Guy Debord, the society of the spectacle and the medicine of the spectacle

I was born in 1953, the year that Guy Debord wrote “NEVER WORK!” on the walls of Paris and the dictator Stalin died, leaving some people with the illusion that the so-called socialist paradise really existed.

There’s been an exhibition dedicated to Guy Debord at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF) ever since 27 March[1] and, from the distance of sixty years, I can see how Debord and his art of war (Carl von Clausewitz) have influenced me as a dermatologist in my battles against skin disease.

In 1968, when I was a high school student, I had the opportunity to discover Debord’s book The Society of the Spectacle, which had been published the previous year. I am convinced that this book has had more influence in my life than hundred of others I read in the course of my studies.

Thesis 9 in this book has oriented all of my work in dermatology and medicine, in that it has shaped my strategy in dealing with a system that has done everything to block research into the precise etiology of Seborrhoeic dermatitis: “In a world that is really upside-down, the true is a moment of the false.”

We know that Debord had a disgust for the university, which he never attended, because he had no need of that system to know how to write.[2]

After I graduated, I had the same feeling as I began my medical studies (six months, which was six months too much) because I had the impression and even the certainty that I was wasting my time: you do not find out the cause of an illness by answering multiple-choice questions and having the responses analyzed by a computer.

I could not see myself writing prescriptions for useless and dangerous drugs recommended by the pharmaceutical laboratories, the sad results of which we can see today.[3]

As I have suffered from familial seborrhoeic dermatitis since the age of 17, I have long sought through medical and dermatological research a precise etiology for disease and especially the one from which I suffer.

Thus, I have had to learn to observe the medical system that claims to fight disease and to adapt my strategy with respect to this system.

Throughout my research, I have seen that the “true is a moment of the false.”

From 1972 to 1979, I saw the heads of clinics and dermatologists, inveterate smokers, who had passed their examinations with flying colors and were convinced that smoking tobacco and second-hand smoke were harmless.

Thus, I quickly understood that there was no supreme savior and that I could only count on myself for my art of war . . . in medicine.

I had to adopt a specific strategy and attack this skin disease with a precise methodology.

I also had to learn to translate into my own language the disinformation of a system that attempted to orient me towards a dead end.

Observation of the members of my family was primary, although they never exactly understood my research. Everything began with the Sunday cigar smoked by my father, who developed seborrhoeic dermatitis on this day of rest that wasn’t at all restful.

From that moment, I didn’t cease to conduct my battle to put an end to this skin disease, described for the first time by a dermatologist from Hamburg (Unna) in 1887, at a time when the smoking of tobacco began to invade public places, but no one and especially no dermatologist saw the cause and effect relationship. The entire twentieth century was marked by an imposture concerning a non-seborrhoeic seborrhoeic hypersecretion, and it was only in 1983 that English researchers measured this seborrhea, the levels of which were the same in two groups of patients: those who did and those who did not have seborrhoeic dermatitis.[4] Bad results, given that, for a century, one had treated patients without seborrhea with anti-seborrhoeics!

I had been right to seek an allergic cause due to an environmental factor, such as the nicotine in second-hand smoke, as I had seen in my initial observation of the Sunday cigar. It was in 1975 that I had the good idea to test myself on my forearm with a tobacco-leaf preparation. There was an extremely strong reaction in twenty minutes and one knows the rest, that is, from numerous Anglo-Saxon medical and dermatological journals because, in France, allergies to tobacco are said to not exist. . . .[5] (Chirac, Simone Veil, Rocard, Barre and hundreds of others smoke in public . . . with no problems caused!)

Then, in 1977, I had the good fortune to meet a brilliant researcher, Jacques Benveniste, who helped me with his test that uses degranulated human basophiles in order to show that nicotine is the haptene responsible for the seborrhoeic dermatitis. But the tobacco-industry lobby had no interest in having this information propagated because, insofar as people smoke, they forget about everyday reality and continue to avail themselves of the many useless and dangerous medicines that the pharmaceutical industry produces on the pretext that science is advancing in the fight against disease.

