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September 04, 1996 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-09-04

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 4, 1996


Anti-drug message
uses reverse pitch


Los Angeles Times
It's a fresh new feeling, the coolest
So pick up some heroin - and shoot
for the sky!
Everybody's doin' it, doin' it.
Everybody's doin' it.
Glamorous parties, a night on the
With beautiful people, it's always
Everybody's doin' it, doin' it.
Her-o-in! For the rest of your life!
- Television jingle for black-and-white
footage of a grimy boy twitching and
retching into afilthy toilet.
NEW YORK -- On Madison
Avenue, it is still revered as one of the
hottest marketing ideas of all time.
Take the decision to buy and use
heroin (or pot, or coke or any illegal
drug) and treat it like any other pur-
chasing choice.
Liken potential addicts to a group of
consumers whose buying habits can be
manipulated by celebrity endorsements,
catchy slogans and powerful images.
Then use those tricks not to sell the
product, but to un-sell it.
If the approach works, drugs will
finally lose their cool.
It's a very big "if." But for more than
a decade, the Partnership for a Drug-
Free America's pro bono campaign to
get and keep American young people
off drugs has been betting as much as
$1 million worth of advertising every
day that it does work.
Since 1985, more than 250 big-name
ad agencies from Los Angeles, New
York, Chicago and other cities have
been enlisted to volunteer their time
and talent to create new and better ways
of helping people say no to drugs.
Thanks to the Partnership's high-
powered connections and unabashed
arm-twisting, TV networks, newspa-
pers,; magazines and other media out-
lets have donated more than $2 billion
in free space and time to ensure that the
messages are seen.

The newest campaign is against hero-
in. This time its creators are finding their
ads against the drug a hard sell.
"These ads are not pretty. They are
not nice. They are not polite," says
Doria Steedman, the Partnership's
director of creative development. She
concedes that the ads were designed to
disturb and upset.
The campaign to show 18- to 25-
year-olds the horrors of heroin has been
pitched by the Partnership as a neces-
sary pre-emptive strike. According to
the U.S. government, experimentation
with heroin is increasing among teens
and young adults.
"We have to make the case that hero-
in is a fundamental threat," says retired
Gen. Barry McCaffrey, director of the
Office of National Drug Control Policy.
He has endorsed the Partnership's work
and been a spokesman at Partnership
news conferences.
The Partnership has dozens of new
The problem is getting them seen.
Although newspapers such as the New
York Times and the Washington Post
have given full pages to the campaign
as often as once a week, few other
papers have been so generous. And
while Capital Cities/ABC Inc. televi-
sion and many big city stations have
given the Partnership prime-time adver-
tising spots, some of the most dramatic
anti-heroin messages seem to be getting
lost in busy daily schedules.
And, although contracts to spread the
Partnership's message are still much
sought after among creative types, in-
kind gifts of advertising talent, ad
preparation, and print space and air
times are down at least $100 million
since 1991 when the nonprofit group's
annual support peaked at $365 million.
It didn't take long for the Partnership
to discover that the decision to experi-
ment with drugs was based on two
things: the consumer's perception of the
risk involved and the perception of
social disapproval.

Turned upside down AP PHOTO
Firefighter Andy Lennette of the U.S. Forest Service's Santa Lucia crew 3 out of San Luis Obispo, Calif., shakes dust
and bugs out of his tent yesterday morning prior to leaving Castaic, Calif., after spending five days fighting forest fires.
Gathering turns town into
Har ey-Davidson heaven

sees low-
wage job
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - At a time when
national statistics show both employ-
ment and incomes are rising, the vast
majority of American workers are
experiencing a continuing erosion in
their paychecks.
So concludes "The State of Working
America;" the latest report on the con-
dition of the nation's work force by the
Economic Policy Institute.
"The economy is clearly in tr'ansi-
tion, but it is far from certain that it is
headed to a better place. The funda-
mental economic problem we face is to
generate adequate income growth for
the majority based on jobs paying high
hourly wages and benefits.
Government policy-makers and elected
leaders must be judged on their ability
to change the economic course of the
country, to leave the low-wage for the
high-wage path," the report concludes.
At a time when economists and gov-
ernment policy-makers are debating
whether the United States should follow
a high-wage or low-wage growth path to
keep the nation competitive with its
global trading partners, the authors sug-
gest the United States has already start-
ed down the low-wage path.
"Although employment and national
incomes are growing and unemploy-
ment is falling, the incomes of the vast
majority have not yet returned to their
pre-recession, 1989 level," the report
said. "And if the current expansion
should end within the next two years or
so, it is unlikely that family incomes
will be higher at the end of this busi-
ness cycle than at the beginning."
The report by the liberal think tank is
the latest in a growing debate over the
impact of economic policy on the con-
dition of the American worker.
"There's obviously a tension
between organized labor's message that
America needs a raise and (President)
Clinton's message that we've turned the
corner," said Lawrence Mishel, EPI
research director and co-author of the
report with Jared Bernstein and John
Schmitt. Mishel said their report shows@
that macroeconomic growth is simply
not enough to lift wages and maintain
the standards of living for millions of
workers under current policies.
"Our review of (economic) indica-
tors suggests that the changes in the
economy have been "all pain, no gain,'
that the factors causing the pain of
greater dislocation, economic vulnera-
bility, and falling wages do not seem to
be making a better economy or gener-
ating a "payoff' that could potentially
be redistributed to help the losers.
Rather, there seems to be a large-scale
redistribution of power, wealth and
income that has failed to lead or be
associated with improved economic
efficiency, capital accumulation or
competitiveness,' the report said.
The authors acknowledge there is
not a single cause for what they see as
the recent growth in wage inequality*
and the deterioration of the incomes of
non-college-educated wage earners.

