Skip to main content

Fat Harvest

posted 22 Nov 2009 16:45 by Dick Pountain   [ updated 9 Dec 2009 03:04 ]
 
The Guardian ran a far more macabre fat-related story (peru-gang-killing-human-fat). A Peruvian gang has been arrested for murdering people to harvest their body fat and sell it on to the cosmetic surgery industry as an anti-wrinkle treatment. Now fans of Chuck Palahniuk's "Fight Club" (and David Fincher's excellent movie of it) will recognise this as one of its more bizarre and incredible plot devices - our heroes steal waste human fat from liposuction clinics and make it into luxury toilet soap to sell in smart shops. Did the Peruvians get the idea from the movie, did the movie get it from the Peruvians? Is the story even true? The gang is supposed to have been operating in an area where the Shining Path guerillas are active, so it might just be black propaganda put out by the security forces.

I don't know, nor do I care enough to find out: the important point is that such doubts are now immediate and automatic. We're well into that epoch which Guy Debord prophesied in "Comments on the Society of the Spectacle" where fact and fiction become inextricably mixed: "
With the destruction of history, contemporary events themselves retreat into a remote and fabulous realm of unverifiable stories, uncheckable statistics, unlikely explanations and untenable reasoning. For every imbecility presented by the spectacle, there are only the media’s professionals to give an answer
..."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A New Age of Sabotage

I haven't posted much recently because every time I think of something to say, the extraordinary pace of events makes it sound lame by the next morning: New York under water, Obama re-elected, News International in the dock, rockets falling on Tel Aviv, and that's even before we reach the Mayan apocalypse on Dec 21. However I've finally plucked up courage to wade into the torrent of the miraculous-horrific thanks to a fortunate discovery on the web. In this previous post I confessed an increasing interest in the radical Norwegian-American economist Thorstein Veblen, but that interest was quite narrowly based on reading only three of his works, namely The Theory of the Leisure Class, The Theory of Business Enterprise and his important essay The Socialist Economics of Karl Marx and His Followers. This wasn't just due to laziness but to the difficulty of obtaining many of Veblen's books, which have been out of print for a long time.

But I re-read Veblen's Wikiped…

Trump of Doom?

Thought for the day. The type of economy we call social democracy depended for its success on a willingness of the majority of the population to cooperate as well as compete with one another, giving up a portion of their income in taxes to be spent on various public goods like medicine, education and transport. If the population loses its willingness to make these reasonable sacrifices then it becomes impossible to maintain a social democracy.

The UK population was so willing for at least 30 years following WWII, to a large extent thanks to the experience of necessary cooperation among the generation who fought that war. But over the *last* 30+ years that willingness has been steadily eroded by many factors, including (but by no means confined to): greater individualism stemming from precisely the relative affluence and economic freedom that post-war social democracy conferred; successive economic crises (some related to oil, some to financial recklessness); industrial decline, outsou…

Collapse of the Left

The devastating setbacks recently suffered by the Left in the UK, USA, Turkey, Hungary and Poland (perhaps soon to be followed by more within the EU) have not yet lead to any satisfactory explanation of what is going wrong. They're still largely discussed in terms of Right v Left, but using partially outdated definitions of what these terms imply.

For the first half of the 20th century, the democratic Left was associated with socialised services, economic regulation, high wages and worker's rights,, while the Right espoused militarism, privatised services, free markets and low wages. The 1960s counterculture crucially changed the beliefs of the so called New Left in the direction of pacifism, minority rights and social libertarianism, and these positions have now merged into the mainstream Left to produce a bewildering range of different combinations and sects.

The Right still likes militarism, free markets, and individualism but has also adopted substantial parts of New Left …