Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Science fiction

(nb. I am not the Devil's Kitchen)

Still no cure for cancer, then, but at least scientists aren't just fucking around with pointless bullshit...
People are more likely to turn to alcohol while watching TV if they see drinking being portrayed in films or adverts, a study suggests.

The BBC's words, of course. This kind of rubbish is grist to their mill, but even by the Beeb's piss-poor standards, this 'study' is pathetic:
Scientists in The Netherlands and Canada conducted a randomised, controlled trial...

Scientists, eh? A randomised, controlled trial? Impressive stuff. I bet they wore lab coats and everything. which they allocated 80 male university students, aged 18-29, to one of four groups; 20 watched a film (American Pie) in which characters drank alcohol 18 times and alcoholic drinks were portrayed an additional 23 times, and a commercial break that included ads for alcohol; 20 watched American Pie and a neutral commercial break with no alcohol ads; 20 watched a film (40 Days and 40 Nights) in which alcohol appeared far less prominently (characters consumed it three times and alcoholic drinks were shown 15 times) and a commercial break including ads for alcohol; and 20 watched 40 Days and 40 nights and a neutral commercial break with no alcohol ads.

Jesus, how fucking scientific. No one could ever say that this handful of random students won't provide conclusive evidence. Strap yourself in for the findings:

Over the period of one hour, those who were exposed to alcohol in both the film and commercial drank an average of nearly three 200 ml bottles of alcohol, while those who watched the neutral ads and the "non-alcoholic" film drank an average of 1.5 bottles of alcohol.

"Nearly three 200ml bottles of alcohol" - what's that, one pint? One pint of beer in an hour! And these are University students? What a bunch of pussies.

And the "unexposed" group drank "on average" half a pint. Not much difference, really, despite the experiment being blatantly rigged to achieve a positive outcome.

Here's how the Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation reported this quackery:
Researchers found those who saw lots of alcohol references drank twice as much as those that did not.

And before you have time to absorb that sweeping fucking statement, Auntie gets straight to the point:
Campaigners said there needed to be more restrictions on advertising.

As you would expect of a junk scientist, the twat who conducted this farce has a lot to say for himself:
Rutger Engels, professor in developmental psychopathology at the Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands), said: "This is the first experimental study to show a direct effect of exposure to alcohol portrayals on TV on viewers' immediate drinking behaviour."

No, Engels, your study shows nothing. You might as well have studied how many beermats these randoms could balance on their bell-ends. And although the BBC wouldn't trouble its audience with anything as confusing as facts, elsewhere we can see that:
"statistical sufficiency was limited for further analyses"

"the difference between groups for beverage switching was not significant"

This is maths-speak for "the study proved fuck all."

Here's an idea, Professor - do your little experiment again and this time leave the fridge full of beer but take out the television. See how much beer is left after an hour and then tell me that television makes people drink. I'll tell you what makes people drink, you daft cunt - free drink.

But, as ever, it makes no difference how these scam-artists arrive at their conclusions. All that matters is that they produce a figure for the lobbyists to stick into their fucking 'fact-sheets'. You haven't heard the last of this, I'll tell you now. You can be sure that from this day forth, every prohibitionist prick will be saying that "science has proved" that being "exposed" (note that word) to drinking on TV doubles the amount that people drink.

Then they will work out how many lives will be "saved" if consumption is halved and that will be the number of deaths that alcohol advertising will be held responsible for. No one will remember that the statistic was conjured up by offering free beer to a group of young, male students and showing them a film in which young, male students have a good time drinking beer. No one will remember, and no one will want to hear, because every one of them - from the 'scientists' to the politicians - are balls deep in the scam.

What makes this study a particular goldmine for the prohibitionists is - if you are mad enough to take its findings seriously - it not only "proves" that alcohol advertising increases demand, but that any portrayal of drinking on television or in films increases demand. Radical stuff, but that is indeed what these Dutch bastards are saying:
If other research confirms the findings of this study, then there will be implications for policy...

"Implications of these findings may be that, if moderation of alcohol consumption in certain groups is strived for, it may be sensible to cut down on the portrayal of alcohol in programmes aimed at these groups and the commercials shown in between."

Back! Back, you fuckers! Call off your dogs! The people aren't ready for that yet, but they will be once there are softened up with a kick in the knackers. To use a previous analogy:
  1. The government feels like giving you a good kick in the bollocks.

