"I help blow up buildings"
February 4, 2002 8:06 AM   Subscribe

"I help blow up buildings" was just one of the explosive statements to come rapid-fire at viewers of the SuperBowl. Is the war on drugs back in full force?
posted by glennie (51 comments total)
link requires Quicktime
posted by glennie at 8:07 AM on February 4, 2002

It's seems September 11th was all my fault for buying a bag of pot back in high school.

Nevermind that it's the silly drug laws that inflate the prices and put the system in place that lets the bad guys get rich from a product Americans have no trouble getting despite the "war on drugs."
posted by bondcliff at 8:10 AM on February 4, 2002

I thought they made a good point. Do your part: buy only American-grown and American-made drugs.
posted by UncleFes at 8:10 AM on February 4, 2002

It could just be me, but this seems kind of tacky to me. Is it valid or just another agency using Sept. 11th for its own means?
posted by Hackworth at 8:12 AM on February 4, 2002

There was one of these anti-drug spots liast night where a woman says "my body, my choice"......which immediately made me think of something else King George really doesn't like.

A little subliminable anti-abortion messaging in the middle of the "this foo = terrorism" meme , or am I just imagining it?
posted by briank at 8:15 AM on February 4, 2002

and here I was thinking the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, and People For the American Way were to blame.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:18 AM on February 4, 2002

Me too, Fes. Grow yer own is a much better strategy.

I have had several friends destroy themselves with cocaine, and I have always thought karma had a weird part in it. I always mentioned to them how much blood and misery was attached to the coke they were hoovering up. From the supply-side in Colombia to the low level street dealers, may people had to die and get maimed, hurt, politically oppressed, threatened, beat up and bullied to get that blow from the fields to their noses. The drug trade plays off the misery of the most downtrodden in the world (see also, Afghanistan- opium trade of,).

Anyone who is concerned about human rights shouldn't be going near hard drugs. Switch to chronic, move to California and start some plants in the garden. It's much healthier for you and the world.
posted by evanizer at 8:21 AM on February 4, 2002

If you pay federal taxes you support terrorist.
posted by wfrgms at 8:22 AM on February 4, 2002

The arguement of the ads: Because they grow opium poppies in Afganistan, you buying smack on the street here helped the Taliban to stay in power.

But, of course, life is more complicated than the ad men can squeeze into 1 minute. Here's a quote from an October report "The lion’s share of production, in the wake of the Taliban’s July 2000 ban, reportedly takes place in areas controlled by the Afghan opposition." (page 2 of pdf, here). Doesn't that mean that the Northern Alliance is really producing a lot of heroin?

But we can't let *that* influence our on-the-fly determination of who's a good guy or a bad guy, can we?

Plus, the same PDF states that, though 70% of the world supply of herion originates in Afganistan, most of it is sold in Europe, not the US.

I think these ads are part of a bigger campaign -- to directly argue against the libertarian argument that drugs are a 'victimless crime'. The ads tried to find victims of you quietly shooting heroin or doing lines of coke in your bedroom -- the judges who get killed in Colombia or the terrorists who use the money from the drug trade to do bad stuff.

It's certainly more compelling than discussing the 'dangers' of marajuana use which include "getting arrested" and "messing up your life".

At least this is sort of quasi-plausible, if myopic.
posted by zpousman at 8:32 AM on February 4, 2002

Damn, I didn't know that the hippy down the street from me growing the killer four way nugs was a terrorist.... thank you war on drugs!
posted by uftheory at 8:33 AM on February 4, 2002

The purchase of anything on the black market, by definition, funds criminal organizations. In the United States, the only significant black market is in drugs.

It's not unlikely that some of these criminal drug-selling organizations fund terrorist activities with their money. So in a way this is a ground-breaking ad for the ONDCP, as it's not based entirely on half-truths, outright lies, and pointless fearmongering.

But I wonder whether this will backfire on the Drug Warriors, because it points out the obvious: that the biggest problem with illegal drugs is not the drugs part, but the illegal part. Our three legal 'recreational' drugs in the United States are alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine: Anheuser-Busch, Phillip Morris, and Starbucks do not fund terrorism.

We can even point to an almost perfect analogue: during the 1920s, alcohol was illegal in the United States. Alcohol was then produced, smuggled, and sold by criminal organizations, which the government spent a great deal of money fighting.

Trouble is, in the drug war the government is not as interested in solving problems as it is in banning drugs. (To be fair, a large number if not a majority of the American people seem to share that view; but then it's not possible to have a real debate on the issues, what with the Drug Czar shouting down anyone with a different point of view.)

