Is The Handmaid’s Tale wine collection the worst tie-in ever?

The ill-conceived idea to release an official define of wines based on a show about the systemic rape and abuse of women leaves a sour savor in the mouth

The Handmaid’s Tale, a show about the systemic rape, abuse and disenfranchisement of women living in a fascist theocracy formerly known as the United States, has lent its name to a line of wine.

People Magazine reported on Tuesday that the online wine marketplace Lot1 8, which has released wines in collaboration with depicts such as The Walking Dead and Portlandia, has partnered with MGM to offer three bottles: a pinot noir, a cabernet sauvignon and a white bordeaux, each based on a character from the show.

The product descriptions for the wines, dedicated to Offred, Ofglen and Serena Joy, are about as ill-conceived as the idea itself, a real achievement when taking into account the fact that wine matters as much to The Handmaid’s Tale as girls( and gay people) do to Gilead. Yes, the show goes down easier with a healthy pour. But maybe not one memorialized with the white bonnet and “Of-insert-husband’s-name” formulations that spectators associate with torment and tyranny.

Offred, played by Elisabeth Moss, is imagined as a pinot noir” so beguiling it seems virtually forbidden to savour “. This is egregious on many levels, the first being that the grape from which pinot noir is cultivated is known for being thin-skinned, which is how someone who has never seen or read The Handmaid’s Tale would describe Offred.

The description refers to both the wine and Offred as “seductive” before stating:” It’s useless to defy the wine’s smooth and appealingly earthy profile, so you are able as well give in .” I can forgive the shoehorning in of the word “resist” the way one forgives a bad papa joke: the idea, however, that Offred has any kind of sexual agency in Gilead, that humen are simply slaves to her charms, is about as close as you could get to an alt-right reading of the show.

Moving on to Ofglen, who over two seasons has been subjected to a forced clitoridectomy and put out to grassland in a cesspool of nuclear waste. Her rebellious streak, according to Lot1 8′ s website,” was the inspiration for this bold cabernet sauvignon- which, aptly, hails from the Rogue Valley “. A bottle of this wine, promising the kind of” pleasure and enjoyment” proscribed in Gilead, will cost you $20.

Photograph: MGM/ Hulu

And, ultimately, a bordeaux blanc in recognition of Serena Joy, the televangelist-turned-trophy-wife cut from the cloth of conservative ideologues like Phyllis Schlafly and Ann Coulter. In bordeaux kind, though, Serena Joy is” sophisticated, traditional and austere”, a wine we are advised not to” judge too quickly” or we might miss out on” a sublime experience “. It’s true that as the indicate has developed we’ve seen more and more layers of Serena Joy, but this description induced me think of Donald Trump’s remarks about” very fine people” at last year’s neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, which will kill even the best of buzzes.

Lot1 8, regrettably, is not the first company to merchandize a show about totalitarianism and ritualized sexuality bondage. It may not even be the most harebrained attempt: that distinction goes to sleepwear company Lunya, which last spring released a red lingerie silk defined named after Offred.

The Wing, a women-only social club and workspace in New York City, got flak for its line of Handmaid’s swag, too, which included notebooks and pens embossed with peppy dicta of female empowerment. Laura Bogart, writing for Vulture , noted that the sale of white bonnets, silk-screened T-shirts, and pink matchboxes” exemplifies this tonal unplug between the rah-rah you-go-girl-ism of the marketing plan and the deeper meaning of the demonstrate it’s promoting “.

By no fault of its own actors and novelists, who make up one of television’s most formidable ensembles, The Handmaid’s Tale has continued to give its iconography to products that fail to match up to its status. As just about everyone has noted in the last year, the show is especially resonant in today’s political wasteland. But even more timely, and Trumpian, is the garish cynicism with which these products have tried turn a profit on the show’s message.

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