The so-called war on drugs has long been an issue in the national press. As long as I can remember, campaigns like “just say no” have been encouraging children to stay away from illegal drugs. In the last few years, however, simple slogans have mutated into aggressively and often erroneously exaggerated media assaults. The purpose of such messages is to frighten drug users and prospective drug users into abstaining from use and to turn the public eye onto drugs in general. Two television commercials appeared during the 2002 Superbowl that suggested rather strongly that drug sales fund terrorist activities around the world. The ad I wish to examine is one in which items (presumably to be used for terrorist acts) flash on the screen, and in between, prices are listed. The ad is reminiscent of the popular credit card commercials depicting items’ prices and containing a final “priceless” item. The difference is, the first advertisement shows guns, a fake ID, a box cutter, and several other dangerous items.
The commercial opens with a nighttime view of a house. As the screen flashes to fake passports, the idea of something illegal or immoral is carefully reinforced. As the image changes, a price appears on the screen against a black background, to somehow illustrate that all of the items that will appear had a pricetherefore the money must have come from something illegal. The screen is another night view of a safe house, and then a computer. The final screen contains the text “Where do terrorists get their money? If you buy drugs, some of it might come from you.” This message is in bold white on a black screen. The color and font of this text could stand for several ideas: (1) the commercials message is pure and untainted by politics, (2) the drug trade is surrounded by evil (black), or (3), simply that the text is meant to stand out. The idea is that the message is absolute truth –that it is unnecessary to fully examine the matter. This white message, however, might end up being a very big white lie.
The theme of the story would have to do with Persistence and doing hard work through the tough times. In the story, in the beginning it starts of with john doing custodian work “mopping the lobby…. Sweeping and dusting the halls, and emptying the trash. ”(343) And it shows that he is doing low class work even though he has a good education. He is a single parent having to take care of his son “I ...
The major point of the commercial is to frighten people into supporting and even voting for anti-drug policies they never would have considered before. The images of AK-47 assault rifles, cars, bomb parts, and other equipment are clearly intended to make any American person become angry or afraid, and to lay the blame for the recent terrorist attacks partially on the drug users in our country. In addition to the terrifying images, clear text messages at the end point a big patriotic finger at drug dealers and drug users. To be fully effective, the commercial targets many different groups of people. First of all, teenagers are targeted because of the large amount of drug use in that age group. The message gives American teenagers who smoke marijuana subconscious nagging feelings telling them yet another reason why their actions are bad in the eyes of government and society.
The next target audience of the ad is the average American citizen; any non drug-using, Christian, middle-class person sees the message as hard evidence that drugs caused the World Trade Center attacks, along with any other terrorist acts within the last 30 years. The final audience for this commercial must be older people, since they do not like to think about drugs at all, let alone as tools for terrorism. If my grandfather saw the commercial, he would likely say something like, “Those jerks who blew up the buildings got their money from drugs. Don’t you do drugs, now.” This is exactly the purpose of the commercial, and since elderly voters turn out to the polls in high numbers, the commercial is now becoming a powerful political tool. The multiple images shown throughout the commercial do serve a specific purpose. The house and the computer, for example, establish the subversive nature of the activities that will follow.
Today's Drug laws seem to do more harm than good. The so-called drug war hasn't seemed to be as effective as it was intended to be. Its original intent lies in its name, to attack the drug problem in America. Nixon started the war on drugs in the late sixties to stop drug abuse at the source, the distributors. Another intention for the war on drugs was to show individuals taking part in this ...
It would be hard to assume that terrorists coordinate and perform their attacks without the help of computers, so while illustrating this, the commercial manages to quietly accuse computer companies and computer hackers of aiding terrorism. Along the lines of hackers, cyber-terrorism has recently become a bigger problem, so perhaps the computer depicts alternate (but still highly damaging) methods of terrorism. The next image is hard to forget: a clip of a man purchasing a box cutter. The recent attacks in New York and Washington still remind all of us that even pocketknives and box cutters could be used to highjack a commercial airliner. As despicable as this reminder is, its purpose is effective and clear. The continued images are rattling: explosives, phones, cars, etc., but the theme remains the same. All of the short video segments are images of war and terrorism.
They seem to represent an assortment of terrorist goodies, so to speak. All of these images are supposed to evoke fear, anger, and pain. Instead of giving actual statistics on drug funding to known terrorist organizations, the commercial relies on strong images and weak phrasing. The words “some” and “might” in the ending text are meant to cover the actual facts by wholly generalizing the information. Not only does the commercial contain no clear factual information, but it also openly leaves doubt in the viewers mind. This doubt is exactly the kind of reaction that the commercial wanted to implant.
On one hand, I believe this commercial was unfortunately successful in that it effectively conveyed its message to the target audiences. The problem is that the commercial took the war on drugs issue a step too far. It said in no uncertain terms that drug use causes terrorism. Despite being apparently erroneous, the messages do a wonderful job of stirring emotions. Sadly, in todays age of information, customization, and pre-fabricated everything, many people do not make the effort to research and read things for themselves. An emotional response is all one needs to make decisions today.
In the following review, I will be assessing the problem a free society has when the horror of Terrorism invades our way of life. The topic has and for the most part, will be for generations to come seen as a threat to everyone living in the entire world. During the past several months, Acts of terrorism have become synonymous with everything from traveling within our country and abroad to postal ...
People have an attitude that logic and reasoning should be left to computers and people they elect do think for them. Finally, a majority of Americans do not use drugs. That fact alone ensures that most people will find the message grimly accurate. Our culture tells us to believe what we read in newspapers and see on television, so most people do. Since I was a small child, I have firmly believed that drugs are immoral and rightfully illegal. Therefore, I cannot fully detest this ad, since on some levels it achieves what many other campaigns might have failed toemotional response.
I do not believe that making generalizations is any way to educate the public though. If such commercials continue, then paranoia will begin to circulate, and eventually the world will become unsafe for all drug users, regardless of their intentions. With many problems of their own, I feel that drug users do not need added suspicion. If such a scrupulous eye is cast upon drug use, then the public may forget that terrorism has been running mostly unchecked for years. Terrorist attacks happen for many political reasons, so how can anyone assume that without money allegedly made on drugs that the terrorists will simply shut down their operations. The fact is, terrorism will probably always exist in one form or another, and even if someone has isolated something that funds it, that offers little solution for ending the conflicts.
Blaming drug users cannot stop terrorism, and it certainly cannot bring back the lives lost during the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks..