Mr. Suatz is the Most Interesting Man in the World. We know this because a beer commercial tells us so. Mr. Suatz tells us as much, himself. After we watch his exploits in the Dos Equis commercials below, we can also form our own opinion as to whether or not he is worthy of his moniker.
So, let’s overthink this. Is Mr. Suatz the Most Interesting Man in the World or not?
First I think we must come to a consensus on what the word “interesting” even means. Is a Nobel laureate interesting? Well, yes. He or she is probably more interesting than, say, a random person you meet on the street. The question is, if a person is an expert in one field at the detriment of all others, is he as interesting as he can be?
The answer must be no. An expert in astrophysics is interesting, but not nearly as interesting as someone who is an expert in astrophysics and horse training. And that person won’t be as interesting as someone who is an expert in astrophysics, horse training, and motorcycle repair. And so on.
On the flip side, a person who is a jack-of-all trades but master of none cannot be the most interesting person in the world. A person like that can speak superficially about many topics but never as an expert. That means he would be left out of the highest levels of conversation and thus seem less interesting in comparison to those around him.
It seems to me, then, that the Most Interesting Man in the World would have to be a jack-of-all trades and master of all. In other words, he would have to have breadth and depth of knowledge in more fields than anyone else on the planet.
Is this true of Mr. Suatz? Using my powers of Overthinking, I have broken down this series of Dos Equis commercials into parts based on Howard Gardner’s theories of multiple intelligences. If Mr. Suatz is truly the most interesting man in the world with the best breadth and depth of knowledge, we would expect him to be an expert in each of the multiple intelligences: bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, naturalistic, intrapersonal, visual-spatial, and musical. Let’s deconstruct Mr. Suatz’s interesting-ness by field:
The bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.
An expert (or genius) of the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence would be extremely skilled at physical tasks.
-Mr. Suatz plays jai alai.
-Mr. Suatz competes in kendo competitions.
-Mr. Suatz enjoys spelunking at night with soldiers, attractive women, and a black man wearing a fez.
-Mr. Suatz is able to bench press two giggling Asian women at once.
-Mr. Suatz regularly beats Communist leaders in arm wrestling competitions.
-Mr. Suatz enjoys surfing.
-“His beard alone has experienced more than a lesser man’s entire body.”
-He enjoys snorkeling.
-“He can disarm you with his looks or his hands.”
-He was an astronaut.
-He carries his husky through a raging blizzard.
-He likes to catch enormous swordfish with beautiful women.
Probable level of intelligence: Near expert. Mr. Suatz’s biggest asset in this field is his strength, but his love of surfing and spelunking shows that he has good balance, as well. His time as an astronaut shows his stamina and endurance. The one athletic skill he does not seem to have is the ability to use his fine motor skills. I, for one, would like to see him sew a ruptured artery or dance a subtle ballet before I call him a full expert.
The interpersonal intelligence.
An interpersonal genius would easily get along with many people from many different walks of life.
-“His reputation is expanding faster than the Universe.”
-He always seems to be in bars with incredibly attractive women.
-“The police often question him just because they find him interesting.”
-“His personality is so magnetic, he’s unable to carry credit cards.”
-“Even his enemies list him as their emergency contact number.”
-He gets along with Pacific Islanders, Amazon villagers, and Asian people.
-“He could disarm you with his looks.”
-He once punched a magician.
-He returns to a prison every week to play canasta with the guards.
-He easily sways the other members of the UN to vote with him.
-“His charm is so contagious, vaccines have been created for it.”
-He was approached by Dos Equis to be their “Most Interesting Man in the World.”
Probable level of intelligence: Expert. Mr. Suatz, I would bet, placed many points in his charisma skill. He gets along with everyone, even his enemies. Certainly you can argue that an expert in interpersonal intelligence would not have enemies, but I get the impression that Mr. Suatz only has them because it would be less interesting if he did not.
I do wonder, however, why he punched a magician.
The verbal-linguistic intelligence.
Geniuses in this intelligence speak and write exceptionally well.
-“He never says something tastes like chicken, not even chicken.”
-“People hang on his every word, even the prepositions.”
-“He can speak French in Russian.”
-“I don’t always drink beer, but, when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.”
Probable level of intelligence: Good. Part of Mr. Suatz charisma undoubtedly comes from his ability to communicate well with others. However, I’m loath to say that he is an expert in this intelligence, because most of these items are not directly and completely related to his verbal skill. When he refuses to say something tastes like chicken even when it is chicken, I wonder if it is because his verbal skill is so high he doesn’t need to use clichés, or if he is just being contradictory for the sake of being contradictory. Likewise, people hang on his prepositions, but is this because he uses very ones or because he has interesting stories to tell, regardless of what words he uses? (Or is it simply because he has a very sexy accent?)
