A brief look at milk in popular culture
What is it about an adult taking a big swig of white cow liquid? Milk drinkers are weird and creepy because milk is a children’s beverage and its pure white color brings to mind words like “virgin,” “non-alcoholic,” “plain,” “wholesome,” “mother,” and “comfort.” (That last one is sort of confusing because pH-wise, milk is actually slightly acidic, but it doesn’t stop people from talking conflating milk with “milk of magnesia” as a stomach-settler.) There’s even an old Slavic word for milk-drinkers, Molokan, which refers to Christian sects whose traditions do not conform to Russian Orthodoxy — among other outsider behaviors, they ate dairy during fasts.
The most popular definition of a “milk drinker” in Urban Dictionary is:
An insult / derogative term deriving from the video game Skyrim, often used by City Guards to suggest a person is weak and / or young / inexperienced.
Young babies drink milk from their mother’s breasts.
and / or
Those who can’t handle mead or ale instead drink milk.
and / or
Milk in Skyrim will restore a Warrior’s resource for hard-hitting sword swings. Those who require Milk for this purpose would likely be lower-level, and inexperienced.
Don’t be such a milk drinker.
All that said, milk can be nice with cookies! I’m not anti-milk. Milk is a crucial ingredient in tons of baked goods and ice creams I enjoy making. Many adults enjoy a splash of it in their tea or a gallon of it, steamed, in their coffee. There’s just clearly some association with adult milk-and-milk-alone drinkers in popular media that signifies loudly, “THIS CHARACTER IS AN ODDBALL!!!” Videlicet:
Kalinda from “The Good Wife”
Liam McPoyle from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”:
Who could forget Anton Chigurh’s beverage of choice in No Country for Old Men?
Creepy Alex in creepy A Clockwork Orange at a creepy milk bar (notice “moloko” on the walls!!)
Hitchcock’s Suspicion and Spellbound both featured poisoned-milk situations (including the famous “glowing glass of milk” scene).
Sorry for reminding you about this scene from The Aviator—“come in with the milk”:
Michael from “The Office” drinks…just milk and sugar:
The reason we’re all here today: the Milk Drinkers in HBO’s “Westworld”…
Does it remind anyone else of the whitish substance the 3D printed “robots” are dipped in during the title sequence????
Or the Lady McDuff milk references in Sleep No More? The milk bath? The lone glass of milk? Milk of human kindness?
It’s such A Thing, they made an ad campaign about it in the UK
NEED I REMIND YOU THE NAME OF THAT MILK IS…. CRAVENDALE??!!!
This is just a very select selection of milks from popular consumer media. I’m sure there are many more I have forgotten, but you get the point: milk is weird and it means scary things are coming. Sorry about the whole “Got Milk” campaign—those guys had no idea what they were up against. But at least they tried. Cheers to you, you mustachioed creep.