I was asked to Guest Blog. So this article can be found HERE.
I was asked to Guest Blog. So this article can be found HERE.
Whereas popular media such as TV shows, news broadcasts, music, and feature films soften the population’s opposition to certain ideas – or create a somewhat intangible, fuzzy support – documentaries can inspire real, active change.
The current revival of the environmentalist movement can be tied directly to the release of Davis Guggenheim’s An Inconvenient Truth; the U.S.’s Affordable Care Act would never have gained the momentum it did without Sicko; and what about all of the people who now protest against the justice system and law enforcement due to Paradise Lost or Making a Murderer?*
Those few documentaries inspired more passionate action and societal change than the entire historic catalog of books, films, breathless news reports, and TV shows about natural disasters, incompetent healthcare systems, and wrongfully accused individuals.
There’s just something about a 90-minute visual education piece on a compelling topic that moves people; especially when there is a David vs. Goliath story at the core. Americans love the concept of underdogs fighting against some sort of injustice – especially when it’s institutionalized. The larger, greedier, more dishonest, and heartless the opponent, the more people will sit up and take notice; righteous indignation turning their knuckles white.
Before I go on, I want to make it clear that I have no connection with Aaron Biebert, or any of the people at Attention Era Media who have made the documentary called A Billion Lives – which is the equivalent of An Inconvenient Truth, Sicko, and Making a Murderer for the vaping / tobacco harm reduction issue.
I just know an effective thing when I see it.
I have already covered the importance of gaining traction with the general public; that inattentive and borderline apathetic massive sea of people who are spending significantly more time wondering who Negan killed than considering the devastating implications of a government agency unilaterally shutting down an entire industry without cause.
Keep in mind, you don’t need these people to get out of their La-Z-Boys, put on shoes, and picket for your right to vape. You just need them to get to a point of positive indifference – meaning they still won’t personally care about vaping, but they will see nothing wrong with you doing it.
Here is an example of what positive indifference looks like. I personally love women; I am married to a woman and can’t ever see that changing – it’s just right for me. But I don’t oppose your desire to marry whoever or whatever you want; same sex, a cat, Siri, your Dyson vacuum – it doesn’t matter to me. And although I’m not going to go out and fight for your right to marry an appliance, I’m also not going to support anyone who is trying to stop you from doing it.
The power of positive indifference is this; when the general public doesn’t oppose your cause, then the actions of a small, passionate minority can make exponentially more progress with regard to public policy. And when you are bullied in your quest, the public will react like an older brother who goes to the same high school as you; he’s not going to leave his place on the bench to get involved in your drama, but he will tell your bully to just leave you the hell alone.
That’s exactly why A Billion Lives is critically important right now. It will change the public stance from opposition to positive indifference – and that’s all you need it to do.
With independent films like A Billion Lives, the options are usually (a) hit film festivals in the hopes of a distribution deal, (b) coordinate independent showings, or (c) strike a deal with streaming platforms like Netflix, HBO, or Apple. All of which can take time and delay a film’s release by years.
Thanks to your opponents, you don’t have years to get this story before the public. You have…right now.
The worst thing that you can do at this point is to just assume that A Billion Lives will magically hit theaters and attract mainstream attention. It’ll take sponsors (money), widespread vape industry support, and a massive grassroots publicity campaign. It’s going to take you getting involved and helping Biebert to get this message out in a way that the public and the media won’t be able to ignore.
The timing of this film’s completion is serendipitous, to say the least. An aligning of the planets. But if you are going to benefit from it, you are going to have to make it happen. Fast.
I’m telling you, it’ll be worth it.
We win, that’s what now.
Between Governor Jerry Brown signing the controversial tobacco bills into law in California – which opens vaping up to unsustainable regulation, criticism, and taxation in the most vape-active state in the country – and the FDA injecting a slow-acting but definitely fatal poison directly into the jugular of the nation’s vaping industry, it seems that we may have lost the battle to ensure longer lives and better health for millions of cigarette smokers.
If I can interrupt your wailing and gnashing of teeth for a moment, I beg you to consider a different perspective. It’ll be worth it.
What I see in the middle of this platter of steaming garbage (that has been served up on both the state and federal levels) is a big, glittering diamond. We have been given a gift.
In making no concessions to the vaping industry, and subsequently raising a tall middle finger to the citizens of this great country who have found improved health, happiness, and quality of life by moving from cigarettes to vaping, the government has guaranteed two things.
One. That the adults will now take over the vapor industry. Millennials, hobbyists, hipsters, and high school kids trying to push the 300 watt barrier just don’t have the intestinal fortitude for what’s coming. Many shops will close, convention centers will sit empty, vape trick competitions will disappear, and there will be the odd hissing sound of wringing hands coming from parents’ basements nationwide. The end of the current vaping industry is at hand. But if you read my post here – then you already know that it’s not a bad thing.
I worked for many years in the air medical industry; those brave folks who fly critically ill and injured people on helicopters. And I can tell you that the only industry more heavily regulated than healthcare is aviation. So why not mix them together and see what happens! I’ll tell you what happens – it becomes a constant (daily) struggle between governmental intrusion (usually fueled by ignorance and/or greed) and trying to make enough money to keep flying. You talk about protracted PR and lobbying battles – the e-cigarette and vaping world actually has had it easy. Well, until now.
So why do people in air medical keep getting up every day and fighting – after all, you can make significantly more money in numerous other industries? Because it’s the right thing to do. Human lives matter and fighting against bureaucracy to keep people alive and with their families is a damn compelling mission.
But it takes adults who can play the game. And I can tell you, those folks only show up when there is a compelling mission endangered by inappropriate, ignorant, and destructive resistance (sound like anything else you know?).
Truly successful people relish ‘unwinnable’ challenges, especially when the outcome is ultimately beneficial to humanity.
And two. The eighty-five plus percent of Americans fatigued by continuous governmental intrusion are now primed to come around. Start pushing the messages that I recommended here and hammer the social proof of the benefits associated with vaping over cigarette smoking, and you will find exponential traction in the critical public arena.
If you are depressed or defeated over the massive anti-vaping developments in these past couple of days, I’d suggest you either get over it quickly or get out of the way. The people who are going to win this fight for the benefit of public health worldwide are about to step up, and this is going to get ugly, frustrating, expensive, and amazing from this point on.
In conclusion I will go back to what I said in part 1:
There is good news though. Great news, in fact. Victor Hugo once wrote, On résiste à l’invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas à l’invasion des idées – commonly paraphrased as no one can resist an idea whose time has come. No government, no politician, and no industry.
It just got real.