And what does it even mean that he can speak French in Russian?
Interestingly, the one direct piece of evidence we can use to determine his verbal-linguistic skill is Mr. Suatz’s catchphrase. Unlike other commercial spokesmen, Mr. Suatz does not speak in firm, black-or-white terms. A less skilled spokesman, for instance, would say, “Dos Equis is number one! If you want to be like me, drink Dos Equis!”
Mr. Suatz, however, understands something that was recently proven in a psychological study. When a person is perceived as an expert (as Mr. Suatz is), his words are more convincing when they are hedging. For example, someone who is perceived as an expert in economics would be more convincing if he said, “The invisible hand sometimes works but sometimes does not, depending on the situation” than “The invisible hand of the market always works, and anyone who believes otherwise is stupid.” Mr. Suatz’s catchphrase is, therefore, incredibly convincing, not only because the man is so charismatic, but because he speaks contingently and tentatively. He suggests but does not push.
We can infer from Mr. Suatz’s catchphrase and expert-level interpersonal intelligence that his verbal-linguistic skill is quite high. But, until I have more direct proof of his facility with words, I cannot dub him a true expert.
The logical-mathematical intelligence.
Experts in this intelligence are good at reasoning, particularly in scientific and mathematical subjects.
-Years ago, he built a city out of blocks.
Probable level of intelligence: Almost impossible to tell. Building a city out of blocks might take some math skills, but he also could have had underlings do the necessary calculations.
It seems that the writers and directors of these Dos Equis spots have decided that logical and mathematic skills are not “interesting” enough to be included in the commercials. To me, this is a shame. A truly interesting man would be charismatic and good at sports, sure, but why can he not also be skilled in computers and chess? The anti-geek bias in these commercials is astounding.
The naturalistic intelligence.
This most controversial of the intelligences involves a person’s ability to get along with and control nature. The ability to categorize objects, such as herbs and types of species, is important to this intelligence.
-He has a pet owl.
-Whenever he swims, dolphins follow him.
-He goes out of his way to protect animals such as husky dogs, foxes, and bears.
-He taught a horse to read his e-mails for him.
Probable skill level: Good. He has natural abilities with animals, who also seem to appreciate his charisma (or maybe they smell the cologne in his blood). A true naturalistic genius, however, would also be adept with the non-animal species. Does Mr. Suatz keep a garden, for instance? Does he know how to find edible mushrooms in the forest? Can he tell the difference between poison ivy and regular ivy? We do not know.
The intrapersonal intelligence.
An intrapersonal genius knows himself through and through. These are people who continually self-analyze to discover their true goals and how to reach them.
-“He once had an awkward moment just to see how it feels.”
-“He lives vicariously through himself.”
-He saves bears from bear traps and foxes from stereotypical British hunters.
-He finds sunken treasures just to hand them out to poor natives.
-“It is never too early to start building up your obituary.”
-On careers: “Figure out what in life you do not do so well, and then… don’t do that thing.”
-“He is the only man to ever ace a Rorschach test.”
-He believes himself to be the Most Interesting Man in the World.
Probable skill level: Expert. In my opinion, the real reason Mr. Suatz is one of the most interesting people in the world is that he actively and constantly tries to better himself. He is always trying new things to broaden his already broad horizons. Yet, at the same time, he knows himself, too. He has a firm moral compass: he loves and protects animals, and he redistributes wealth to members of poor tribes in third-world countries. He also has experienced enough to know what he should try (e.g. lifeboating with Miss Universe contestants; eating bar nuts) and what he should not (wearing too-tight pants; rollerblading).
The only thing that worries me slightly is that he is so quick to call himself the Most Interesting Man in the World. Is this because he knows himself so well that he feels comfortable enough making this claim, or is it because his ego is unnaturally and unhealthily large? It is good to have confidence, but does he have too much confidence? Personally, I think he should be a little more humble and say, “People call me the Most Interesting Man in the World. Whether or not it is true is up to you to decide.” A little bit of modesty would go a long way for me.
The visual-spatial intelligence.
Someone with strong visual-spatial intelligence is good at visualizing and mentally-manipulating objects. Artists, architects, and people with a good sense of direction use this intelligence often.
-He is good at sports that require visual-spatial abilities.
-He built a city out of blocks.
-“If he were to give you directions, you’d never get lost, and you’d arrive at least five minutes early.”
Probable level of skill: Unclear. We have no idea if his city made out of blocks is artistically pleasing. He is good at directing people to their destinations, which does suggest that he has a good natural sense of direction.
