Thursday, April 9, 2015

Awareness campaigns

Which of these things is more useful? Getting a group together and going around an area picking up litter or getting a group together and holding a litter awareness campaign? The first actually helps clean up a neighborhood and the second tries to put the word out that littering is bad. Who doesn't already know that littering is bad? Either you already care or you don't. If you care, nothing changes. If you don't, nothing changes. So why bother if nothing changes? Sorry that is not quite true. Those holding the awareness event get to raise their smug level by some degree. They get to "feel" like they did something without actually having to do something. Instead of getting up early, going out and picking up a bunch of trash, they get to hold an Event! Who would not rather have an Event!? Events! are fun. Picking up trash sucks. But one of these activities actually produces results and does some good.

This same holds true for all of these other "hot topic" awareness events: cancer awareness, rape awareness, racism & hate awareness, etc. Who does not already know that these things are bad? That these things should be worked against, to be stopped/ended? What actual results are these folks trying to accomplish by raising awareness of the obvious? And the answer is... To make themselves feel better that they "did something". What does it matter that the "something" has the same affect as farting in a hurricane? At least they feel better. They get to walk around like they actually accomplished something important! Awareness campaigns allow the participants to "feel" like they are being productive without having to actually do the harder work needed to actually produce results.

Awareness campaigns are the adult equivalent of participation ribbons for kids. They allow "credit" for showing up, results are irrelevant.

There is actually one awareness campaign that would be usefully. An awareness campaign spreading the word on the uselessness of awareness campaigns! If it saves even one group of collage students or coastal liberals from waiting their time raising awareness of issues that everyone already agrees on, it will have been worth it AND it will have had more results than all of these other awareness campaigns combined!

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