Thursday, March 09, 2006


I wonder if people really are as stupid as advertisements make them feel?

I am a big proponent of nuclear energy. I like energy which produces no escaping dangerous waste, has a very high efficiency, low wear, and that can be supplied by one armored car rather than eight thousand frieghters.

Today, I saw an "ad" on the teeeeeveeeeeeeee. I don't own a TV, and the TV I have had for a little while doesn't get any channels except "XBox". I had, therefore, forgotten. Forgotten what it was like.

The ad was for nuclear energy. It was largely about frolicking children (and puppies, can't forget the puppies). It said, "Our children need lots of electricity, but they also need clean air. Nuclear energy doesn't pollute the air."

My god!

Okay, if I were against nuclear energy, this would do the exact opposite of what it intends. "It doesn't pollute the air, but it pollutes everything else" is a good snide comment. It's not true, but the commercial implies it is.

If I were for nuclear energy...

oh, wait, I am. I forgot for a minute, after watching this commercial.

Since I am for nuclear energy, I am screaming about how they skipped all the solid, positive benefits of nuclear power in favor of one little feature shared by roughly half the methods of creating power. Pretty clearly damning faint praise, like someone calling you "unique".

It makes me wonder whether the commercial is actually pro-nuclear power at all! If I was a conspiracy theorist, I would assume this is an inside job. Act like you're on our side, then destroy us with inept but "well-meaning" actions. That's how bad I think the commercial is.

Furthermore, the fact that they're advertising something you can't buy and can't influence means "snow job", whether for or against nuclear power. That should immediately set off your alarms - it does for me!

Now, if you're as stupid as the rest of the commercials think you are, this commercial might guide you an inch towards liking nuclear power. However, if you can tie your shoes, presumably this commercial makes you distrust nuclear power more than you did before you saw it.


You want a good nuclear power commercial? You show the inside of a facility (polished up). One of the new facilities. You talk about how it produces no exhaust save water - which is cleaner than the water you drink. You can talk about how much power - in terms of NYC-days - a chunk of material the size of your arm can produce. You talk about safety. You talk about efficiency. Put in your children and puppies.

Then you go over to a coal burner. Show smoke. Talk about what it does to your lungs. Show dirty truckload after dirty truckload of coal coming in. Say that each truckload can power NYC for - how long? A few minutes? As compared to the days you get from a cool, sleek bar of pure technology. Put in more children and puppies - cutely coughing and covering their noses.

If you're gonna do a snow job, do it right.

What do you think? Is this common? Is it actually pro-nuclear? Are there other poisonous commercials like it on the airwaves? Inquiring mind wants to know.

As a side note, I was walking along one day and saw a sign. It said, "Number of days accident free on this site: 0"

Heh heh... why wouldn't you just take it down for a few days?


Craig Perko said...

Of course, the best way to popularize nuclear energy would be to feature it fondly in whatever sitcoms are currently in vogue...

Textual Harassment said...

TV is great fun if you watch it with other like-minded cynics. Seen the evening news lately? It's shocking how little actual information they have in their "stories".

I think the accidents sign is primarily for the motivation of the workers. If you're the one who screwed up, then you know it's your fault the sign's at zero. In this sense it makes sense to leave it up.

Darius Kazemi said...

That accident sign is probably up as part of an agreement with a union.

Craig Perko said...

Heh. That makes sense, Darius, in a horribly silly way.

Textual: I was "watching" (while my meal was being prepared) some news about the war in Iraq. It was pretty empty, but you could tell the guy's career was on the line as to how well he could convince the TV-viewing public that it wasn't empty. :P

kestrel404 said...

And this is why we don't let Craig watch TV.

Don't worry Craig, at least you're unique. ;)

Duncan said...

The government does think you are stupid. They aren't even that tactful about how stupid they think you are.

The commercial isn't for or against nuclear power. It is simply there to calm and placate the masses. People, as a group, are a stupid and easily controlled mob. They are easily scared by sensationalism (ie The War on Terror). So you have to produce media that calms them so that they don't get angry-mob about topics you don't want them to, like the nuclear power plant you are building in their back yard.

Because people, in the general sense, don't care that nuclear power is safe. Or efficient. Or even produces less pollution. They will never research the benefits versus the risks. They don’t now about the advances in plant technology that have made them hundreds of times safer than a decade ago. They do care about Three Mile Island, and it makes them scared.

Craig Perko said...

The only thing I hate more than people are lawyers and politicians. :P