But what about the arts? One would think that the Most Interesting Man in the World would have some artistic ability, and yet we have no real evidence that this is the case for Mr. Suatz. Perhaps he does have very good visual-spatial ability but lacks the time to devote to artistic pursuits. Personally, though, it looks to me like he has plenty of time on his hands. Take a figure drawing class, Most Interesting Man in the World. It’ll be good for you.
The musical intelligence.
Someone with a high level of musical intelligence has good rhythm, pitch, and hearing.
-He helicoptered into a desert to play a grand piano.
Probable level of skill: Low. It is interesting, is it not, that one commercial showed Mr. Suatz being airlifted to a piano in the middle of a desert, yet we do not see him playing it at all. It seems to me that he put the piano in the desert for show, not to be played. A true musician would not play in the desert, anyway. What kind of acoustics would you have in a desert? Not very good ones, I’d imagine. Plus sand would get in the wires.
As we can see, Mr. Suatz is a genius in two of the eight intelligences, very good in three others, and untested in the remaining three. Clearly, he is not a jack-of-all trades and master of all, so he is not the Most Interesting Man there could ever be. Even if he is the Most Interesting Man we earthlings currently have, he still has a long way to go to reach his full potential. And when he does, I’ll be there to watch… with a Dos Equis in hand.
Ha! What a great idea for a column!
What’s also interesting about these ads is the man who plays TMIMITW, “Jonathan Goldsmith.” He’s had a *long* TV career since the 1970s scraping by on bit parts in network dramas (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0326091/), but has never done anything substantial… until now. Heard an interview with him recently about the fact that with a few of these ads, he’s now been seen by more people (and, conveniently, is better paid) than in his previous 35 years of work.
Also, I believe you’re only going off of the TV commercials… but there are also a TON of unique radio ads that have cropped up in the last year or so for Dos Equis. I wonder if someone has a list of all the other things TMIMITW has mastered — they tend to be even sillier than you see on TV (they just ran a Halloween-themed one over the last two or three weeks that was pretty ridiculous, even for the campaign).
Love the idea of the post, love the post, love the video – great find.
Totally disagree. It will be difficult to find consensus on what the most interesting man in the world means. But you conflate a Nobel laureate’s intelligence (and achievements) with interesting and run with it.
Are they interesting because they have proven proficiency or is it because of what they accomplished?
Chris Bliss does a wonderfully entertaining juggling act to the Beatles ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8f8drk5Urw ). We’ve juggled before, not like that, but most of us have. It is interesting, it piques our interest, it is entertaining.
Unlike juggling, Mr. Suatz has played jai lai, been an astronaut, and has a sexy shaggy beard. These things are hard to pull off, unique, they give him appeal and interest for their uniqueness. Most of us can’t even grow a beard like him, even less know what jai lai is, and even less could actually be an astronaut.
Mr. Suatz is interesting because he has done things that we can barely grasp. He is obviously the Chuck Norris of the Dos Equis beer campaign ( http://www.chucknorrisfacts.com/ ).
I may someday win the Nobel prize or be a world class something or another, but Mr. Suatz is interesting because he has done things we can barely grasp.
Popular opinion among his team was that his beard caused too much wind resistance.
Another penalty against his logical mathematical intelligence (or against his team of city builders).
Darin raises an interesting point, one which I’m surprised doesn’t crop up more often:
Mr. Suatz is interesting because he has done things that we can barely grasp. He is obviously the Chuck Norris of the Dos Equis beer campaign.
Many of the “facts” about this supposedly Most Interesting Man in the World are simply reappropriated Chuck Norris Facts, some of which have been circulating on the Internet for half a decade already. As the campaign has “matured” and Mr. Suatz’s persona become more concrete, they’ve relied a bit less on the old Chuck Norris jokes, but most of them still work if you replace “he” or “him” with “Chuck Norris.”
“[Chuck Norris] is the only man to ever ace a Rorschach test.”
“[Chuck Norris] can speak French in Russian.”
“[Chuck Norris’] beard alone has experienced more than a lesser man’s entire body.”
One that wasn’t in the Youtube video, but I’ve heard on the radio was “If [Chuck Norris] disagrees with you, it is because you are wrong.”
The very first time I heard a Dos Equis radio ad with The Most Interesting Man in the World, I actually thought they were advertising some kind of Chuck Norris campaign.
It seems like, at the very least, Mr. Suatz’s creators used Chuck Norris as a rough template when they were first developing him. So how can a dude who’s based on another dude even be in the running for “Most Interesting Man in the World,” huh?
Chuck Norris is the most interesting man in the world because he knows everything about a subject that you’re intensely curious about – and that subject is “Chuck Norris”.
