Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

Above Their Influence (quite long) (1 Viewer)

cellardoor

Senior Member
I recently watched an anti-cannabis commercial by the Above the Influence people. It was played at 12:15 at night during Adult Swim on Cartoon Network, after a cartoon starring a talking milkshake, wad of meat and box of fries who live in New Jersey. So they chose pretty much the perfect moment to get their message to an extremely large audience of people who are most likely stoned at the time. I sure was. The purpose of this commercial is to get stoners to think they're unwanted by society.

The commercial is animated in an extremely childish style- everything is the same color of yellow except for thick outlines of random colors. Everything is shaped like it was drawn by a kindergartner. Trying to keep it simple so us poor dull weed smokers will understand, I guess. There is a very pleasant soundtrack, a simple piano tune with some spacey effects. Very soothing. The whole scene is quietly trippy.

The commercial starts with a guy and a girl sitting on a low wall in a clearing in a thinly wooded area. There are three pines trees way off in the background. They appear to be far away from other people, in a very peaceful smokespot. The guy is chiefing on a joint (the word "weed" pops onto the screen with a little red arrow pointing to his j, in case you, person watching a show about talking fast food in New Jersey, don't know what a joint looks like). The girl shrugs her shoulders and says "not again," as he puffs out smoke, so we know this isn't the first time she has harshed his buzz while he was smoking. In my mind a little red arrow labels her as "Debbie Downer."

A flying saucer floats down way in the background. An alien pops out of the ship and levitates to the guy and girl.

Let me explain to you the thought process of the stoner at this time. An alien just walked up. I'm about to meet an alien. If I do this right, I can create a base of peace between humans and aliens. What do I do? How can I communicate with him?

The stoner looks to his hand. The joint he just lit smolders quietly. A whiff of smoke blows in the wind and dances around his hand. Yes, he thinks. Yes. He looks to the alien and passes the dutchie. He repeats the motion done by people from every era since the beginning of human history. A gift from the heart and soul of every hash smoking, kif toking, bhang drinking, bud burning bong bubbling pothead to ever take a hit. We've been waiting for you, Mr. Alien. We've been waiting a long time. Care to smoke this joint with me?

My heart leapt as I imagined the possibilities of humans and aliens working together for the rest of existence because of this one pivotal moment, when a human passed the herb of peace to a visitor from the stars. The aliens would help fix Earth (we all know it needs help), then the two races together would travel across the universe spreading kindness and peace to war-torn planets, bio-engineering food for starving species, basically doing their best to make the universe a fantastic place to live. It could be so nice.

But alas, my friends... the alien is a square. No thanks, the crooked writing above his head says, mockingly. The alien doesn't want to see what the world is like from the open end of the joint. It's a whole new perspective that he denies himself from experiencing. No explanation is given for this- it seems strange that a species advanced enough to travel millions of lightyears wouldn't be interested in seeing things from a new angle. Their society would be all about innovation and creativity.

So after the alien refuses to meet Mary Jane, a heart pops into existence Debbie's head. She's got the hots for close-minded aliens, it seems. The scene cuts to the girl and the alien in his ship flying away amidst a cloud of butterflies. The stoner's head comes up slowly from the bottom of the screen before the commercial ends. I can only guess at the reason his head suddenly pops up. One theory is that they wanted to clearly show that the girl and alien, in his sober flying saucer, were literally and metaphorically above the stoner (the "influence"). Another is that the stoner was getting high metaphorically and literally. A third is that the animator was baked and thought it would be funny if the stoner's head just popped up at the end (and it is).

This commercial is saying, on the absolute surface, that aliens (should they ever land) won't smoke weed, but they will steal your girlfriend. Below that, it's saying that smoking weed near people who don't like weed is a good way to not have any friends, alien or otherwise (fairly good advice- it's everybody's air, and if the people around you don't want to inhale pot smoke, it's common courtesy to go somewhere else). These non-smokers will leave you and fly away in a spaceship. Below that, it's saying potheads don't have friends, and below that it's saying potheads don't deserve friends. Why not? Because they smoke weed. And why does that mean they shouldn't have friends? Because weed is bad. And why is weed bad?

Weed's bad because people don't like it when you smoke it, and people don't like it when you smoke weed because weed is bad, and they don't like you because you're bad because you're smoking weed, which is bad because people don't like people who smoke because they're bad. Uhhhhmmmmm.... and because aliens will steal your girlfriend. (The commercial never really says why weed is bad. Can you?)

