What would happen if bored public health bureaucrats started dreaming of what it would be like to do something interesting for a change … like directing a shock-horror film?

Actually, they must have such dreams quite often, since they’ve obviously found ways of making them come true. The “shock” public service announcements that began decades ago (if you’re American you might remember “This is your brain … this is your brain on drugs”) have mutated into a habitual, untroubled media-savvy manipulation of emotion in the service of “getting the message across”. There’s nothing controversial about this, since it’s now readily accepted that raw emotion, not reason, is the way to make an argument.

As Public Health loses its moral mooring along with the rest of society, and as “zero tolerance” (an Orwellian slogan if ever there was one) hardens into the increasingly brutalised surveillance society, we see some pandering to the worst possible visceral emotion in the cause of “denormalizing” certain behaviours. In the ad broadcast within the link below, it is clear that some bright light decided that outrageously sexist male-bashing might be a good way to encourage young men to use condoms.

This ad is almost too sick to be believed. Some of thoughts spring to mind: did anyone’s tax money pay for this? Is there an equivalent “tunnel of doom” advert for gender balance that graphically depicts sex-murder perpetrated by women? Don’t any of these people have rather nice teenagers, and don’t they hope that these nice teenagers will find a way out of the sex wars that triumphs over misogyny and misandry? Sure, there’s a market for psycho-sexual thrills and spills, but let’s leave it for the cult art-house filmmakers, shall we? It sure as hell doesn’t belong in a public health PSA.


Additional commentary (video)



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