Détournement, Coca-Cola, Greenpeace and More Dead Birds on the Sand

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act ~ George Orwell

In the book, Beautiful Trouble: A Cookbook for a Revolution, one tactic used to re-appropriate common cultural artefacts the intended audience are already familiar with (such as Cola-Cola or Pantene), then injecting them with radical connotations, is called ‘détournement‘, which roughly translates from French to ‘derailment’ or ‘overturning’. This tactic, used in the creation of ‘re-configuered’ advertisements creates new connotations for the audience, forcing them to think about their choices and the role they play in enacting the consequences of them:

KNOW YOUR CULTURAL TERRAIN: As an act of semiotic sabotage, détournement requires the user to have fluency in the signs and symbols of contemporary culture. The better you know a culture, the easier it is to shift, repurpose, or disrupt it. To be successful, the media artifact chosen for détournement must be recognizable to its intended audience. Further, the saboteur must be familiar with the subtleties of the artefact’s original meaning in order to effectively create a new, critical meaning.”

But not only that, it works subversively by bypassing mental filters because people are already familiar with the cultural symbols and urban mythology presented, which then, disrupted by imagery and symbolism, present the truth, which often comes as a shock to some because it sits at odds with their beliefs, ideas and what they think they know. However, once you know the truth, you cannot unknown it!

“Advertisements start to feel less like batteringrams of consumerism and more like the raw materials for art and critical reflection.”

It can be used to disrupt the narrative flow of popular media, pillaging it of corporate power, especially in regards to environmental issues such as the irresponsibility of Coca-Cola and the Australian bird population that are chocking to death on plastic.

The Latest Greenpeace Petition: Sign This to Stop Coke Trashing Australia (It will only take 30 seconds of your life.)

Classic Hoax Methodology: Dow Chemical apologizes for Bhopal Disaster

Citation: Beautiful Trouble (Beautiful Trouble, various authors) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

The Labyrinth: Dead Birds on the Sand

The Labyrinth: Dead Birds on the Sand and the Bystander Effect

Dead birds, possibly starved to death with stomachs full of plastic

Dead birds, possibly starved to death with full stomachs full of plastic

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

When the Sick Rule the World

Big Pharma, Wellness Inc still can’t cut the mustard, supplying us with a fix for the variety of medical conditions relating to people being sensitive to chemicals. Maybe one day, the sick will rule the world and then we will get it right? Do you ever feel like a trendsetter, totally on fleek with your plucked eyebrows, mask and/or scarf?

Wellness inc, Big Pharma still don't have cure for MCS. In 'When the sick rule the work' a book by Dodie Bellamy, she discusses the idea of draws a connection between MCS and HIV/AIDS and homelessness issues

Well in this dystopian world, you would be… Over at Review 31, in a review titled ‘Mortality Will Be Sexy’, written by Jean-Thomas Tremblay about Dodie Bellamy ‘s book, When the Sick Rule the World, Tremblay, a PhD researcher in the department of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago, writes:  .

“Bellamy’s lengthy paragraphs formalise a proposition: that being in the world entails living in the midst of social relations, and that pondering these relations constitutes an occasion for speculating patterns of interaction and forms of community. The collection’s title essay, ‘When the Sick Rule the World,’ tackles multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), a chronic condition whose manifestation, though volatile, often involves an acute allergic reaction following a low-level exposure to common chemicals. The essay’s massive, three-page opening paragraph imitates a self-diagnosis questionnaire. Unevenly recognised by medical practitioners, MCS relies on self-diagnoses that are legitimised almost strictly within MCS circles. These are the last few lines of the opening paragraph:

“… have you ever had root canal implants or bridgework done on your teeth if so when have you ever had implants stainless steel Teflon silicone put into your body if so when and what kind of implants have you ever been given vaccinations if so when have you ever had reactions to any vaccinations have you ever smoked if so for how long have you ever lived with others that smoked if so for how long and how old were you how often do you eat fish what types of fish do you eat?”

Is Bellamy mocking Environmental Medicine, or has her research let her astray? It is fiction, so it’s probably a case of an exaggeration of the facts.

The question mark that brings this excerpt to an end is the paragraph’s only punctuation. In this excerpt, potential causes melt into one another. Devoid of both clear categories and a hierarchy, the symptomatology of MCS is a pastiche of potential causes whose accretion, more than any one cause, indicates sickness. The term ‘pastiche’ seems especially apt, here. In her 2006 monograph Sick Building Syndrome and the Problem of Uncertainty: Environmental Politics, Technoscience, and Women’s Workers, the historian Michelle Murphy argues that sick building syndrome, a derivative of MCS prevalent in 1980s workplaces, is a problem that is postmodern in form, in so far as it lacks an essence. I would suggest, instead, that MCS has an essence that is distributed, elusive; the causes of MCS are ‘in the air,’ ‘in the water,’ ‘out there.’ In the face of such distributed causes, pastiche, postmodernism’s preferred stylistic device, is mobilised to marshal the different particles of an essence.

Bellamy’s punctuation-free questionnaire conveys a sense of the hazy, disorganised context in which people vulnerable to ordinary chemicals struggle to build communities. She takes interest in current infrastructures for MCS information-sharing and community-building, including what she calls ‘a listserve for the sick.’ The Internet has been an important locus of gathering for members of MCS communities, many of whom are women who come from North American urban and suburban areas. Bellamy doesn’t only survey existing community forms; she also speculates on a future social configuration dominated by ‘the sick.’ Her speculation is utopian and dystopian at once… ”

 “… Gas masks will be sexy, the envy of every Paris runway;’ ‘When the sick rule the world mortality will be sexy.”

