'Slamdance the cosmopolis': Political Discourses around Drugs and Alcohol
My name is John Player, like the cigarettes. Some readers won’t have heard of these odious cigarettes. My grandfather, also called John Player, died of lung cancer and is buried in a grave in Glasgow. His gravestone looks like the John Player Special (JPS) packet - gold lettering on a matte black background. He died of lung cancer at 55. This was, and remains, around the age that so many men die in Glasgow and the West of Scotland. I never met him, so this is personal.
The tobacco companies knew they were using the most addictive substance known to humankind to create one of the most successful capitalist commodities. They were also well aware, from the 1960s on, of the causality between smoking and early deaths due to lung cancer though this knowledge was suppressed for decades. In turns out that the tobacco companies were experts in semiotics: the study of signs deployed in advertising, for instance. The John Player Navy Cut signage of the dependable sailor was 'interpellated' (see Althusser 2001) in my grandfather's consciousness. He was 'hailed' by the tobacco companies shouting 'Hey, you there!' My grandfather turned around answered the call! Like so many others, he became their addicted 'subject'.
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