Tuesday, 26 August 2008

public health warnings

I've been thinking about the way in which our nanny state warns us of the evils of everything we do. You know the sort of thing "this programme contains bad language and themes of a sexual nature, if you are easily offended, please select a different channel" and "smoking kills" and "this film contains scenes of mild violence, some nudity and swearing, only suitable for viewers of 15 and over", "this peanut butter may contain nuts" ......etc etc.

Yet remarkably they don't give warnings for things that are just as damaging - personally, I'd have warnings in front of those brown, sticky soft drink ads (yes, you know, THOSE ones) that say "these products contain nothing of any nutritional value and indeed could harm your health by consuming them - watch the ad then remember this warning before you choose a drink", the ads for burgers and chicken in buckets would be much better if aired after a warning saying "these products contain things that if you had any concerns about the long term health of your kids you'd avoid" and best of all, warnings saying "this programme contains poor people who have been duped into airing their dirty laundry in public for the cheap thrills of the daytime TV audience and is only suitable for ghoulish voyeurs whose own pleasure is more important to them than the sad lives of the programme's guests" - again, I think you know the sort of thing I'm talking about.

Of course I don't really think that every programme and ad should be prefaced by a warning, I suppose what I'm really worried about is that there is someone who decides what should be subject to a warning and what should not.

Perhaps if our viewing is to be moderated by do-gooders in this way, it'd be also appropriate to give warnings that say things like "this programme has been made from the money that viewers spend in premium rate phone calls to become contestants" or "this programme has been made and bought by TV companies who only care about making as much money as possible and producing the lowest cost shows imaginable, that's why the evening schedules are full of celebrities doing "stuff", the members of the public making idiots of themselves and let's get the star-struck public to fund the finding of a new star that we can make loads of money out of so if you watch it be aware that you're supporting the continuation of this trend".

Or town planning departments should insist that superstores put up signs saying "all we care about is getting richer and making more money than our competitors even though we already have more money than we know what to do with, so if you set foot onto this site you share responsibility for killing off shops in your town centre, reduction in biodiversity, pollution and the monopolistic bullying of suppliers - enter at your own risk".

Yeah, I like the sound of that one!

I am now convinced, having read this again before posting it that I've truly become a mad old goat.


JayDubb said...

Hi Linda! I'm wondering if someone should have warned you about these warnings?! eg "IMPORTANT: This warning has been written by a lawyer at our insurance company so that the rest of us can tick the box and you don't have to use your common sense.

But be warned! Taking them seriously (do you really think we give a s**t?) can lead to anger, anxiety, frustration, confusion, cold sweats, feelings of being careless or reckless, and can encourage the onset of premature grumpiness. If symptoms persist, please consult your lawyer who may find a box that has not been ticked!"

Best wishes John Waine (Pbase)

extedd said...

Linda, its great to see you back on the web with your thoughts and comments. I missed your pbase PAD a great deal.
Your warning comment is so well amde. Here in North America we have to suffer Doctor Phil who really should be proceeeded with ' be warned this program contains unfortunate people who believe they will receive help for their problems but instead will just fatten the ego and bank balance of a pompous ass'.