Monkey see, monkey do. Apparently. The pseudo-science equivalent today is mirror neurons, of course. But what of it?
Recent research shows that people are more likely to drink if they see people on TV drinking. (Actually, "people" should be more specific: the research was carried out on 80 "young people" - most likely students - so generalisations are difficult to make, as you would know if you've ever observed yourself as a student around other students, in comparison to yourself not as a student, around other non-students.)
The "spin" on this is alcohol-focused:
"He said the findings suggested there may be an argument for restricting advertising and introducing warnings on films.
"But he added there needed to be more research to establish the long-term implications on drinking habits."
But I'd like to turn this around, for as it stands, the argument is couched in the now-traditional British perspective of "STOP DOING BAD THINGS, you fool."
How about, instead of getting people not to do bad stuff, realising for a change that we could get people to do good stuff by, well, doing it ourselves?
In other (person's) words, "We must become the change we want to see in the world." Rather than focusing on the censorship of alcohol adverts, why not show more examples of people we respect doing things we wouldn't otherwise do?
Take musicians, for instance. Everyone wants to be a rock superstar - but all we see is the final gig, so all we end up doing is pretending to play shit through Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Samba de Amigo. The ideas of practice and learning to actually play have been relegated to an underground, smoky den where only the truly passionate and deranged actually bother to go through with the pain. Or so we would like to believe.
There are myriad other possibilities, but we've become blind to them, choosing instead to see our world in terms of what we shouldn't do. How dull.
We have a whole Internet here, and even greater than that, we have a whole World outside it. How can we start using them to think about things in the long term again? How can we get away from the notion of instant feedback, and doing things for the input, rather than the output?