15 September 2014

592. Government ads in Australia

Sorry for getting political/cultural. Skip this if you prefer to read apolitical posts about linux and science.

Having lived in the US for a number of years (the US is far from perfect and there are plenty of things that bother me there, like healthcare, gun laws etc.) I'm shocked by how the government here patronises the population of Australia.

Government ads in Australia can be divided into two types:
1. You're a criminal/idiot and will be caught
2. We're going to gross you out/make you depressed to make you stop [smoking, eating, take drugs etc.]

Note that I think I always pay for using public transport, that I think it's bad to smoke, that you shouldn't be fat, and that you should use sun screen.

So what should  they do instead? I don't know.  But in my mind there's a difference between the populist and the reasonable way of doing things:

Populist: Everyone else is a criminal. This ad is actually for you, upstanding citizen, so that you can feel better about yourself, and so that you think we're doing something about the hoons and yobs that constitutes everyone else but you.

Reasonable: Instead of using shock tactics or crude populist messages we will explain why it's a good idea to do or not do something. We will give you a choice without calling you names, since we are serving at your pleasure, and not the other way around.

The bottom line is that I don't like a "the end justifies the means" mentality -- we are not serfs to the public institutions, but should only let them serve us at our pleasure. When bureaucrats find it acceptable to patronise the people they are meant to serve, then something is wrong.

Either way, I managed to find some of the videos that have disturbed me over the years in Oz. I wouldn't even say that these are the worst ones, but we'll have to make do with what's on youtube.

Category 1:
You are bad, bad person -- "This stealing will be rubbed out/ You will be caught:"

The party's over - we will get you. Oh, and these crackdowns have nothing to do with raising revenue. Of course.

Freeloaders -- you're a criminal. Note that you can't pay cash for a fare onboard, but you can pay your fine on the spot -- in cash.
Note that the public transport ticket inspectors have pushed for getting guns! Luckily the Victoria police wasn't impressed.

Category 2:

These are shown during prime time when children are watching. If I had grown up here I would've had some seriously disturbing nightmares.

Let's invent a new, emotive name and pair it with disgusting pictures -- Toxic fat:
"You can actually hear the cancer":

Let's just plain gross you out:

A mild one -- There's nothing healthy about a tan:

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