  2. You don't want to be kicked in the bollocks. You just want to be left alone.

  3. A fake charity turns up wielding some bogus study and demands that you be kicked in the bollocks and pelted with turds.

  4. The government conducts a bullshit consultation with some other fake charities and, in the spirit of compromise, concludes that you will be kicked in the bollocks but not pelted with turds.

Result: you get kicked in the bollocks. The government wins.

In this instance, banning booze advertising is the kick in the bollocks and censoring films and television is the turd-throwing. All they want, for now, is to kick you in the nuts (or the growler, if you're a lady). And doesn't the threat of movie censorship make a ban on advertising seem that much more moderate?

And sure enough, right on cue, comes the fake charity fuckwit to take aim at your crotch:
Alcohol Concern chief executive Don Shenker agreed an advertising ban was needed, suggesting a night-time watershed be created to protect children.

He added: "Unfortunately, alcohol advertising and promotion on film and television usually present drinking as a positive social ritual, while leaving out the potential harm that drinking can cause."

And it is also 'unfortunate' that Alcohol Concern present themselves as a fucking charity while leaving out the fact that they're a prohibitionist Quango. That aside, seriously, what exactly does this prick want? Of course "advertising and promotion" presents a "positive" image, you dolt. That is self-evident, and it's not as if we don't hear enough about the "potential harm" from Alcohol fucking Concern.

The government has already banned the drinks industry from advertising alcohol "as an aid to social or sexual success" even though - let's be honest - it is. In the future, will film-makers have to pretend that alcohol does not exist just to satisfy the morbid little minds of people like Don Shenker?

Crazy talk? I don't think so. After all, no one imagined that the people who wanted to ban tobacco advertising would also want to restrict or ban smoking in films until these screaming nut-jobs showed up in America:
Any film that shows or implies tobacco should be rated "R."

And the 'scientific evidence' to support this blatant censorship has a familiar ring to it:
a teen who has seen twice as much smoking on-screen is twice as likely to start smoking

Sounds a bit like:
Researchers found those who saw lots of alcohol references drank twice as much as those that did not.

Of course that's only in America. It couldn't happen here, could it? A quick look at the website of Smokefree Liverpool (funded by the Department of Health, natch) tells us that it very definitely could:
Policy objective no. 4 - Give future films with tobacco an 18 rating.

Yep. We're fucked.


Dungeekin said...

So, that means if these smoking loons were to get their way...

...just about any film made prior to the 70's would be Certificate 18, right?

You'd have 'Brief Encounter' on the top shelf, right next to 'Ben Dover does Jade Goody'?

Utter, utter insanity.


Mac the Knife said...

"3. A fake charity turns up
wielding some bogus study and
demands that you be kicked in
the bollocks and pelted with

Almost right. The fake charity method would more properly read:

3. A fake charity turns up
wielding some bogus study
demonstrating overwhelming
public support
for you
being kicked in the bollocks
and pelted with turds.

Mark Wadsworth said...

The mantra "it's for the children" has worn a bit thin so they're now going to start chanting "It's for the grown-ups".

John B said...

My initial thought on reading this was *damn right* I'd have to drink a lot if some bastards forced me to watch American Pie again...

The Filthy Smoker said...

Dungeekin -

No, they "only" want all future films that show smoking to have an 18 certificate. Of course, once that has been done, there is no logical reason not to doctor old movies seeing as how it will 'save countless lives'. As ever, today's compromise is tomorrow's 'loophole'.

If you want to read some weasel words and see some specious reasoning check out

The Filthy Engineer said...

They've got it all wrong. I drink and smoke twice as much when I'm reading the absolute drivel these so called scientists trot out.

I have to go and watch Tele to sober up and cool down. Bastards

Alfsevic said...

I think BBC are on to something here, cos I was watchin´ this film with someone driving a rolls an ya know what, I went out and bought one straight away. Fuckin´wierd.

Anonymous said...

"I'll tell you what makes people drink, you daft cunt - free drink."

Procreating brilliant. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Question - Does this 'study' mention what these students were smoking?

_Felix said...

I believe that adverts for alcohol do indeed remind people that drinks exist, and that they like having a drink, and can consequently cause them to go and get a drink. This results in people being slightly happier, and is one of the reasons I don't entirely hate adverts.

Pat said...

