“The ‘Medico-Security Industrial Complex’?”

March 5, 2013 · by PharmaWatch Canada-Rachel Jane Liebert PhD

“Such strategies are eerily similar to disease mongering: the creation of an ‘at-risk’ population is also the creation of a market for technologies and expertise around classification, surveillance, and intervention. One that is especially profitable because it is based on potential; pre-emptive practices mean that threat can never be falsified, thereby propelling people into loopy interventions that reproduce the very fears and insecurities that fertilized their deployment in the first place. This profitability is, moreover, maximized if the ‘at-risk’ population is considered not only treatable, but incurable. Hence the benefit in mobilizing discourses suggesting that violence comes from a chronic illness. If people are forever potentially mad, then they require life-long preventative treatment. Or, as Nikolas Rose[1] argues, in prevention efforts, “what is treated by doctors and drugs…is not disease but the almost infinitely expandable and malleable empire of risk”.”

from Modern American Poetry-“Medusa in Myth and Literary History”

“In Christian symbolism, Medusa represents the dreaded enemy and death, and thus becomes an embodiment of the Devil. She appears in this guise in a passage in the Book of Arthur which belongs to the cycle of the Holy Grail (Vulgate version of Arthurian romances, Vol. VII, Washington, 1913). In fact, this is a female monster, the ‘Ugly Semblance’, who lives at the bottom of a river. She does not exercise her powers by turning people to stone, but by causing the waters to swallow them up. Similarly, a play by Calderón, which tells of the adventures of Andromeda and Perseus (Fortunas de Andromeda y Perseo), has the hero, a new incarnation of the Saviour, defeating Medusa who is the personification of Death and Sin.

At first glance, therefore, Medusa’s head is very much a representation of the terrifying Other, of absolute negativity. She continues to fulfil this function in the twentieth-century trilogy by the Greek writer Pandelis Prevelakis, The Ways of Creation, which comprises The Sun of Death (Athens, 1959; Paris, 1965), The Head of the Medusa (Athens, 1963) and The Bread of the Angels (Athens, 1966). In the trilogy, the Gorgon represents both ‘Nietzschian nihilism’ and the foreign ideologies which threaten Hellenism. The hero sets out to free Greece once again from the monster, but he fails and realizes that there is no longer a single piece of untaited land in his country. Everything points to the fact that the malady specific to modern Greece, and the country’s inability to accommodate, change, have provoked this monstrous ‘representation’ of the Other. Medusa’s head does indeed seem to be a mask which serves to justify her absolute and evil strangeness.

The fact that Medusa is a mask and that this mask hides a more human face, is borne out by the way in which her portrayal is developed from the pre-Classical era to the Hellenistic period. There is a dual transformation i.e. the disappearance of both facial quality and ugliness (see Images de la Gorgone, Bibliothéque Nationale, 1985). Beneath the mask lies what could be called Medusa’s ‘tragic beauty’.”

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