Thursday, October 01, 2009

I saw a little news story: Less pharmaceuticals are coming out on the market, because during the testing process, it turns out the drugs can't beat the control group placebo. Placebos, essentially, have gotten more effective, as marketing has become so prevalent that people have more faith in the idea of drugs.

Last night, I attended a lecture about radionics: Essentially a discredited form of science, which could also be considered a repressed method of alternative medicine. The lecture was interesting, touching on all manner of odd phenomena. I would point you to a wikipedia page, but that largely emphasizes the "this is not real" elements. It's worth noting that some people doing these practices have cited positive results. I'll also point to that story about the placebos, both to say "Hey, the human mind can trick itself into doing things" to explain away such positive results of radionics, and also to say "Modern medicine isn't as legit as it would like to be."

I think there's something tragic about these practices being so repressed- A great many Wilhelm Reich books have been completely destroyed. These ideas now just belong to this library of esoteric thought, uninvestigated, deplored. The idea that they were destroyed as harmful because they don't work is not satisfying. I believe last week was banned books week, and that usually applies to fiction found offensive, but those are things that have not actually been wiped from the face of the Earth.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, the music website Pitchfork is doing a top 200 albums of the decade list, building its own canon for an era over which it was sort of the dominant tastemaker. The list is as insane as their original list of the top 100 albums of the 1990s, with multiple albums by artists not really that notable. It's the multiple albums by the same artist thing that really strikes me as evidence of building an incredibly narrow hall of fame. Maybe it's absurd to think of canon-building as being akin to these other things I'm discussing, but it frequently amounts to the same thing: A discrediting of approaches in the creation of this heroic narrative written by the winners.

1 comment:

Kendra said...

banned books week is now! or at least, ending this evening. I mobbed with my classmates passing out pins and bookmarks.
speaking too of pfork, did you see the white album perfect ten? sortof makes it all arbitrary when retrospective reviews can be created to incorporate historical significance/ hindsight.