So if this study is correct- doubtful I know- then the advertising has its effect pretty well instantly. Perhaps it also wears off in the same time? Also I wonder how much these students would drink if there wasn't a film to watch? Perhaps someone should have taken them to a bar to find out!

the doctor said...

As a researcher of more years than I care to recall I have found that research involving students of any stripe has so many confounding factors , as to render the research useless .

Dick Puddlecote said...

"The study was funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research and by STAP, a private organization against alcohol misuse and its consequences."

So not tilted towards a predetermined conclusion then, obviously.

I take it that, considering this hugely damaging evidence, current government adverts lasciviously showing full screen shots of alcoholic drinks will be pulled forthwith, on health grounds?

I feel a complaint to the ASA is in order.

Robin said...

Is there any mention that they reversed the film watching and recorded the results ie that the ones who watched American Pie watched the other film later ?

Anonymous said...

"This is maths-speak for "the study proved fuck all.""

this is pretty misleading. The study is online at :

the main effect is statistically significant.

I still think it is difficult to draw the conclusion that the authors did; after all, they have compared two movies, and tried to reduce the comparison to just one issue (as to whether alcohol was mentioned). That is not particularly reasonable.


Moral Order said...

Hahahahaha! When I was a student Nurse, we would go from work at 9.30pm, to a pub in Ipswich - The Dove - and guts down 5 pints of Guinness, grab a Kebab and get up at 5.30am for work, two or three days a week. 10 years of Blairism has severly weakened the young; Thatcherism made granite hard students in comparison...

Anonymous said...

DK - fakecharities is a good start into wiping scales from the eyes.

Some claim that fakecharities is yet to achieve popular appeal though - discussion follows:

Rob Farrington said...

In yesterday's Manchester Evening News letters page, some righteous twat was complaining about characters in Coronation Street being shown smoking.

As usual, he was concerned about 'young people' being influenced, as if seeing Deirdre Barlow smoking a fag would lead to fourteen year old, health-conscious Chantelle to think "Hey, that's cool!", and then give up a life of yoga and jogging for a sixty-a-day Lambert and Butler habit.

I'd write a letter in reply, but I suspect that the MEN probably has a certain editorial attitude towards the use of the word 'cunt'.

Joe said...

It's amazing I watch films and ads yet when I see alcohol, I don't rush out to buy up the local bargin booze, I have some self control, also drinking about 6 units every 3mths or so probbably doesn't help much.

How about this one, just for novalties sake, take some responsibility for your behaviour, don't expect the state to crush the fredoms of others just so you don't have to, and if you can't/won't take responsibility for your childrens behaviour.....

FlipC said...

"No, Engels, your study shows nothing."

Actually it shows that there is little influence on drinking habits, but that's not the result they wanted.

As for statistical significance, the most damaging set of data was on beverage switching - if the type of film/commercials you were seeing did influence behaviour then you would expect that those who started with soft drinks would switch later on and vice versa. As Filthy Smoker already quoted no significance was found in this instance.

I was also amused that their non-alcohol film showed alcohol consumption, perhaps the researchers should have read their own aims in that "Alcohol portrayal in movies and commercials is generally positive" and showed three similar films positive, 'neutral', and negative and skipped the adverts which just confused matters.

Henry Crun said...

"Implications of these findings may be that, if moderation of alcohol consumption in certain groups is strived for, it may be sensible to cut down on the portrayal of alcohol in programmes aimed at these groups and the commercials shown in between."

That's Eastenders fucked. Hooray!!

max the impaler said...

The Netherlands ?..not much of a jump to consider the Muslim attitude to alcohol....Switch the BBC's a psycho-social experiment in manipulating the population.It's about forcing compliance.Fuck them and their righteous shit.Turn your back on these bastards and live YOUR life to the full.

Neal Asher said...

Henry Crun beat me to pointing out the positive aspects of this: Eastenders and Coronation Street fucked. Excellent.

David Davis said...

You have to start thinking that, either these mountebanks just don't listen to themselves and review what they are about to say (for things like originality, credibility, intellectual rigour, and the like) - as it always comes out the same - OR, they really really do mean what they say.

Either way, they present Mankind with a heavy strategic problem, which is what either to do with them, or what to allow them to do, in a Libertarian Society.

