PSA’s And Common Sense Don’t Play Nice

31 May

By now you’ve probably realized that I usually look for the good in everything, but just this once, let me show you how someone else is a moron. I was listening to a public service announcement on the radio about talking to your kids about sex and drugs which touted this statistic: Kids who speak to their parents about drugs are 50% less likely to use them. That’s nice. But it doesn’t justify spending billions of tax dollars on these futile PSA’s. Hear me out.

PSA’s are pointless. This has been proven by independent researchers studying a billion dollar federal campaign against Marijuana. I’m sure that to some people, this seems shocking. Why would the government keep pumping money into a project if the data doesn’t support it? And how could public awareness campaigns using fear, jokes, peer pressure, and every other behavioral tool in the book not have any effect?

The answer to the first question should be fairly obvious. The campaigns are not run by experts, they’re run by bureaucrats diverting public funds into their own projects. The second one is a bit more complicated, but can be best understood with a nice mashal my friend, a Rebbi in an elementary school, gives to explain why “extra credit” is pointless.

If you ever go to a car wash, and look at the cars on line, you’ll notice that they’re generally very clean even before they go in. The reason is because people who take their cars to be washed care about their cars. They spend their time and money making sure they look good. The only one who actually needs the car wash doesn’t care how it looks.

The same thing applies by extra credit. The kids who make the extra effort already care about their performance and have good scores. The ones who need the extra points don’t care to work during the actual class. So why would you possibly think they’re going to work extra on their free time?

Bad, rebellious behavior is the same way. Kids who rebel are rebelling against what authority is telling them what to do. Destructive or nonproductive behavior doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is establishing a personal identity by ensuring that the behavior isn’t a desired result of the controlling, parental figures. So now, some idiot thinks that this behavior being “experimented” with is going to be controlled by putting out more controlling messages?

Similarly, kids who have parents that speak with them probably have a good relationship with them and don’t feel compelled to act out. Kids who have a bad relationship with their parents and don’t speak with them aren’t going to stop doing destructive things because their parent forces them to listen to a lecture.


3 Responses to “PSA’s And Common Sense Don’t Play Nice”

  1. bestbathroombooks March 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    Great points. I love the supermodels who talk about how it’s not what’s on the outside that counts. It’s like a guy with a big penis saying that size doesn’t matter.
    Uh, yeah, you’ve convinced me.
    Why watch PSAs? I’d rather have my prostate checked (that’s a PSA worth the money).


  1. More Mothereffing PSA’s « yeshivaforum - February 19, 2012

    […] already wrote a sick post about PSA’s here. Not that everything on the greatest site in the world isn’t sick. I just wanted to give […]

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