Our View – Government slogans demeaning, silly

Driving down the 405 Freeway has never been a pleasant experience. Moving a mile an hour in rush-hour traffic under the blazing California sun is excruciating enough, but this drive has recently become slightly more unpleasant as the state strains to conserve energy and uses the overhead traffic advisory signs to promote obnoxious and patronizing statements stressing the importance of energy conservation.

Ridiculous slogans like “Flex Your Power” and “Save energy because energy won’t save itself” are not only irritating, paternalistic ways the state of California tries to motivate its citizens to be more conscientious about their use of resources, but are ineffective and hypocritical.

The use of large, electric advisory signs surely uses voracious quantities of electricity that could have been used in other, more productive ways like lighting schools, hospitals and generally preventing brown outs all over the state. Also, by wasting electricity used to power the signs the importance of resource conservation is lost on the public.

Commuters aren’t the only ones suffering from these condescending slogans. Media consumers who watch TV or listen to the radio are also frequently interrupted with messages urging Californians to reduce energy consumption.

While the general message being broadcast to millions of residents daily is an important one as we suffer the repercussions from pollution and wastefulness of resources, using silly, song-like slogans to retain the interest of the public is not only demeaning, but also insulting and can only lead to resentment from California’s residents toward these important causes.

Although many of these government jingles emerge during the summertime when resources are being used at a much higher rate, the state has been using a variety of mottos to lecture the public for years.

Things like “Arrive alive. Don’t drink and drive” and “Recycle. It’s good for the bottle. It’s good for the can” have been implemented year round for an extraordinary length of time and the results from these heavily promoted slogans is, at best, dubious.

Does someone who drinks really consider the jingle he or she reads on the way to the bar before taking his first sip? Or does a polluter really feel a surge of inspiration and respect for the earth after hearing the slogan promoting recycling? Probably not.

The newest slogan, “When in doubt, dial out,” is a clever reminder to people living in the 310 and 424 area codes that they need to dial their area code before placing a call. The fact our state government believes we need ridiculous jingles for something so simple as dialing a telephone is quite insulting.

Rather than implement jingles and rhymes to help residents be more aware of their actions, it might be more effective to substantiate these suggestions with public service announcements showing the significance of gluttonous consumption of goods and resources as a supplement to these slogans.

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