If the priority is to eliminate drugs-based funding for terrorism, the Drug Czar should shut down the Drug War and resign; history has clearly shown that's far more likely to succeed than are strongarm tactics that attempt to eliminate a market for a product that's in demand.
posted by tino at 8:34 AM on February 4, 2002

that's why you should grow your own or set up your own lab.
posted by panopticon at 8:34 AM on February 4, 2002

Because they grow opium poppies in Afganistan, you buying smack on the street here helped the Taliban to stay in power.

For fucks sake, how many smackheads actually give a shit? It's a life-destroying addiction, not a naughty little habit. They'd do better spending the money on some decent programmes to help people stop.
posted by walrus at 8:38 AM on February 4, 2002

Well, if any time you buy drugs you're helping terrorist, it's also true that

1) anytime you buy a gun you are helping a company that
sells death at the special price of 69.95, hurry up limited offer.

2) anytime you buy some product that helps increasing pollution you're helping a company which is slowly destroying the planet. Don't worry, by the time it happens
you'll be already dead (due to cancer and intoxication with
incredible pain and suffering may I add)

3) anytime you buy from Micro$ft you're helping a company
that likes competition as much as we like flu.

4) anytime you open a bank account to get some interest
on your savings you're helping a company that charges
15-30% yearly to companies which need money. Of course these companies will rise prices and cut jobs because, damn, they want profits don't they ?

And the list goes on forever...
posted by elpapacito at 8:39 AM on February 4, 2002

After I saw that commercial last night, I knew I'd never seen a better ad AGAINST the war on drugs. It really pissed me off to see the Ad Council making use of such a gross oversimplification to pin the blame on "stupid kids." Disgusting.
posted by Cecily at 8:40 AM on February 4, 2002

I'm just glad Cheech and Chong don't make movies anymore.

The horror, the horror...

A little subliminable anti-abortion messaging in the middle of the "this foo = terrorism" meme , or am I just imagining it?

It was very obvious that the segment you describe was a slap at pro-choice. Of course, the Bush crowd are convinced for some reason that they are smarter than everyone else, so we're not supposed to notice it.

It's just supposed to seep into our brains.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 8:47 AM on February 4, 2002

Stupid kids are my anti-drug.
posted by swift at 8:49 AM on February 4, 2002

If George Bush gets irony, he'll love that video. Not only has he (allegedly) done drugs himself, his family (allegedly) helped the bin Laden family make their money and did nothing for years to stop the Taliban's rise to power.
posted by skylar at 8:51 AM on February 4, 2002

More than just a slap at pro-choice, having the kicker of that commercial be "my body, my life" makes for a very ominous tone. Maybe I'm reading into it, but it sure feels like a slap at independent thought and personal freedom in general.

But who can take it seriously anyway?
posted by Nothing at 8:54 AM on February 4, 2002

i was really struck by this* ad's intentional (it has to be intentional, right?) similarity to mastercard's current advertising scheme. Images of weapons and other bad stuff flash across the screen, accompanied by narration detailing the cost of each item:

airline tickets  $8,400
fake ids$4,100
et  cetera

leading up to what appears to be the unavoidable 'punchline':
blowing up the world trade center?
a modicum of good taste prevails, however, so that's not how the advertisement ends; instead it attempts to make the point that terrorism is expensive and that terrorists are funded through the sale of drugs though it doesn't get too specific about actually which drugs the terrorists are selling as well as neglecting to mention osama bin laden's vast personal inherited fortune which is founded upon oil revenues so i guess that if you drive a car or heat your home with oil then you are also supporting terrorism.

*at least, i think it was this one; i can't be sure because my work firewall/proxy server/filtering system won't let me through. sorry if i'm wrong.
posted by mlang at 9:07 AM on February 4, 2002

skylar: ahah true i almost forgot bush bought drugs. What a laughable bunch of hyprocrites.
posted by elpapacito at 9:07 AM on February 4, 2002

Another Angle

Fox and Rupert Murdoch, those paragons of liberal bias, were in trouble. They were having difficulty selling ad space for the SB at 2 million per 30 second spot.

The "leave no kids behind" Administration saw the pain of their good friend in the media business and decided that those kids lunch money would be better spent on 3.2 million in advertising about a losing proposition.

After all, hungry kids don't support terrorism, do they? You bunch of liberal druggies better get over it and get with the PATRIOT program! Else, you may get a vacation in the sunny Carribean resort known as Camp X-Ray!
posted by nofundy at 9:08 AM on February 4, 2002

tino: you really think Starbucks doesn't fund terrorism? Think again. They're purchasing coffee from Bad People. Go poke about the web a bit, and learn how nasty the whole coffee farming/coffee trading biz is...
posted by five fresh fish at 9:16 AM on February 4, 2002

I thought the ads were pretty clear: make drugs legal and this country won't be a source of money for terrorism.
posted by mathowie at 9:36 AM on February 4, 2002

I thought the ads were pretty clear: make drugs legal and this country won't be a source of money for terrorism.

