April 10, 2016
So far, with some quibbles, I’m enjoying the second season of Daredevil. I do want to note one point to the writers. The character Elektra is shown on more than one occasion bellying up to the bar and asking for “Tequila. Mezcal if you have it.” This in an apparent attempt to show her as sophisticated and worldly, ordering a currently trendy spirit, instead of, say, scotch, or vodka.
The assumption the writer appears to be making is that mezcal is a subcategory of tequila. As if you click the “Tequila” tab and then select from a drop-down menu Blanco; Reposado; Ańejo; or Mezcal. The problem, however, is that Mezcal is NOT a type, category, or variety of tequila. Mezcal is distilled from many varieties of the agave plant. Tequila can only be distilled from blue agave. So if one wishes to nit-pick (which apparently I do) then the writers have it precisely backward: tequila is a subcategory of mezcal, not the other way around.
If one wishes to order mezcal, one simply orders mezcal. Not tequila. Imagine if Elektra had sat down at the bar and ordered “Scotch. Whisky if you have it.” In essence, that’s what the writers have done.
So, instead of making Elektra appear sophisticated and worldly, they make her appear ignorant, ill-informed about her tipple of choice.
This is an example of an unavoidable problem. No writer is a complete polymath. We all possess gaps in our knowledge base. And we’re not always aware of our ignorance. Thus we’ll write what we assume to be the truth. In many cases our gaps overlap the gaps of the majority of readers/viewers and so the error goes unnoticed by most. But there will always be readers/viewers who are familiar with the specific subject matter with which the writer was not, and for those the suspension of disbelief will be disrupted, temporarily or permanently depending on how egregious the error was.
So it goes.