Monday, June 18, 2007


So after I burst out laughing in the middle of a very quiet coffee shop in Newport, RI, I decided to post this hilarious new clip from the DPA. Incarecerex can help those politicians suffering from Chronic Re-Election Paranoia (CREEP). Without it, many politicians would be out of office and millions of dollars a year would be saved.

Check out more on Incarcerex. This should really be put on television.


Tom Angell said...

I think this new DPA flash ad is put together very well, but I worry that the piece sends the wrong message for reform right now.

The conventional wisdom is that being "tough on drugs" is politically smart and that supporting drug policy reform will result in punishment at the polls. The ad buys in to this false conventional wisdom, when in fact, as you know, the public overwhelmingly supports many incremental reforms.

I think what we want to do is highlight the fact that the public is ready for reform, not proliferate misconceptions that justify legislators' decades-old fears of taking action.

My feelings about the ad remind me of the MPP poll from a few years ago about medical marijuana. When asked if they support the issue, an overwhelming number of respondents (about 70 percent) said they did. But when asked if they thought the majority of people support the issue, their own support notwithstanding, a much smaller number said yes (something like 20 or 30 percent).

Clearly, there is a huge misunderstanding about how ready the public is for reform, and I think the ad doesn't help us get over that bump. I worry that it actually hurts us a great deal in making our case to legislators that the public wants them to do something about all these problems. Ultimately, I worry that the message plays into something I unfortunately hear all the time when I tell people that I'm working to end the War on Drugs for a living:

"It's never going to happen."

I love DPA, and agree with fully 99 percent of what they do. And while I think this ad is pretty and designed very well, I think the message is way off the mark.

JT Barrie said...

It should be noted that 99.99% of the problems related to drug abuse could easily be dealt with by laws existing in the mid nineteenth century. Since when would any proposed legalization scenario excuse bad behaviors done while under the influence? Since when could contracts and legal obligations be ignored because of drug use? On another subject: since when were crimes against Jews, Blacks and Gays ever legal because of the ethnicity of the victim? Since when were shootings legal because guns were legally acquired? All these laws restricting commerce and choices don't change behaviors. More "permissive" laws regarding personal choices won't change the consequences that go to people who commit crimes. Where are the "small government" and "personal responsibility" talk show hosts with their supercilious attitudes when it comes to these rogue legisliars?

Jonathan Perri said...

I agree. It does imply that the public overwhelmingly supports the tough on drugs mentality. But is that not typically the case?

I don't think that if people were more educated on the actual impacts of mandatory minimums, drug testing, etc..., that they would fall for this "tough on drugs" message. But when a politician gets up to the podium and starts saying how he is going to get drugs out of schools, crack down on dealers, and make the world a safer place for your children, I think an overwhelming amount of voters buy the bullshit. For many voters, when a candidate can say that he put "X" number of drug dealers/users behind bars and off the streets during his time in office, that could make them support his/her re-election.

On the other hand if these politicians were to boast that they put "X" number of users into treatment at a fraction of the cost of incarceration and signed a bill for the medical use of marijuana for the sick, the public may support that candidate just as much or even more. The ad did fail to point that out and I can see how, in that respect, it does not help the push for reform.

I think the animation targets the fact that people buy the b.s. in the hopes that there actually will be less drug abuse and addiction because many of them are not educated enough on the subject. Drugs are bad mmmkay.

I totally agree w/ ya Tom. I just also think that the video points out that increases in prison sentences, stricter laws, and more arrests are all "solutions" that are typically embraced by both politicians and a large portion of Americans (regardless if they work). And its funny. I like funny.