Monday, August 26, 2013

Werner Herzog's Texting-While-Driving PSA

Two things I've written so often here as to almost become mantras: (1) it's not easy getting new questions, and I don't want them to mostly be lists of favorites/gripes; (2) I don't want to repost things that I just find on the main pop culture website that I read, at least not for a little after. This time, I only gave this site's fine entry a two-week lead because the news is very important, socially.

14 days ago, I learned that Werner Herzog produced a 34-minute documentary, From One Second to the Next, for an ad company. Anyone who knows a bit about Herzog knows that, over his 45 years of directing full-length features (51 including shorts), he doesn't shill for the Hollywood machine, and that he has a great social conscience. This German creates Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a nature documentary about a French treasure trove of the old known cave drawings. Another, Into the Abyss, was a full-bore attack on the death penalty. I assume he played the villain in Tom Cruise's Jack Reacher last year because it was a fun experience, since the man is clearly a humanist.

As such, it wasn't too surprising to learn that this 34-minute doc is a brutal and harrowing look at the dangers of the consequences of car accidents caused by drivers who text-and-drive. The whole thing was put up on Youtube, among other places, to give wide-spread exposure to this serious issue. It's important enough that I'm altering my schedule a little and not including my monthly tribute to Bill Murray just so I can get this entry out there. Sorry, Murray fans, this is too big to allow any other recourse.

And the strength of the work is impossible to ignore. Crippled victims and their families discuss their accidents, as do foolish drivers. We even see a piteously-injured, yet still loving, dog, a reminder that the cost isn't always confined to human beings. That last is especially painful to see.

I have extremely little sympathy for drunk drivers. It's one of the most rock-dumb ways for people to get injured or killed. But at least alcohol can wear down someone's judgment. Those who text while driving, however, are sober and yet still make the choice to distract their eyes and minds with their personal lives while they travel along public roads.

This work is sufficient to bring any grown person to tears. If you have been injured because of this growing social problem, I don't know if this short film will be too much for you. What I do know is that this work is important. Anyone - and I do mean anyone - who ever takes a text while behind the wheel should watch this movie, and then decide if they want to change their habits (the answer is an emphatic "yes, s--thead") .

Although I'm a native New Yorker, I do drive on occasion. I respect the rules of the road because I know that it is very dangerous, whether you're behind two tons of glass and steel or whether you're a pedestrian. I can understand have a dashboard mount for your phone and reading short messages, maybe, but any involvement beyond that means that you're willing to totally shatter lives because you can't take the time to do things the right way.

So cheers to Mr. Herzog. The video is embedded below - as I've noted, it's not an easy watch. Do what you will - or what you should.


  1. Jesus. I could never, ever, ever understand why people would text and drive. Consider that Americans remade their entire society (for the worse) because of 9/11 - but car accidents kill as many people as 9/11 every month! If the US government(*) spent 1% of the effort they spend on the bogus War on Terror trying to keep people safe in cars...

    (* - I almost wrote "the ZOG" but I realized that a lot of people wouldn't realize that I was joking...)

    1. I also don't understand why people would do it. Before cellphones became common, people were content to let calls go straight to recording, now people act like every call is for a new job or winning a sweepstakes.

      I don't know how much the govt itself can handle this. The problem is people and drivers, and if they can be encouraged/"made" to do things properly, then someone should step in with a good plan. Anyone can be an inexperienced or imperfect driver, but to not be so conscientious is just terrible.


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