I agree, completely. But most people won't see it that way. Instead this will just be more justification to violate civil liberties and expand the scope and power of the federal government to fight the drug war, now that it's linked to terrorism.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:49 AM on February 4, 2002

make drugs legal and this country won't be a source of money for terrorism

Not only that, but people won't end up with ulcerated limbs from adulterated substances, or have to steal at the rate of one car stereo per hour to keep up their habit.
posted by walrus at 9:56 AM on February 4, 2002

that advertisement is the kind of thing that produces the opposite effect in the viewer than the intended effect, IMO.
another thing, any terrorism (i.e. damage to innocent lives) perpetrated by anyone funded by drugs money (and i mean anyone alive or dead) is statistically insignificant when compared with state sponsored terrorism. that means 'government oppression', so a real war on drugs/terrorism would include an effort to undermine the corruption which is endemic in most governments. rather than supporting it (ooh, contentious point).
posted by asok at 10:02 AM on February 4, 2002

I don't sell drugs. I don't buy drugs. I don't use drugs. I don't associate with people who make a habit of using drugs.

All that said, I think this is the worst exploitation of a major tragedy I have ever seen. Not only are we trying to GUILT people into not doing drugs, we are exploiting the memory of everyone who died in the towers in the process.

It makes me sick.
posted by Slightlynorth at 10:05 AM on February 4, 2002

I was bothered not only by this sort of propaganda, but also by the overall jingoistic theme of the celebration. Talk about riding the coat tails...
posted by Mack Twain at 10:14 AM on February 4, 2002

what drivel.
posted by Satapher at 10:17 AM on February 4, 2002

I wonder if Bush is even slightly embarrassed that not too long ago he gave $43 million to the Taliban for saying that opium is bad.

Maybe we should be working on doing something about the huge demand for drugs in the US instead of spending inordinate amounts of money on trying to stop the supply. The last thing I want is my tax money to get thrown to a country like Myanmar as a bribe to get them to join the drug war too.
posted by jojo at 10:18 AM on February 4, 2002

No, he didn't, jojo. Pay attention to the facts instead slinging inflammatory bullshit, please.
posted by NortonDC at 10:36 AM on February 4, 2002

Don't worry, Norton, in seven to ten days somebody else will post Scheer's elegant urban legend again. It actually provides a useful service, indicating publications and posters who are interested in propaganda over facts.

Alas, that's why I no longer read Common Dreams.
posted by dhartung at 10:38 AM on February 4, 2002

thank you, wrfgms. if you pay taxes you have been supporting civil wars, genocide, adn terrorism for longer than i have been alive. this ad was the most preposterous thing i have seen in a really long time......... i support local farmers in the state i live in, nothing more. really, i want to tell these people to fuck off.
posted by whoshotwho at 10:39 AM on February 4, 2002

sorry norton... I didn't do enough research. My apologies everyone. I do try not to sling inflammatory bullshit. Nevertheless, I stick by my assertion that perhaps the drug war isn't very effective the way it is presently.
posted by jojo at 11:03 AM on February 4, 2002

By the way, you can watch both the ads here at different connection speeds in both windows media and real format.
posted by walrus at 11:08 AM on February 4, 2002

you really think Starbucks doesn't fund terrorism?

Just opening another new Starbucks store every three seconds is terrorism enough.
posted by y2karl at 11:20 AM on February 4, 2002

For fucks sake, how many smackheads actually give a shit?

The ad wasn't for smackheads it was for everybody else who is up for the willing suspension of disbelief in the face of this kind of propoganda. Apparently, 80% of our nation is up for that challenge.

Someone mentioned alcohol and the black market. Up here in the Northwest a new black market for cigarettes is starting to find footing. Oregon continues to increase taxes on cigarettes and gradually you are hearing of people driving in bunches of cigarettes from other states to sell on the cheap. Some people are worried that that will overburden other agencies with the task of preventing the black market trade.
posted by amanda at 11:58 AM on February 4, 2002

The ad wasn't for smackheads

I knew that, but it bore pointing out. FWIW the UK has a known problem with black market tobacco, and it's widely accepted that it's the high tax which is causing it. The same tax which was supposed to make people want to cut down on smoking.
posted by walrus at 12:17 PM on February 4, 2002

to equate smoking weed with the tragedy that went down a few months ago has got to be the biggest stretch ive seen since, well, since i got high in college and thought... well, never mind.

gw, you should be ashamed of yourself. show a little class. if you want to win the war on drugs, come straight out and speak about it first hand, cokefiend. talk about how your daughters are drunkards and how that's embarrassing to trying to run a nation.