Another interpretation is that potsmokers miss great opportunities because they smoke weed. It is true that Badly Drawn Stoner missed out on getting into a spaceship- although he did still get to fly- and that would be a pretty interesting experience. Why did he miss that opportunity? I assume their reason is because the alien didn't let him come because he smokes weed, which is really quite heartless of him. This translates to: Stoners miss really neat stuff because people don't want to hang out with them. Are there other reasons stoners could miss out on cool stuff? Absolutely, but they're not explained in this commercial. And maybe the alien just didn't want weed in the ship in case he got pulled over. Maybe Badly Drawn Stoner didn't want to put out his joint. Maybe he didn't want to hang out with Debbie Downer and a square alien. I don't know if he asked to come and was denied, because they cut straight from the heart popping up over Debbie's head to the spaceship flying away. Why did the alien let her in? It's either because she doesn't smoke weed and that's a good enough reason to start a relationship or because the alien wants to probe her(HA!). She has romantic feelings toward him because he didn't smoke, and that alone convinced her that it would be a great idea to get into his spaceship and fly away to who knows where. Anyone who doesn't smoke weed is instantly trustworthy, alien or otherwise. Obviously false. Debbie gets into that spaceship like a tragically naive third-grader into the van of a stranger with candy. Maybe Badly Drawn Stoner was just following his instincts.

This commercial very successfully demonstrates the American practice of denouncing something without having any experience with it. That alien is ignorant of weed when he lands. He had a chance to learn, but chose to remain ignorant. What was his justification for remaining ignorant? There was none.

What really angers me about these commercials is that they're all about weed. How many people die each year from smoking weed? Why, none! Not one person in the history of everything. It is physically impossible to smoke enough weed to kill you. A lethal dose of THC is the equivalent of smoking several pounds of the absolute highest quality marijuana in just a few minutes, and that would only kill you because the THC would literally fill up the veins in your brain. How many people die each year from alcohol? Boatloads. How many more teenagers get wasted than stoned? More boatloads. How many Above the Influence commercials are about alcohol? None. For Mary's sake, they're using it as medicine in California! It's helping people! Why why why do these people hate it so much? Why do they care if I smoke a plant and get happy? How is it any of their business? I'm not hurting anyone, I'm not hurting myself. I'm getting high and enjoying things sober people might not enjoy, such as the beauty of a stoplight or how wind feels like water or a cartoon about talking fast food. What am I doing wrong?

I don't understand how anyone could think this commercial would be effective. It's really just a story of people treating a stoner with disdain without giving any reasons. He's a nice guy- he offers an alien his joint without screaming or running away! What a nice fellow. Very few people would be chill enough to just offer a joint to an alien. I can see one reason he likes to smoke- his girlfriend. She doesn't talk to him except to nag. She's distant. It's obvious from their (poorly drawn) body language that she makes him uncomfortable. And then she leaves him for an alien that just walked up and didn't want to try cannabis. What a gal. So with this fickle, judgemental chick constantly killing his mood, I can see why he'd want to get away for some smoke. But she comes with him and nags him for smoking like a happiness-assassin. Her only purpose in life is to be a buzzkill. I know far more than my fair share of oh-so-pure Debbie Downers, drunk every weekend but never ever high, so I identified deeply with Badly Drawn Stoner. It crushed me a little when the alien didn't hit the joint. This commercial makes me want to pack a bowl and smoke it proudly, which I do whenever it comes on. Now them's results!

The ad, on the above the influence website:
http://www.abovetheinfluence.com/the-ads/default.aspx?home=launchagain
 
Well done. Well written, I enjoyed the piece. I think you loosened up a bit too much in the end. You could have kept things a touch more structured (as you did in the beginning), and still had fun with it. That's just about the technical aspect of the piece...overall, it is what it is...and it's a relaxing article on an impression you had while watching a particular commercial. Good read.

I smoke pot myself. I have since High School. I don't smoke everyday, but I do partake more than the average cat. To me, it's obvious propaganda. Anyone who can't see the crop through the weeds is either blind, stubborn, stupid, brainwashed, scared, fanatical, or all of the above.

The truth is right in front of our faces: Money, Profit, Greed. The bigwigs can't make any money on marijuana right now, so they have it on a ban (it doesn't mean they're not getting their cut through the filter somewhere though). Marlboro has crops all ready to go in other parts of the world for when we legalize it. That is fact, not hear-say. Also, look at alchohol and tobacco. This is really all you have to say to anybody trying to fight the good fight. How many deaths by alchohol--passive or aggresive--happen each year? How about tobacco? Pot pales in comparison...not to mention the fact that people become more relaxed, peacefull, and affable when they smoke pot. How many angry pot-heads do you know? How many angry alchoholics/drunks do you know?

The truth is a shining beacon. Many people choose to ignore it.

The honest to God truth, which applies to everything is simply this...moderation. Too many pot smokers do it dailey, and crap-out on their couch, eating chips, playing video games, and never making anything of themselves. This isn't the substances fault...it's the person. These people give pot smokers a bad name. But so do drunken husbands who beat their wife and children...but they still sell alchohol don't they? Hypocrites.

Say that with me: Moderation. With strong will, and properly applied moderation, the world would be a much better place. Too much of anything is bad for you...even water. The other problem we face is ignorance. There are far too many oblivious biggots out there. I think I've said enough...I didn't want to ramble on so much.

ps. We never even touched on ALL the other amazing things the plant can do. Look it up...Hemp is an unbelievably wonderful resource, with a gazillion applications.

Open your eyes.
 
Last edited:
Top