Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Apropos of Absolutely Nothing

One of the most annoying things about growing up on military bases overseas is the lack of access to mass media. When I was a kid, living on base meant you only had one English-language TV station, though I understand nowadays that's increased to a whopping eight thanks to cable and satellite. Being run by the military, these stations didn't run commercials, but to keep the schedule regular they needed something to fill breaks, so they ran PSAs instead. Many of them were the standard Ad Council stuff -- "This is your brain on drugs," "I sort glass," etc. -- but a lot of it was produced by the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service on crappy camcorders with a budget equal to a high school play.

There were many subjects for these PSAs -- don't waste electricity, don't litter, don't take government issued pens home from work, don't incinerate yourself by using too much lighter fluid on the grill. And of course the ever popular OpSec -- don't say anything related to military operations where people can hear. These weren't just aimed at soldiers. Dependents were expected to keep their mouths shut too, and these PSAs ran during Sesame Street and Scooby-Doo just as much as Cheers and Falcon Crest.

Sadly(?) only a few of the ads from the '80s, when I was growing up, are on YouTube, but there are plenty of modern versions available. They're highly informative and should be viewed by anyone who comes out of the civilian world with no knowledge of basic information security.

Not that I have anyone in mind.

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