Thursday, October 4, 2007

Advertising Works

The Americans are running a new series of very strong, hard-hitting TV ads AGAINST using meth.

You see young people saying, "I'm just using this a few times. I won't get hooked like Bobby."

Advertising has sold Coca-Cola, MadcDonald's and Prell successfully for quite a few years now.

Why are we reluctant to spend money here in Canada on powerful, cinematic ads that tell kids that dope is for dopes?


Alex Tsakumis writes a regular column in "24 HOURS" every Friday.

He was kind enough to pass this week's wonderful edition along:


By A. G. Tsakumis

“Double Shot”

It is an obscene and cruel slight of hand for any government, civic, provincial or federal, to suggest the greatest problem on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver is the narcotics trade.

Nor, for that matter, is it any less preposterous to say the zombie-state of Canada's most impoverished postal code is the result of refugees plying a trade that is more likely to land them in a concrete casket than a welcoming cell at the Main Street lock-up.

Instead, the obtuse grandeur of the issues facing the downtrodden on DTES is, in the main, a direct result of mental illness - and the self-medication solutions pushed by the political whip masters who don't give a damn about the living dead or their prayers.

We did this, did you know? You and I.

Because for every time any of our most cynical elected officials, at any level, leapt at an opportunity to proffer yet another uber-bogus “compassionate” drug-replacement therapy with narco-cocktails, equal in addictive draw to the street drugs they are purported to replace - we ate it - whole, every word. Lemming-like, we accepted, and some continue to do so, because we've fallen pray to the slick PR-campaign raptors.

CAST (Completely Attuned to Screwing this Town), is as much farce as any line delivered by John Cleese's Basil Faulty. The self-proclaimed (yes, they named themselves) Centre for Excellence boasts studies that drug replacement works. What they don't tell you about are the countless doctors across this country (particularly addictionologists in Vancouver), who regard those studies as junk science.

But why should only one side count in this debate?Some years ago, former Mayor Philip Owen had the foresight to recognize that a program that would stem the tide of tyranny in the DTES was a must. The Four Pillars approach was then launched, enthralling us with tales of renewed lives and families saved. Insite was born as much out of our collective compassion as it was out of aching necessity.And while Insite has managed to stem the AIDS/HIV and Hep C rates, it's been a miserable failure in achieving the best of what was promised.

After all, the Conservative government's recent reprieve notwithstanding, there has never been a 'Four Pillars' approach in this City. Never, not once.

Senator Larry Campbell must wear some of the blame. As mayor, he blithely disregarded three of four pillars, propping up only harm reduction, forgetting prevention, treatment and enforcement. On his watch, there were no treatment centers, no extra cops and no campaign to tell of the dangers of drugs.We needed four pillars, not one.

You can almost instantly buy into a pill program that will give you thicker hair, bigger breasts and towering erections (and hopefully not all at once), but nary a single ad in schools, bars or at bus stops about the lack of laurels in getting high.

Current Mayor Sam Sullivan, to his credit, certainly sees the problem, but hasn't a clue how to treat it - being instead consumed with fringe replacement therapies that might only help a minority of addicts. He has said, strangely, that he sees addiction much like his disability: never to be cured but able to be managed.

Sadly, the dead can't offer their rebuttal.

At the outset, all three of Messers Owen, Campbell and Sullivan should have petitioned the provincial government to reopen Riverview. Instead we're left with Minister Rich Coleman's policy dream of building thousands of units of luxury housing on that site.What's next Rich? Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears as drug counselors?

Meanwhile, apocalyptic prophecies about how the DTES will blow up without both the 'One Pillar' approach and CAST, will continue, so as to serve as nothing more than a common sense coma, whereby, passing off this hobbled initiative and accompanying junk science as silver bullet is easy, but not free.

It's going to cost us.

And maybe our kids.

Do you care?

Election Be Damned

The Prime Minister has thrown down the gauntlet. He says he will fight an election over our continuing military presence in Afghanistan.

Now, here's the problem.

I don't agree with him on Afghanistan, and I have written about that many times here on the blog.

But, Stephane Dion? Jack Layton?

Mr. Harper is a difficult guy to like. He is stiff and autocratic. And he is easy to cartoon and even demonize.

But he has been a reasonably clear and thankfully quiet Prime Minister to date.

Until someone better appears on a white horse over the horizon, I would have to vote for him.

Have the Liberals ever addressed their failings and criminal behaviour of the past many years in office? No. Was Dion anything other than an appointee to an allegedly elected office? No.

Could Jack Layton lead a tuba parade? Not likely?

Often, I have voted NDP in the hope of maintaining some almost human opposition. I might do that again.

Must Watch Video

Immediately Below is a link to a great interview of Chris Matthews by Jon Stewart, which has been provided by Crooks & Liars.

Watch it.

It is a revelation about what a charming sycophant Matthews truly is. He apparently believes that all of life is one big sales pitch and that's OK.

Crooks and Liars » The Daily Show: Chris Matthew’s “Book about Sadness”

Crooks and Liars » The Daily Show: Chris Matthew’s “Book about Sadness”

The Threat of the Evangelicals

To read or listen to the opinions of James Dobson is to be chilled to the bone.

Mr. Dobson is founder and head of Focus on the Family. He is power mad and he is powerful - so powerful in fact that he holds the key to the Oval Office and has for several years now.

His op-ed piece in today's NY Times is available here.

Note the way he has captured language for his own purposes.

The people who attended a meeting were "pro-family" leaders, as if all others are against families.

If you are not against abortion, as he and his disciples are, you cannot possibly hold as a value the sanctity of life.

In speaking of the "institution of marriage," he means of course no homosexuals, no gay marriage. Focus on the family has spent millions of dollars and millions of human hours in volunteer and paid labor lobbying furiously against almost anything gay.

When he speaks of "other inviolable pro-family principles," who is to know what he means. Vegetables? Playing Risk or Monoploy together after dinner?

In my opinion, Mr. Dobson and his friends are dangerous Anti-Democrats, occupying a tiny, narrow uptight band of human understanding.

Unfortunately, they got the Worst President in American History elected twice and they continue to be powerful, determined and clever.

This is a desperate shame for all of us.