What About the Other Side of the Story?

Johnny Apocalypse
May 1, 2010

So there I was, watching television, when a commercial came on, warning me about the dangers of meth amphetamine abuse. Having never done meth (or any other illegal drug for that matter), and certainly not feeling the temptation, the message didn't particularly apply to me. But it did get me thinking- why not ads supporting meth use and abuse?

The answer is pretty obvious, in that meth is both illegal and does some pretty nasty stuff to your body. But the idea hits me anyway. There must be someone out there, likely a meth dealer, who would like to get a commercial or two on television. Something tells me that advertising for an illegal product is illegal in itself, but how about a public service ad?

Our media is loaded with these public service ads today. Television and radio commercials, posters at bus stops (and attached to the sides of buses in Denver, not sure about buses anywhere else). And they're all geared towards stopping people from using drugs, drinking too much, smoking, having unprotected sex, keeping rabid lemurs as pets, etc. Considering the diversity of viewpoints to be found in this county, there are bound to be some groups who want to encourage these pastimes and dangerous activities. And that's my question, why don't we get the other side of the story?

Take smoking as an example. I see ads complaining about how many people die every year from smoking, about how many toxins and carcinogens are in one cigarette, and so on. But why don't we ever see ads supporting cigarette smoking? I'm sure the tobacco companies and tobacco lobbyists would be happy to get some ads up, and maybe even some private interest groups.

Here's an idea for a commercial: A guy is standing on a street corner having a smoke. Some nosy jerk comes by and, being an asshole, feels the need to say "that cigarette is going to kill you."

Mr. Smoker isn't put off by his remarks. He simply shrugs and says "maybe it will, maybe it won't."

Now the passerby feels emotionally invested in this argument, and angrily turns towards the smoker. "What, you don't believe that cigarettes cause cancer? Because that's a hard proven fact!"

Mr. Smoker takes a long, thoughtful drag of his cigarette and says "more people die in car accidents than by smoking-related cancers. If I die in a car accident tomorrow, this cigarette didn't do me too much harm, now did it?"

The asshole becomes enraged, prepares to start ranting and raving, when the smoker's words suddenly hit him. "You know, you're right. Can I bum one of those?"

Then we have the anti-gun commercials. We get statistics about how many accidental firearm-related deaths there are every day, tales of murder and suicide, and god knows how many other problems people have with guns. Why don't I see pro-gun commercials? The only one's I've seen come out when anti-gun laws come up on the ballots, and the NRA forks out some money to convince people that the law is no good.

What I'm referring to would be general public service ads in favor of guns. We could get plenty of stories of people who have protected their families from murderers, rapists, invading aliens. But in particular I have two commercials in mind.

Commercial one, a close up of the face of a hard man, a harsh look in his eyes. "I'm Joe Smith," he says. "I was a Navy SEAL for over twenty years, and I participated in over thirty combat operations. I can kill you with a pencil sharpener or a DVD case just as easily as I can with a gun. Why not outlaw pencil sharpeners and DVD cases instead?"

Commercial two is even better. Some teenager is being a holy terror, arguing with mom and dad, trashing the house, playing his guitar too loud. Instead of whimpering in the corner and wondering why their kid is a douche bag, dad pulls out his 9mm, sticks it in the punk kid's mouth and tells him to shut the fuck up. The kid grabs a textbook and starts studying to become an accountant.

And finally, we come to the anti-drug ads. The most common of which are those pleading to parents to keep their kids drug-free. I'd like to see a commercial encouraging parents to get their kids on drugs, if for no other reason than to get something new on television.

Black and white camera, kid sitting in his room staring at the wall. Father's voice-over fades in.

"My son is absolutely worthless. He's as dumb as a brick. He's too weak to lift a five pound bag of dog food. The only thing he's any good at is playing 'Guitar Hero.' He might as well become a junkie."

"Paid for by the Committee to Get Teens Addicted to Heroin."

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