Hi I live in America, and this doesn’t make sense to me.
Lily Allen‘s dad, British comedian Keith Allen, has agreed to help the UK’s Channel 4 shed light on the illegal drug problem in a segment called ‘Drugs Live’. Sounds perfectly normal — a good, educational program to keep people off drugs. Except for the fact that 59-year old Keith is going to educate viewers on drugs by taking said drugs live on television. I…don’t know about this. That seems like we’re asking for trouble. Apparently a few British stars were approached by the series and asked to participate. Keith was approached because he used to be a pretty big-time partyer (like father like daughter, I guess), so he has experience with the drugs in question. Specifically the show wants to take a look at drugs like cocaine, marijuana, and ecstasy, and film the reactions. All drug-taking will be “under strict medical supervision and in a controlled clinical environment.” Oh good. What a relief. As long as we’re able to get the message across to young people that there is such a thing as a safe way to take illegal drugs, I think we’re on the right track.
As far as Lily’s dad goes, a source says:
“Keith has a history of drug use and knows very well the highs and lows. He’s agreed to take part because he thinks Channel 4’s show is an important forum for looking at what it means to take drugs — and the effects they have…He cannot wait to get stuck in. Who knows what’ll happen?”
Um, YEAH. Exactly — who knows what will happen? We don’t! Nobody does! We’re just gonna put some drugs in some celebrities and see what happens! And they’re excited about it! Again, what an excellent message to send about drugs — they’re exciting! The uncertainty and danger are equally thrilling! This is like trying to educate kids on the dangers of playing Russian Roulette by having a table full of celebrities play it on live television. What could go wrong?!? What kind of crazy world is this that it’s agreed upon by both the network and the celebrities involved?
Channel 4 chief David Glover does respond to the fact that this isn’t the most traditional idea, saying, “This subject is fraught with controversy and confusion. The aim is to bring new clarity to the facts of illegal drug use.” That’s all well and good, but I don’t think the aim and the result are necessarily going to match up. Best case scenario, you’re going to have people watching this for the entertainment value — if there was a show where I got to watch Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan do coke on camera, I’d be on that like white on rice, even though I know it’s wrong. And it wouldn’t be because I wanted to find out if drugs were bad or not, it’d be for the spectacle. This special might even have the unintended affect of making drugs seem more acceptable and cool — viewers see celebrities they like doing drugs and are encouraged to try them themselves. And worst-case scenario, something bad happens to one of the celebrities in the ‘controlled environment’. I just don’t see a good outcome here, no matter how positive their intentions are.
Sigh. You crazy, crazy Brits. Be careful out there.
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