Tuesday, March 22

personal responsibility goes bye-bye

It all started because a press conference with this guy depicted him puffing on a cigarette while speaking. I didn't see the press conference in question, but I heard the outrage quite clearly, even through the somewhat muted medium of Yahoo Messenger. A case of product placement, alleges my friend. And since he's the activist type with a social conscience, he and a few of his colleagues are planning to kick up a fuss about it. Which left me in the familiar (but not easy) position of playing devil's advocate.

Freedom of choice vs A blanket ban on indirect advertising... in all it's shapes and forms. Can any legislation even begin to cover the myriad ways in which a product may be placed on a TV screen ? Should any legislator (let alone a Sri Lankan legislator) even bother ? Whatever happened to change the bloody channel or turn the dang TV off if you happened to be watching a SRK press conference (you poor bored soul, you). Is there a correlation between some random celebrity's behaviour and your own ? Something along the lines of if he jumps off a cliff ....

Do video games cause violence ? Do some genres of music predispose fans towards psychotic rampage? Should they be banned too ? Will someone please think of the children ?

Allowing all viewers to make an informed decision instead of resorting to censorship and bans only happens in utopia. At least, that's what a few (perhaps many) seem to think. A kneejerk ban or protest may not save any of the 10 odd million who are slated to die this year of smoking related diseases. But down the line ... maybe. And that's enough for some. From my point of view, if you have a swimming pool in your backyard, teaching your kid to swim is always safer (although perhaps a lot more effort) than fencing the pool off.

So which makes more sense ? I'm not sure.


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