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This blog used to be about politics. Not so much anymore as I have worked through my fascination with that subject. It now seems appropriate that with a new president and the end of the Bush nightmare that I move on to new subjects that are more in line with my current interests. I may still occasionally express an opinion about political matters but for the most part I will be commenting on music, photography and personal observations. Thank you for reading.

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Just tell her parents you weren't watching her because you were blogging, they'll understand.

Now seems like a good a time as any to address an issue I've been wanting to write about. Its best to tie more than one thought together, hopefully it makes for a more interesting read.

For years Adbusters has been trying to buy airtime on the major networks to promote their campaign for Buy Nothing Day, advocating a refrain from shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. They are consistently turned down because the networks say they don't run advocacy ads. Which is odd, because they do. Recently CBS announced that they would reject ads from both Moveon.org and PETA because they don't run controversial ads. Controversial being in the eyes of the beholder apparently. I think Tina Fey on SNL had a great line about the rejection of the Moveon.Org ads:

CBS announced that it will not air moveon.org's winning anti-Bush ad during the Superbowl, saying they don't air so-called Issue Ads. Unless the issue is that girls are sluts for beer.

So CBS, who has a license from our (lets admit ownership) federal government to use the public airwaves for their own profit get to decide what constitutes "controversial"? I personally find most commercial advertising deceptive. And I really find the ads from the National Office of Drug Control Policy irritating as they cross the line into blatent distortion of facts and fearmongering. Yet these ads which are funded with our tax money are gladly accepted by CBS but ones critical of the Bush Administration policies are not?

If CBS is to be consistent, then they must also adhere to this policy when it comes to the ONDCP's ads. Marijuana decriminalization currently enjoys 72% support among the American public, according to the latest CNN/Time polling data. Clearly this is a "controversial issue of public importance" that divides American public opinion, and any public service announcement on the subject that promotes only one side of this issue must be considered an issue ad.

Its hard to be an advocate for sane drug laws without people painting you as a user. But even with that stigma many people have come out in opposition to the drug laws we have that treat all drugs equal despite the obvious reality that they are not. The ONDCP ads make me want to throw something at the screen, not because I think its wrong to point out the dangers of drug use but because they are misleading. The ONDCP has come out targeting marijuana specifically.

Under the leadership of Director Walters and with the goal of supporting the President's drug use reduction goals, the Media Campaign was revamped in 2002 to produce harder-hitting ads and outreach that focused specifically on the harms of marijuana.

What rubs me the wrong way is that the ads exhibiting the dangers of marijuana use could just as easily apply to the abuse of alcohol. The affects of marijuana abuse that the ads depict are very similer to the affects of alcohol abuse; loss of coordination and lack of judgement. The irony of running these ads during the Superbowl are enough to make me laugh. For one of the main sponsors advertising during the big game will be Anheuser-Busch, who promote a product that if abused presents similar dangers as marijuana abuse. People have died from drunk drivers! Kids have died at the hands of drunk parents like they do at the hands of stoned parents. Why the distinction? One drug, addictive and harmful if abused is legal and the other, addictive and harmful if abused is not. One will be consumed in mass quantities while the game is being played the other will be villified. Abusing one substance in your home will be acceptable, even sanctioned by society, the private use of the other will get you hunted down and even arrested.

And before you point it out, I know there are differences, but you cannot deny the harm that aalchol abuse has caused for people that become addicted and act while intoxicated. That ad with the guys at the drivethru could just as easily been about drinking. The ad about the child who is left unattended could have just as easily been about alcohol. The difference is that we have laws that restrict the use of alcohol while not making the substance itself illegal. So while you are allowed to abuse alcohol as you wish in the privacy of your own home or even in public spaces we restrict the behavior that might lead to the harm of another innocent victim.

And you see... that makes sense! What doesn't make sense is saying that the actions of marijuana users, while just as dangerous as alcohol abusers means we should outlaw the substance itself. Reading through the Marijuana fact sheet at the ONDCP website you will notice that they never say that marijuana use can lead directly to death. This is the case with other drugs that I think should be outlawed, as well as other substances that can lead to death of the consumer (Whopper anyone? Just kidding!!!). What you do notice in their fact sheet are some telling staements:

Smoking marijuana leads to some changes in the brain similar to those caused by cocaine, heroin and alcohol.


Marijuana contains the same cancer-causing chemicals as tobacco.

They make an effective case for why we should discourage and even ban use of marijuana in young people, which I would support 100%. But its the same case that is made for restricting cigarette and alcohol use my minors. I'm dumbstruck. I want somebody to make an effective case for why we should treat these substances differently.

So during the Superbowl we will see three advocacy ads. One that points out the dangers of tobbaco use, one that advocates the responsible use of alcohol and one that warns of of the dangers of marijuana abuse. That these ads are NOT considered controversial is a matter of debate. That these are issue ads is incontrovertable. The way in which CBS draws the line is disturbing.

Moveon.org and PETA are asking for access to the airwaves in order to advocate their positions. I haven't decided whether we should open that floodgate or not. I'm still thinking about it. What boggles my mind is that the door is already open but the gatekeepers decide on who gets in and who doesn't based in large part on where the ad orginates. So why is it ok to advertise for responsible alcohol use, the dangers of tobacco products and the dangers of marijuana use but not ok to ask for ethical treatment of animals, and responsible government action regarding spending?

I dare say a decade ago, before the lawsuits, the tobacco ads would have been taboo as well.

We either open the ariwaves for people to advocate their causes and take the weird and whacky with the good or we restrict it all. I tend to lean towards opening things up even if that means I'll be seeing ads I don't agree with saying things I find distasteful. But you this IS america, and we've decided thats they way we do things.


About Me

35 yr old
Highlands Ranch
Recording Engineer
Voted for Kerry
Voted for Obama
Philosophical Type
Omicron Male
Feminist Friendly
22.3% Less Smart

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