Friday, January 06, 2012

the language of drugs

it's no secret that that pharmaceutical leviathan has appropriated all sorts of media to sell their products. they've been shilling their chemicals in print publications for many, many years. they are on the web, but a relatively recent phenomenon is their tv commercials. any student of pop culture and media would find this new development, tv commercials for prescription medications, fascinating. we've all seen the adds for erectile dysfunction and depression. everything onscreen is sunny, warm and the actors are all well-adjusted and happy after their prescriptions got from their doctors after the patients asked for these drugs by name.

it's not the language of advertising that i find interesting. writers have appropriated that grammar for some time. rather it is the language of the risks tasking these drugs. because in these ads must be disclosed potential risks in taking these medicines, including the risk of what is not-so-euphemistically called 'a fatal event'. i'm not down-playing the need for these drugs. i am interested in the language used in marketing these chemicals and the language marketers use in relaying the risks involved in taking these medicines.

for if this is indeed the post-capitalist society [i really don't know what that means, even tho i hear it used often enough] then nearly everything has a potential market value and thus there is a language to sell it. including those items that was once rather private and maybe even sacrosanct because the old language for prescriptions was privileged between physician and patient. thems were the old days. now these prescriptions are marketed to us in a big way.

i'm getting off track. the language of risk and the selling of that risk in tv commercials i find worthy of study and might well be put to good use in poetry. you know the words i mean like 'consult your physician if your skin starts peeling off and you begin to see in purple' and 'some users of y experienced polka-dot sight' and 'some users of y experienced a fatal event. if this should occur to you consult your physician'. that sort of thing. it's the tone of the marketer and the absurdity of some of those risk factors i think can be fruitful in writing. the language of drugs is also the language of the market and is too the language of adverts.

but how to use in poems. well now how indeed. i'd imagine jonathan swift, were he alive and writing today, going to town. i recall a poem by polish poet ryszard krynicki that used the tone and language of a tv quiz show. i remember that being a pretty good example of life in the post-, or post-post, modern age. now matter what the age there is always it seems an excessive level of absurdity in our cultures. for writers there appears no shortage of work.


At 5:21 PM, Blogger John B-R said...

Do I owe you or do you owe me the 1st 7 lines of the next bit of our collab? In any case, why don't we write the next few bits in drug commercial language?

At 10:33 PM, Blogger richard lopez said...

you got it! i just sent you the last 7 lines for #22. the next 7 lines i'll use the language of drug marketers.


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