Viagra Without Prescription said...

when the grinch stole the X-mas I feel so happy, really I feel some relief cos I hate X-mas, but someone stole my beer, dude that's a terrible mistake.

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