Manolo says, look, the calculating hippie devils behind the Birkenstocks, they enjoy the abuse heaped upon them by the peoples of sensibility and style.
“Nothing says, ‘I want to tell you how to live your life’ more than Birkenstocks,” said Jason Reitman, the director of the film, which is to open in New York, Los Angeles and Washington on Friday. “The visual registers immediately. There’s something about the shoe that is universally understood that makes it so funny.” The sandals are emblems of liberal do-gooderness, he said, and the senator — a villain in the movie — wants to “regulate the world.”
Though real Birkenstock wearers may come in all political persuasions, using the sandal to represent the pushier side of liberalism is a long-running joke. As it turns out, Birkenstock doesn’t mind at all.
“He’s wearing the Vermont costume,” Scott Radcliffe, the marketing director at Birkenstock Distribution USA, said of Mr. Macy’s character. Mr. Radcliffe said that the “Birkenstock-wearing, granola-crunching, Volvo-driving fill-in-the blank stereotype” emerged in the broader culture without any doing on the company’s part. The company finds it entertaining, he said, that the sandals have reached the kind of status that qualifies them for movie close-ups, even disparaging ones.
“To me a Birkenstock fan looks at that, laughs and is not alienated,” he said.
To me, the Manolo, the person who looks at the Birkenstock and is not horrified is the person who cannot be trusted.
But, chacun à son goût, everyone has the right to look as stupid as he or she chooses.
P.S. Many thanks to the Manolo’s old friend the Wayne for the link to this story.