Should people who have, psychologically, got like the BBC or this Rotgut-Engels fellow, be allowed to do anything, or even be allowed "out"? They clearly have very dangerous views about how normal people behave, and could be a corrupting influence on young children, for example - who might them believe it's right to "make" adults behave in prescribed ways.

Would a libertarian "government" be obliged to pay for these people's food and clothing, if it came to power and decided to deprive them of their liberty?

You see, I fear that such dyed-in-the-wool-stalinists won't convert either overnight or even sincerely, ever. Even when faced with the universal benefits of a non-statist world.

the ink slinger said...

We're thinking of standing the next election so that I can spark up in the Commons Bar.

We're filled with burning political ambition.

Nothing will halt our progress.

Anonymous said...

I have never commented here before so forgive me if one of the regulars has already pointed this out. The film industry, supported by it's chosen experts has always claimed that screen violence, bloodshed and rapine do not influence people to go out and do the same. Fair enough. Removing such scenes is censorship and artistic sabotage. Fair enough again, the arists must express themselves.
So can someone explain to me what special magic smoking and drinking have that means anyone seeing them on film will immediately copy them?

Henry Crun said...

Neal, it would mean however that both 'Stenders and Corrie would have to reflect reality with the closure of The Queen Vic and The Rovers.

Pssst, anyone wanna buy a knockoff DVD of Shameless?

Furry Conservative said...

They could have had a sample of two people, both of them employees of the organisation conducting the study, and the BBC would still have presented it as authoritative.

They know that what is in front of people's eyes is important; they know that hardly anyone checks the small print, or enquires about how rigorous it was. By the time the study is exposed as being worthless, the 'debate' has moved on and the BBC certainly aren't going to publish the refutation. It will lie on a web site somewhere where perhaps a thousand people might see it. Meanwhile, the millions who read/saw/heard the original biased story believe that alcohol in films increases consumption. After all, experts have said so.

Furry Conservative said...

BTW, on a different note, did you know that it is legal to use CCTV to monitor the private property of others, if you "believe a crime may take place"?

Another day, another astonishing fact about modern British life smacks you right in the face when you least expect it. Of course, there are now so many 'laws' that it is odds-on you'll catch them doing something...

Furry Conservative said...

Link for the above:

Chalcedon said...

as soon as I saw the number 80 I thought hang on, this is not going to be statistically significant. Then the bastards divided it into 4 lots of only 20. Then conducted his rather pathetic experiment. The numbers from such small groups are meaningless. We don't know how many bottles of what were available. But 3 x 200 ml is bugger all.

If a TV ad for beer gets you to drink beer it's doing its job.

but you are right, this pathetic study will be used by prohibitionists and killjoys of all kinds to lobby for restrictions, price increaes etc. I think the BBC is trying to capitalise on the woes of ITV by trying to get beer commercials curtailed too. The twist of the knife.

The BBC guys didn't do much research did they?research did they?

Bogeyman said...

A predictable result. Whenever my kids watch a Tom and Jerry film, I can't help noticing how much more often they thwack people in the face with a frying pan.

LFB_UK *The Legend* said...


Just bought an Apple, and not configured the e mail settings yet, so I apologise for adding the following to the comments.

With regards to Tax Credits, being one of the poor saps who have to claim them, I have some news, which I find disturbing. On the phone to them today, I was told that the HMRC now use Experian, and some of the security questions are pertinant only to experian.

I was told that at the moment I had the right to opt out of answering these Q's, but in future this might not always be the case.

This I find worrying, I just wondered if you could point me in the direction of others who would know the implications of this for the future.

many thanks

neil craig said...

Interesting that the BBC sold it purely on the "more regulation, more big government" line rather than saying it "proved" watching commercial TV with adverts kills which is a slightly more credible conclusion from the "study". Of course 20 people is not remotely enough for any statistical conclusion.

Richard Feynman referred to this as "cargo cult science" - a very apt term.

Bishop Brennan said...

What do you expect from a cunt whose name is Engels?

Fucking socialists...

DaveA said...

Filthy Smoker the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) who wants R resticted movies for smoking is the domain of Uber Smoking Nazi Professor? Stanton "the cunt" Glantz. Yes the man who writes letters to UCLA to get world renown epidemiologists fired for having the temerity to disagree with the Nazi ideology on second hand smoke.

I am sure a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering is a very worthy qualification. However would you like Ross Brawn of Formula 1 fame performing open heart surgery on you?