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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Does 'CHP' Stand for 'Can't Help Punning'?

Posted By on Wed, Mar 11, 2009 at 6:30 AM

click to enlarge Y'know Ponch, if Marshall McLuhan is right and 'The medium is the message' -- then any advice we give to high school kids probably won't be received warmly
  • Y'know Ponch, if Marshall McLuhan is right and 'The medium is the message' -- then any advice we give to high school kids probably won't be received warmly
Poor California Highway Patrol -- they just want us to drive safely, be considerate, and, would it kill us to occasionally compliment them on their tan tops-tan pants ensemble? And yet, once again, a well-meaning message from the CHP has induced snorts of unintended laughter.

A little while back we wrote about how the CHP's sobriety on Super Bowl Sunday message (good idea) was laden down with vile football-related puns ("A DUI is no 5-yard-penalty..." That was about as apropos as the erectile dysfunction Super Bowl ad featuring Mike Ditka tossing a football through a tire swing and bellowing "Oh yes!" In short: Bad idea).

Now the CHP is announcing an "exciting new program" aimed at highlighting teenage drivers' propensity to smash up their vehicles, titled -- no joke -- "Impact Teen Drivers." Is it just us, or is it in bad taste to attempt to curtail fatal collisions with a program whose name is a double-entendre for collisions?

I'm not qualified to rate the efficacy of teenage marketing materials -- the music is too loud and I'm too old. But text noting that teachers are given props such as a "probability wheel" which "intrigues teens" actually induced an urge to hide beneath my desk. There's an art to acknowledging that teenagers are naive fools without being condescending to them.

So, with utter sincerity, best of luck to the CHP, teachers, and others in keeping teen drivers alive. Yet if this program is really captivating teens as it claims to -- well, I'd be intrigued.    

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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