A tweet posted by Elon Musk on Monday showing four cans of Diet Coke on a nightstand has prompted the Washington Post to declare drinkers of the calorie-free cola drink to be a "hardcore cult."
"They are a tribe whose allegiance to the product goes beyond brand loyalty and into something deeper," the author says.
"Sure, there are other ways people organize their identities around a preference for one thing over another: sports fans, maybe, or people with those Yeti stickers on their trucks. But Diet Coke drinkers differ in that they typically engage constantly with their beloved, aspartame-sweetened potion.
"Many imbibe all day, every day, empty cans or bottles collecting on their desktops and (like Musk) their bedsides."
The piece, written by the Washington Post’s food reporter, Emily Heil, is imbued with a patronizing disdain, using every possible excuse to paint Diet Coke drinkers as insane fanatics.
She goes on to name some of the beverage's other "unsavory acolytes," including Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein, citing a 2018 piece in the New Yorker that described Diet Coke as "the elixir of soft-bodied plutocrats desperate to shed their shady pasts and, possibly, a few pounds."
This is not the first time that Musk has expressed his love for Diet Coke.
"Diet Coke is amazing, especially the soda fountain version at movie theaters with salt & butter popcorn," Musk tweeted in June.
"I don’t even care if it lowers my life expectancy," he adds. "There's something special about enjoying movies in a theater with total strangers. I hope that never goes away."
The Diet Coke cans that sit on Musk's nightstand are also the caffeine-free variety, something he brought up in an interview with Inc. magazine in 2007 in which he states that he was drinking as many as eight cans of caffeinated Diet-Coke per day.
"I got so freaking jacked that I seriously started to feel like I was losing my peripheral vision," he told the magazine. "Now, the office has caffeine-free Diet Coke."
Heil ends her piece by reminding us that "the majority of the Diet Coke army are like people you know: the colleague who pops a can every afternoon, or the girlfriend whose car cupholder always contains at least one half-finished bottle."
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