“When the sick rule the world roses, gardenias, freesias, and other fragrant flowers will no longer be grown. On Valentine’s Day the sick will give one another dahlias and daisies to say I Love You. The sick should have sex as often as possible because it’s good for the immune system;’ ‘When the sick rule the world there will be no restaurants.

And my favourite line so far: “When the sick rule the world Calvin Klein will design aluminium foil dressings and our porcelain walls will be decorated by Limoges.”

I actually agree with the sex part and being good for the immune system. Lol, there’s the ‘cure’ right there!

Bellamy’s flirtation with both utopia and dystopia (e.g. abundant sex, but no more fragrant flowers; a fashion avant-garde that evokes militarism) is worth dwelling on. While Bellamy puts things in relation, she doesn’t resolve their tensions. Many elements suggest that Bellamy draws a connection between MCS and HIV/AIDS: the sex-death matrix of her utopian/dystopian speculation; a reference to Todd Haynes’ film Safe (1995), in which MCS serves as a metaphor for the AIDS epidemic; the use of ‘sick’ to mean both a category of marginalisation and an affirmative identity to be claimed; and a discussion, in the essay that follows ‘When the Sick Rule the World,’ of a cult guru who lived with AIDS and had unprotected sex with students who ignored his status. Yet, Bellamy never absolutely conflates these diagnoses, or proffers that one clarifies the other.”

I haven’t read it yet, but you’d think Belamy would at least touch on climate change and environmental issues such as Veganism. I understand the connection between MCS and HIV/AIDS, especially on a social level and I look forward to reading more about other social justice issues touched on in this book as soon as I get my hands on a copy.

Let’s finish this review of a review on this paragraph from the book, When the Sick Rule the World:

“When the sick rule the world the well will be servants, and all the well will try to become sick so they too can have servants. Pretending to be sick will be a capital offense. When the sick rule the world the limbs of the well will be chopped off in the middle of the night, the well one still alive, flailing and screaming. The limbs of the well will fetch exorbitant fees on the black market, sold to sorcerers who will dry the limbs and grind them into magic powders to be placed into amulets to ward off blindness and toxins. These amulets will bring prosperity to their owners.”

The Labyrinth will let you know more about this book as soon as someone here gets to read it.

You can buy the book here in the UK.

I will update this page later with more links to this book. (At a guess, I’m sure this book falls into the genre of Creative nonfiction, most definitely literature.)

Have you read this book? What do you think of it?

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Interferon Psalms by Luke Davies

Interferon PsalmsInterferon Psalms by Luke Davies
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Interferon Psalms

Luke Davies is an Australian contemporary poet, acclaimed novelist and screenplay writer. Born in 1962, and raised in Sydney, NSW, he became interested in reading and writing at a young age; and at thirteen, he decided he wanted to be a poet and a novelist. When he finished school he attended the University of Sydney and earned a Bachelor of Arts, publishing his first book of poems, Four Plots for Magnets (1982), while still a student.

Davies has worked as a truck driver and teacher.

His more recent poetry collections include Absolute Event Horizon (1994), Running With Light (1999), Totem (2005), a collection of love poems, and Interferon Psalms (2011).

At the time of reading Luke Davies, Interferon Psalms, it was my all-time favourite of all his books. (I’m back to loving Candy, all the more these day.) Interferon Psalms has thirty-three poems of varied length and concentration; the language is archaic and modern at the same time. Davies describes the book as thirty-three psalms on the face of god, used as a medi-evil reference. He underwent interferon treatment for his liver, where the side effects from the treatment were really awful; this book of poetry was his way of making something good out of something horrible.

The poems in this book contain metaphors relating to physics, space and time. On first reading, I thought most of the poems were about religion and god, but I think they’re the opposite of that, in that, the poems appear to be about the big bang theory, quantum physics, and the structure of the earth, all interrelated with the themes of lost love, the redemptive power of medicine, and the rebellion of one’s own body.

My Complete Analysis of Interferon Psalm 25
The title is interesting because ‘interferon is a protein released by animal cells, usually in a response to a virus, and it has the property of inhibiting virus replication’. ‘Psalm’ is a sacred song or poem. So, to me, the title suggests irony because even though interferon, itself, is produced naturally by the body, and interferon treatment saves lives, the treatment can also produce awful side effects, so ‘interferon’, and ‘psalms’, which are poetically soothing, sit at odds with one another.

The first line is strong, as it tells the reader that it’s about a poem.

To me, the poem is about the narrator, a poet who finds refuge in poetry.
Images used are poems, notebooks, syntax, words: all elements of writing. As well there is blood, matter and light: all elements of life. Also there is the image of a cutlass, which is a machete, or a short naval sword, scything the air for words to use in poetry.

The theme of the poem is poetry, the one true place of refuge. And perhaps, pain, and finding peace in one’s writing.

The blood is a metaphor for the use of grammar, which the narrator has had a lot of experience with.

The last two lines: the ‘Waving my cutlass, I scythed the air. (God bless this notebook and all who sail in her.), suggests the narrator slashing the air and snatching precious words out of the air, and being thankful for the treasure of a notebook to keep them in. And the idea that people can ‘sail’ in a notebook suggests that there is a story in there that will take the reader on a journey!

I really like this poem; I love the way it is written, and the use of language and poetry. On first reading, I felt that Davies had slashed open his heart and bled out his feelings for the love of poetry, out onto the page. He is a gifted poet we could all learn from, who has a way of writing about love, life and pain without coming across as overly sentimental.

Mostly though, I’m in love and awe of the way Davies paints with words.

GoodReads: View all my reviews


Miche@The Labyrinth: That Time I Tried to Emulate Luke Davies

Miche@VU: Study of an Australian Contemporary Poet: Luke Davies

Poetry Library: Luke Davies 

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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