Monday, 16 December 2013

Warning!! Disclaimer ahead


I love watching movies and television shows. There are some programs that I am happy to watch even if I have seen them a whole lot of times earlier. Of late, however, the fun is lost by the constantly appearing warnings and disclaimers that tend to overlap the sub-titles and mar your viewing pleasure, whether it be a regular show or even an advertisement. Sometimes these warnings and disclaimers simply make no sense.
About a year back or maybe more, the government introduced anti-smoking warnings to be carried whenever a movie or a show has any of the characters smoking tobacco. Before a movie or a show begins, the viewer is subjected to images of diseased human organs and the depiction of how tar accumulates in your lungs. Even before or during a scene that contains any of the characters smoking tobacco, you will notice an anti smoking warning something to the effect that "Smoking Kills" or "the actors do not endorse smoking". Has anybody made any research as to whether this has reduced the number of people who smoke or has discouraged people from taking up smoking. Make a note here that sale of tobacco and tobacco smoking is an absolutely lawful activity as long as you are not a minor. You also don't need a permit to smoke as opposed to consumption of alcohol where you need one. Now here comes the hilarious part. I happened to see three different movies. The first one has a dog smoking weed and getting stoned, the second one has a cat smoking a cigar, and the third one has a monkey smoking a pack and running drugs on the side. In each of the scenes, a warning appears informing the viewer that smoking is dangerous. My question here is who is the target audience for these warnings? Is it for other animals who may have been watching the show with their owners or on the sly. Or is it for humans not to imitate animals who smoke. And what about the dog who is smoking weed which itself is an illegal activity or the monkey running drugs. Shouldn't the warning have stated that the activities are themselves illegal.
Warnings aside, even advertisements and advertisers have become extra cautious and with good reason too. They are putting in disclaimers in their ads just in case someone tries an act shown therein. There have been enough cases of young adults trying to fly wearing a cape. Again my question is who makes these disclaimers? Most of the time it seems a copy paste job irrelevant to the content of the advertisements. My favourite one "The stunts shown here are performed by trained professionals. Do not try these at home". Seriously, especially when you show two guys driving a SUV in a jungle. This is seen in an ad for a SUV made by a primarily truck manufacturer. Here is, to me, what is wrong with the disclaimer.  For starters what do you mean by "professional". To a layman it could be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or even a masseuse. Ideally the two professionals in the ad should be a doctor and lawyer considering the rash driving they are indulging in. One can mend and the other can defend. Let's move to the next line which is "Do not try these at home". If I were to try them at home, what preparation would I have to do?
The cost of the vehicle starts at about INR 11 Lakhs (1.1 million). I checked the technical specs of the given vehicle and found that the vehicle weighs approximately 2000 Kgs i.e. two tonnes. Now I need a crane to hoist the vehicle into my home which is on the 2nd floor of a really old building with no lift for residents leave alone a car lift. I also have to knock down a wall and a window to allow the vehicle inside. The cost of a hydraulic crane is around Rs. 50,000/- per day and knocking the wall off is another Rs. 5000/-. I am not even discussing the strengthening of the foundation of the building. The vehicle occupies a space of about 150 sq. ft. and if I were to live in a SRA flat, that will leave me with just the bathroom and no other space. Coming back to my problem, once I have the vehicle in my home, do I really have any room left to maneuver it. What possible stunts can I try when the roof of the car touches the ceiling. Even if I were to back up my car, I will hit the ground on its rear. And that my friends would possibly be the only reason why you should not try it at home. Which also brings me to the other conclusion that the only person qualified to try it at home is Tarzan. The setting of the advertisement looks just like where Tarzan would live. And yes he is a professional.........a professional swinger.

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