Blog: Talking To Frank

By Editor
By February 12, 2010 October 9th, 2016 Blogs once possessed a reputation for being an excellent stop-off point for anyone interested in dabbling with narcotics in an informed manner. Several associates who have elected to chow down on disco biscuits did so only after spending time asking Frank what they were really getting themselves into…} {related content

Despite being a government-funded website, TalkToFrank dished out information in a factual, unbiased and easy to read manner that neither glamorised drugs, nor demonised them. So; what’s happened?

Frank might be better looking than he was, but that’s where the good news ends. Gone are the fair assessments of narcotics; now the site seems to consist of nothing but omens of doom, badly substantiated negative claims, and none of the impartial guidance of before. We are essentially told ‘drugs are bad, m’kay’.. Thanks; but if I wanted to be told that, I’d ask my mum. People are trying to use this site to make informed choices, and when the advice is so heavily biased, people are going to look elsewhere, or – more likely – simply not bother looking and snort, smoke or otherwise ingest what everyone else is doing.

The striking thing is though, that despite all the negative rhetoric, Frank is doing an amazing job of glamorising substance abuse. The site seems to have been put together by a web designer desperate to get out of the public sector and earn real money in the employ of Apple, or Sachi & Sachi. ‘Let’s make it look seedy a put people off drugs’ he said. Yeah, because that’s going to work. ‘Blade Runner‘ is seedy, but cool. Marilyn Manson is seedy, but cool. Our entire subculture is seedy, but cool. It’s easy to image someone easily influenced checking out the site and coming to the opinion that drugs are the missing element of their image, and that there is definitely something to be said for staggering out of the loo with blood dripping over their top lip.

The interactive games, grungy imagery and trendy web design does not repel the reader, but reinforces the visions that drugs are for those who are apart from the mainstream, that they are a sign of rebelliousness, and that taking them makes you part of some sort of anti-elitist subculture. For some, the Frank website is selling quite an attractive lifestyle. Cut me another line, Pablo!

Apart from the tragically-hip Flash-based web design, the problem essentially seems to be that the government do not wish to be seen to come even close to promoting substance abuse, for fear of public outcry. And when I say ‘public’, I of course mean ‘The small section of the public who read the Daily Mail, doesn’t actually live in the real world, votes, and creates merry hell about this kind of thing’. Sorry, but a negative viewpoint does not make for a good information website. It makes for propaganda. And nobody wants to read propaganda, except for those whose minds are already made up. They aren’t supposed to be the target audience here because it’s the undecided that the site should cater for.

Sad to say, that Frank isn’t the man we used to know. It’s not so much a case of all those drugs warping his mind, but more due to being a too-blatant mouthpiece for the government’s anti-drug policies.

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