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Speed Kills. Again. 

Dog Bites sniffs the Public Health Department's new Crystal Mess ad campaign

Wednesday, Nov 3 2004
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Standing at the urinal at the Pilsner Inn, releasing what seems like a keg of Anchor Steam, we look up to find the face of a sweaty, sullen boy, half-sexy, half-sleepy, looking right back at us. The poster has a caption -- "Horny and Impotent. What an attractive combination." -- at the bottom.

"Hey, it happens to the best of us, kid," we think, zipping up the corduroys. Squinting our eyes tighter, though, Dog Bites realizes that the poster is one in a series of shocking -- shocking! -- public service ads from the San Francisco Department of Public Health's new Crystal Mess campaign.

For those who've been living under a rock or prefer the sweet release of heroin, crystal meth (crystal "mess" -- get it?) is a type of methamphetamine that one snorts, smokes, or, in wacky moods, shoots directly into a plump vein. But is crystal meth that bad?

Of course it is.

People who Hoover, puff, or mainline it tend to vacuum their living rooms at 3 a.m., approach you at clubs and talk about nothing for hours, and steal your money. They also get so hyper and horny that they forego condoms during sex, thus catching and spreading HIV. And because it's cheap and its effects are prolonged, cocaine's white-trash cousin has moved into and refused to leave our high-happy city, particularly the gay neighborhoods of the Castro and SOMA.

Spearheaded by impish District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty, the Crystal Mess campaign launched last week in the Castro Street Muni station. In a written statement, Dufty says the campaign is necessary because he spoke "to many men who tell me there isn't enough support to motivate them to change" their speeding habits. Dog Bites sympathizes. When the loss of friends, steady employment, teeth, and life were not incentive enough, we've always been pushed into major life changes by government advertising campaigns.

As the Bay Area Reporter noted last week, the city's Crystal Mess campaign promises to "focus on dark side of speed use." Dog Bites is glad. To our eyes, the last few government anti-speed campaigns were far too whimsical, stressing the joy of fitting, finally, back into 32-waist jeans and the ability of Alex P. Keaton, in a very special episode of Family Ties, to finish his homework on time.

The Crystal Mess posters do indeed present an unalluring view of speed; the campaign's models appear, in fact, to be on the far side of a Folsom Street Fair's worth of crystal. But for once in our life, Dog Bites must be realistic: Drugs and the gay community go together like, well, drugs and San Francisco. However much money is poured into ad campaigns and scientific studies, it's a drug user's own decision whether or not he or she wants to quit, to use a condom, or to scour the bathtub in the wee hours of the morning. Pandora's Drug Store opened during the Summer of Love, and it'll take more than Crystal Mess ads even to limit its hours of operation, much less close it down. (Brock Keeling)

Election Blues. Or Reds.

By now, you are either very happy about, or nearly suicidal over, the results of Tuesday's presidential election. Either way, Dog Bites thought a few reminders of the SF Weekly Music Awards party might improve your mood.

OK, if it's Bush, you'll need some tequila, too. Just lay off the crystal; talking politics at high speed can be a danger to yourself, and to others.

About The Author

John Mecklin

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