They cite a number of factors, from the
drop in the value of the minimum wage
and the "deunionization" of the work
force to the expansion of the service
sector and the globalization of the
nation's economy.
"All of these factors have a common
characteristic: They reflect general
deregulatory, laissez-faire shiftsin thc*
economy and forces that have weakened
the bargaining power of workers, both
union and non-union and both blue col-
lar and white collar," the report said.
The authors argue that the high unem-
ployment in the early 1990s, coupled
with the high unemployment among
non-college-educated workers since
1979, helped accelerate the downward
pressure on wages, helping to make pos-
sible "radical shifts in the wage struce

Los Angeles Times
STURGIS, S.D. -- Blue haze rises
over town.
Day and night, Main Street trembles
with a deep and lumpy rumble.
Motorcycles by the tens of thousands
choke every thoroughfare, alley and
footpath. They snort, spit and snarl.
They park at angles from the curb.
Men and women dismount. They wear
denim, leather, chains and tattoos.
Some are pierced. They have diamond
studs in their ears.
They parade. They admire each
other's machines: a blinding assembly
of beasts, mostly Harley-Davidsons,
shaved, injected, chopped, raked, flaked,
airbrushed, molded, chromed, pow-
dered, baked, detailed and polished,
each to a personal taste.
They prance. They admire each
other's women: a remarkable collection
of braided, ringed, laced and body-
webbed beauties in halters and hot
pants and boots. They admire each
other's men: a knife-packing throng of
bare-chested, bandannaed, gloved and
hobnailed road warriors in vests and
jackets and chaps.
They party. They eat venison, buffa-
lo, mutton, beef, turkey and chicken,
smothered with onions, sizzling on
open grills. They drink Budweiser,
Miller, Jack Daniel's and Jim Beam,
straight or cooling on ice. They smoke
Marlboros, Camels and sometimes a lit-
tle mind-blowing Devil weed. They
groove to Steppenwolf. They strip.
They dance. They fight.
Each summer, during the first full
week of August, they ride, more than
200,000 strong, into this Black Hills
community of 6,000, where the usual
high excitement is a threshing bee. For
seven days, the town hosts a motorcycle

run called the Black Hills Motor
Classic/Sturgis Rally and Races.
Everything else stops while Sturgis, a
village of ranchers and farmers and
gold miners, turns into Harley heaven.
And Harley hell. Every year, a fair
number of the townspeople simply
leave. They do not return until the week
is over. The spectacle and the disruption
are more than they can stand. So is the
debauchery. There is usually not much
danger, but sometimes things grow a
little tense. The jail fills. At times it
overflows, into the lockup at Rapid
City, 27 miles away. Now and then peo-
ple get hurt, even killed.
Mostly, however, this is nothing more
than a blowout, one of America's
biggest: a good thing for this immense
crowd of bikers, who save all year to
come; and for South Dakota, which
ranks it as the state's biggest tourist
event, without exception; and even for
Sturgis, where all these bikers spend
millions of dollars in only seven days
year after year.
Each year, though, there comes
another uptick in a subtle change. The
Black Hills Classic is no longer an all-
out rampage - "Genghis Khan on an
iron horse. ...," as Hunter S. Thompson
put it, in "Hells Angels," his book about
some of the toughest of the bikers.
This orgy is being hijacked. The cul-
prits are not even the town police, or the
county sheriff's office, or the state
Highway Patrol, or the FBI and the
Drug Enforcement Administration and
the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms, all of which do, indeed, send
in their agents by the score, and always
on the sly.
The hijackers are RUBs - rich
urlan bikers - with their Honda
Aspencades, who are coming to Sturgis

in ever-growing numbers, trying to flee
their safe but far less interesting lives,
which, of course, is impossible.
So they bring their lives with them.
Dammit, Snake! Could it possibly be?
Is this run getting respectable?
It is not just any blue haze over town;
it smells of exhaust fumes and leather
and sweat and burning rubber and hot
oil and cold beer and barbecue.' On
Main street, the show never stops. The
bikes roll up and down the entire length
of four full blocks through the heart of
Sturgis, where during this week cars --
cages - are banned. Peg to peg, the
bikes are parked at 45 degrees along
both curbs and in two long columns in
the middle of the boulevard, on both
sides of the yellow line, leaving passage
for an unending procession, up the
street one way, around a tight turn, back
down the other way, around another
tight turn, and then back up again, until
a new bike cranks up and joins the
parade and opens up a parking place.
Then a Harley covered with a buffalo
hide. Still another Harley, blasting a
horn from a diesel locomotive. A biker
is dressed as Santa Claus. In back is
Mrs. Claus, ringing a bell. Then anoth-
er biker, this one wearing a pig's head
and smoking a cigar. Still another, with
both of his nipples and his navel
pierced, and gold rings in all three.
Then a Labrador retriever riding sissy,
wearing goggles and a leather helmet.
Then a biker leading his ol' lady on a
leash. Another biker, with his ol' lady
behind him, naked but for a tiny leather
halter and a G-string. And another ol'
lady, this one wearing bottomless
Bikers, tourists and narcs line up
four deep along both sidewalks,
watching the procession and eyeing
each other. Among the few establish-
ments still open for business are
three saloons and the World Famous
Road Kill Cafe, where no one asks to
see the wine list.

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