Of course, to play the devil’s advocate, here’s another thing that just occurred to me:
“Interesting,” in 99.9% of all possible contexts (this one included), means interesting to other people. He can be great at everything, but it won’t matter at all if no one knows it.
Given that the definition of “Interesting” hinges on being thought of as interesting by other people, doesn’t that mean that inter- and intrapersonal intelligence should be weighed significantly more heavily in your average? To take it to a further extreme, one could even argue that by the definition of “Interesting,” interpersonal & intrapersonal intelligence should be the only two that count at all.
I would like to add a seconding to Jon Eric’s note. Many people find interesting people those who have, for some inexplicable reason, liked them. Many people have a deep-seeded inferiority complex. To have someone show interest in us or like us makes that person unusual or different enough to spark our interest. Why do they like us? Are they just as flawed as we are and are sympathetic, or do they see something good in us that we can’t see ourselves? I find that more interesting than whether or not he can get a piano into the desert, let alone play it. (And not only would the acoustics be terrible, but it would presumably have traveled far enough that it would be in serious need of tuning.)
@Jon Eric & Lisa: It’s funny you brought up this point, because last night at around one in the morning I said to myself, “Wait: what does interesting actually MEAN?” And that led to even more questions: “Can a still person be interesting if the people around him don’t perceive him as such?” “Can a person be considered interesting even if he isn’t objectively interesting?” “Is there even such thing as ‘objective interesting-ness?'”
I don’t know. My one counterargument against your claims that only the intra- and inter-personal intelligences matter hinges on the commercials themselves. The producers of these commercials knew that they couldn’t just show other people being interested in Mr. Suatz. That wouldn’t be enough. They had to show him practicing kendo, parachuting in from space, bringing a piano into the desert, and so on. They had to prove to us, the viewers, that Mr. Suatz was legitimately interesting in many different ways, not just interesting by hearsay. That’s why I personally think Mr. Suatz is a better candidate for “Most Interesting Man in the World” than Chuck Norris, a man who is said to be more interesting than he actually is.
Also of note: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MemeticBadass
So does that make Dos Equis the most interesting beer in the world?
I actually think the ad is encouraging us to be uninteresting ourselves. It is harping on the sheep impulse we all have somewhere inside to do as others do instead of marching to the beat of our own drum and thinking for ourselves. Suatz is “interesting” because he does the latter, and by following his example and drinking Dos Equis *because* it’s his example, we’re copying him and following *his* drum.
That is, if we drink it at all. I myself prefer anything with Kahlúa to beer. So nyaaaaaaaa, Mr. Suatz!
Okay, you’ve brought me back full circle. I agree with you.
You kind of reminded me of that awful Barry Levinson/Robin Williams abortion, Man of the Year, where Levinson spends more time letting the side characters tell the camera how funny Robin Williams’ character is supposed to be than he allows Williams’ character to speak.
“Hey, this guy is really funny!” They all say. But when the camera shows Williams, he’s just doing his standard Robin Williams improv bit. And not even very well (I like the guy, even after all these years, but he’s got his good days and his bad days).
So the Dos Equis commercials tout Mr. Suatz’s supposed “interestingness” by proclaiming his multitude of accomplishments. On the radio, it almost works, but on the radio, he sounds more like Chuck Norris than on TV, where you actually get to the see the man through effective use of stock-style footage.
On TV, it’s not nearly enough just to hear an announcer talking about these accomplishments; he could easily say the same stuff about Glenn Beck and it would be laughably transparent, but they’ve created a persona for Mr. Suatz which is mostly consistent unto itself. And that gives it an air of plausibility. I’m still never going to drink Dos Equis, but the craft behind this ad hoc mythos is increasingly evident.
You point out, of course, that the TV must actually show us the interesting things that Suatz does, that we may also be interested ourselves. Therefore, it’s not enough to see or hear about people being interested in him within his own world. He has to reach out to you and me. And you’re clearly not interested by the same things as are the people Mr. Suatz spends most of his time with.
So yeah, If he’s going to be the most interesting man in the world, he needs to be interesting to as wide a range of people as possible. Inter- and intra-personal intelligence will get you so far only with the people susceptible to that kind of charm (admittedly, a comfortable majority). But what about the astrophysicists of the world, who aren’t impressed until Mr. Suatz can actually prove or discover something about the Universe that we didn’t previously know (or even suspect)? What about the novelists of the world who won’t be impressed until Suatz writes a sonnet that can make them cry? What about the musicians of the world who won’t be impressed until Suatz can outshred the reincarnations of George Harrison and Jimi Hendrix simultaneously?
Lawski, you’re right. Until he can broaden his horizons, Suatz will still risk leaving a broad swath of the population unimpressed, and therefore uninterested.