talk about how you would have been president much earlier in your life if it hadnt been for the pitfalls of cocaine, pot, and booze.

say how much it pains you to lock up all those minorites to long sentences for such non-violent offenses like having a few bags of dope on your person when you get pulled over for having a taillight out.

buying your bs, in my opinoin, supports terrorism.
posted by tsarfan at 12:17 PM on February 4, 2002

esmokes.com...if anyone needs cheaper cigs in their state.
posted by bittennails at 12:20 PM on February 4, 2002

Why limit this little exercise in cause and effect to illegal narcotics? I want cost benefit analysis, with lots of charts and graphs, showing the average btpd (bad things per dollar) resulting from for the following purchases:

- a tank of gas
- $20 contribution to the political party of your choice
- one NRA membership
- a pair of Nikes
- a pack of Winstons
- one share of Monsanto

After all, we all want the best possible return on our investment.
posted by groundhog at 12:22 PM on February 4, 2002

Well, first of all, let me defend bin-laden's family. First of all, just because someone is rich and from the middle east dosn't mean they made their money in Oil. The Bin Laden's are a construction family, although you could argue that they people who paid them got their money from oil. Anyway, gassing up your car isn't going t give Osama any more money, since he's been cut from the family, although you never know, could end up with some wepons to the Hamas or something.

Other then that, yeh, I found the second ad extreemly offensive. It's one thing to remind people that drug money goes to terrorism, but it's an entirely diffrent thing to go out and blame drug users for knocking over buildings, I mean wtf? It's not like our alies didn't make money that way. Would the northern aliance even have been able to survive as long as it did without drug money? Hell, after we baught off the taliban you could claim that shooting up was just your way of helping risist a terrible regime (ok, maybe a strech)
posted by delmoi at 12:31 PM on February 4, 2002

A little subliminable anti-abortion messaging in the middle of the "this foo = terrorism" meme , or am I just imagining it?

we definitely noticed this too. very disturbing.

actually, all of the september 11th posturing from both advertisers and the superbowl itself really bothered me. i didn't need to see screaming teenage U2 fans as the names of the dead scrolled by.
posted by judith at 12:54 PM on February 4, 2002

My Anti-Drug is Alcohol
posted by johnjreeve at 1:21 PM on February 4, 2002

yeah, i thought that ad was kind of disturbing, but so was that budweiser ad with the horses. i thought it was cool that horses could bow like that tho :)
posted by kliuless at 1:42 PM on February 4, 2002

Groundhog, you're right. Odd of the US Government propaganda agencies to start looking at the long-term economic/political effects of our actions. Imagine if the CIA was told it couldn't mess around with drugs! Seriously, though, I'm very much in favour of sustainable economics. Citizens or companies that do more damage to society should pay more in tax and be allotted less value on the stock market. But this cause and effect thinking is not something the USA prides itself on.
posted by skylar at 2:46 PM on February 4, 2002

I can't decide if this is a ridiculous waste of tax money or a win for the pro-legalization crowd.

A win for pro-legalization is a GOOD use of our tax dollars. :)

Seriously, though, these ads simply reeked of desperation. Tying drug users to terrorists is an extreme piece of propaganda that simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny -- mostly because drug users didn't create the black market in the first place, prohibition did. The dealers are simply filling a vacuum.

As said repeatedly above, legalization would dry up the money from the black market. But the government is not truly willing to fight terrorism and other criminals this way.

Add in the fact the the US regularly allies with groups funded by the drug trade, and you have a big steaming pile of hypocrisy right in the middle of the Super Bowl.

I expect more than a few editorial writers will pick these apart thoroughly in the near future.
posted by Dirjy at 9:21 PM on February 4, 2002

i thought it was cool that horses could bow like that tho :)

Me, too. I thought it would have been even cooler if they raised their hooves and tipped a 40oz to their 4000 dead homies. That would have been amazing.
posted by Karl at 9:56 PM on February 4, 2002

Tsarfan, once again with the rampant, anti-Bush trolling. I love it. The ad in question has nothing to do with the Bush family life. I find it incredibly ironic that the same people who spouted that a BJ has nothing to do with Clinton's offical duties use Bush's family problems against him.
posted by BlueTrain at 10:05 PM on February 4, 2002

This has to be one of the most ridiculous ads ever. It's hard to explain what I think. If you understand what I'm about to say, then great.

It's like putting vending machines in schools. THe vending machines get only a fraction of the money (a very minute fraction, ahem) that comes from vending machines. The rest goes to the supplier.

Drug dealers in Columbia don't just say, "Hey, I made 4 million in distributing cocaine this week, you can have it all and fund your terrorist organization"

Wow, that totally did not make sense.
posted by Kevin Sanders at 1:43 PM on February 5, 2002

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