Dermatology has continued this same imposture, promulgating the idea of an infection caused by a skin saprophyte, Pityrosporum, which also exists in healthy skin, and, while lithium succinate (a lithium salt) is effective against seborrhoeic dermatitis, it has no effect on Pityrosporum. But one must continue this fraud in order to sell hundreds of useless and dangerous ointments (cortisones and anti-fungal soaps, for example) and thus finance three different systems: the tobacco industry, the State that collects taxes on tobacco and the pharmaceutical industry.

Debord described the fall of the spectacular-commodity industry and, today, we have the example of the [fall of the] pharmaceutical industry,[6] which is desperately trying to recuperate the works of Jacques Benveniste[7] because the treatment of disease might become cheap, if not free.[8]

Debord was right when he wrote “NEVER WORK,” because developing useless and dangerous medicines is not a good idea; one must [instead] have a correct and effective strategy if one wants to find the simplest solutions. For example, the use of products based on Dead Sea salt to treat skin reactions once more shows that we are forced to change strategies that do not automatically please the pharmaceutical industry.[9]

Many Ubuesque situations confirm Debord’s thesis, especially the spectacle of virus H1N1, which was used as a pretext to vaccinate the entire population, even though there was no pandemic, and thus bail out the pharmaceutical industry[10] through the dispensing of 94 million doses of useless vaccines and bottles of Tamiflu for the side effects.

The most recent attempt of the spectacle to save the pharmaceutical industry and its networks consists in the notion that patients should have “confidence in their medications.” All those who are dead as the result of the side effects of the thousands of toxic and useless medicines (Vioxx, Mediator and others) are no longer here to testify. The Nouvel Observateur (or, rather, the Old Observer that corresponds with “the old world”) provides us with a recent demonstration: “The French have confidence in their medications” (Liza Fabbian).[11]

The human being has become a commodity that the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t cease to influence by inventing new diseases for it.[12]

With simple solutions to disease, notably the digital biology of Jacques Benveniste, we could avoid wasting time by “working” at talking a lot of nonsense and we could drive cars that use compressed air and thus preserve the atmosphere.[13]

We could also find simpler energy sources and not pollute the earth for thousands of years by using nuclear power: a major accident could cost up to 5.8 trillion Euros and would be ideal if one wanted to create useless and dangerous jobs and make human beings “work.”

Poor world, with Guy Debord we can envision forgetting the Nazi slogan Arbeit macht frei (Chinese labor camps, too) and accede with full awareness to his “NEVER WORK,” which is inevitable.

[1] Link provided by author: calendrier_expositions/f.debord.html.

[2] Translator: more to the point, I think, Debord had a strong distrust for spectacular medicine and a close personal relationship with the homeopathic physician Michel Bounan. Cf. Bounan’s Incitement to Self-Defense (1995).

[3] Link provided by author: utiles-inutiles-ou.

[4] Link provided by author: http://www.bmj. com/content/286/6372/1169.pdf%2Bhtml.

[5] Link provided by author: http:// recherche-en-medecine-1-la-dermite-seborrheiqu. Cf. also Marcel Schutzenberger (from the Academy of “Science”) who, with a cigarette in his fingers, claims to “sweep aside” the work by Jacques Benveniste.

[6] Link provided by author: fin-des-illusions.

[7] Link provided by author: industrie-pharmaceutique-tente.

[8] Link provided by author: sudan/210313/de-leau-au-moulin-de-jacques-benveniste.

[9] Link provided by author: -de-la-mer-morte-pour-les.

[10] Link provided by author: http:// industrie-pharmaceutique-avait-préparé-son-sauvetage.

[11] Link provided by author: Les-Francais-ont-confiance-dans-leurs-medicaments-2319.html.

[12] Link provided by author: Video:1252109&xgs=1&xg_source=msg_share_video.

[13] Link provided by author: http:// -de-recuperer-le-moteur-hybride-air-comprime.

(Written by Bernard Sudan and published on his blog on 2 April 2013. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! on 3 April 2013. Footnotes as indicated.)

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