I went to watch Switchfoot’s new video “Oh, Gravity” at Yahoo Music. I didn’t much enjoy the video, but I did find the anti-drug advertisment putting forth a surprising message. Apparently, the commercial doesn’t come up every time you play the video, but I found a transcript here.
The ad essentially argues that sitting on the couch smoking weed is not a happy way to live life. The protagonist teenage boy admits that smoking pot won’t get him in trouble or hurt anyone else, instead he’ll just do nothing on his friend’s couch. He compares this with the alternative of being “active,” getting out there and doing fun stuff: biking, ice-skating, playing basketball. He gets off the couch at the end and decides, “Me? I’ll take my chances out there,” gesturing out to where the action is.
Most anti-pot commercials I’ve seen before put forth the old “slippery-slope” argument: if you smoke pot, you’ll end up hooked on cocaine or heroin. When employing this argument on drug-using or pro-legalization of marijuana folk, I find that it isn’t very persuasive based on experience. This new angle seems more effective since it appeals to a positive good instead of trying to strip away happiness. I’d be interested in hearing thoughts on this tactic: Is it too lenient on marijuana users, i.e. does it downplay a real danger? Would Aristotle use this argument?
Also, check out analysis of the ad at iLiberty.org. Disappointingly, they don’t deal with the claim of the ad. Instead, they point to statistics that show how many are arrested for using pot. I would be interested in an argument by a pro-legalization person against the angle of the ad.