The following is a public service announcement brought to you by Paul Rubens, aka Pee Wee Herman. Known for his serious demeanor and deep, insightful sayings like “I know you are but what am I?”, Pee Wee appears here to warn kids about the dangers of crack cocaine.
To the untrained eye, this PSA may seem like a well-meaning word of warning about a potentially deadly drug; however, those who know better see it for what it really is–a thinly-veiled advertisement for a drug that was virtually unknown until the U.S. began its media saturation campaign in the mid-’80s.
In July of 1986, 74 news stories about crack appeared on network television and were accompanied by over 1,000 newspaper and magazine articles that same year. These stories generally focused on gruesome deaths, violence and the mythological “crack baby syndrome” that was later discovered not to exist at all.