Magazine article The American Prospect

This Is Your Brain on Art

Magazine article The American Prospect

This Is Your Brain on Art

Article excerpt

Antidrug crusaders probably made their biggest mass-media splash with their famous television advertisement comparing a cooked egg to a brain fried by drugs, ending with a deadpan voice asking, "Any questions?" Now, a campaign sponsored in part by White House "Drug Czar" Barry R. McCaffrey's Office of National Drug Control Policy emphasizes that parental supervision of young teens--which McCaffrey's office is calling the "antidrug"--can counter the lure of illegal drugs. The new ad series suggests parents help keep their kids off drugs by taking them to activities like soccer games, picnics, movies, aquariums.., and museums.

We're all for preventing drug use among children. But have the ad execs the Drug Czar hired really thought this one through? "Attention parents,' reads one ad. "Taking your kid to a museum prevents drug use." Museums are great places for young minds. But are they really such great advertisements for teetotaling and sobriety? Vincent Van Gogh (absinthe drinker), Jackson Pollock (notorious alcoholic), Andy Warhol (who knows)--you get the idea. Many great artists were "great drinkers. …

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