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 The Scent That Captures That "1930s Moment"!

All material copyrighted to © 2014

or to the various credited sources © 2014



But since Blavatsky’s day, there have been scientific leaps

And strides in terms of harnassing violet properties,

Not for spiritualistic purposes, but for material gains,

Or at least, as a source for new escapism from material strains

Into a newly engineered mode of capturing the imagination

In tubes of cathode rays projecting moving images on

Reflective screens –a new-fangled, wood-framed contraption

Of shadow-and-light-trick theatre piloted in posher homes

From the mid-Thirties onwards, every bit as apparently

Implausible, almost-magical, near-miraculous as the then

More commonplace gramaphones, telephones, wirelesses

And transmitter radios had seemed in their greener days –

All electricity-conducting commodities, by the Thirties,

Accepted accomplishments of man’s ingenious replication

Of Mother Nature’s mottled sea-shell amplifications –

Tele-vision, so-called, was the latest invention, or revelation,

To cultivate light waves for consumer distraction from

The drabness of reality under dirty sunlights –a true

Violet violation which would enrapture future generations

In ever more manipulating ways; but more, would come

To implant indelible images in human brains that could

Come to be confused with actual memories, commingled

With the mind’s sacred dreamscapes (for some minds, less

Resilient in filtering such things, the more graphic or

Violent pictures could be misconstrued as phantasms,

Conscious awakenings to dark cravings, repressed desires,

Egodystonic charades inducing panic and anxiety

At their continual repeating without recourse to an off-switch,

As with the actual television –that cathode tube, a tombola

Of obsessions and compulsions); a muddying of the streams

Of inner-vision; and would, as well, hypnotise the masses

For over four hours an evening, and subject them to ingestion

Of artificial light, dulling thoughts and senses, until such

Dysphemisms as “The Idiot’s Lantern” and “The Gogglebox”

Would surface from sceptical tongues –far cries from poet

Anne Waldman’s lycanthropic metaphor of the ‘surrogate moon’ –

Tropes to depict the pitiful spectacle of millions of households

Crouching round flickering sets, like so many cavemen

Mesmerised by simple light-tricks playing in shadows –

But in dimly-lit ‘living’ rooms; inducing in viewers a sense

Of mental mushiness, zombie-like numbness, torpor, acedia,

Nausea, irritability and twitching limbs, all caused by

Bodily absorption of ‘phosphors glow’ from the light projected

Into us, cancerously so in some cases, deep into our cellular

Networks and endocrine systems, generated by ‘cathode-ray

Guns’ as TV-sceptic and advertising apostate Jerry Mander

Coined it in his Four Arguments for the Ellimation of Television,

Chapter IX –‘The Ingestion of Artificial Light’ (1977)…



Mander’s sublime polemic had been inspired by Dr John Ott’s

Health and Light, which blazed onto the shelves in 1973,

Selling three million copies –its essential thesis: fluorescent

Artificial light of televisions captures audiences in aspic

Of arrested developments, stunts our cognitive growth, curtails

Our critical faculties, even retards our nutrition through its

Interpolation of natural light-nourishment –humans being

Essentially little different to vegetation, and so, as rubber

Plants bend in green shadows of windowless hallways, or

Aspidistras stretch out more laterally in curtained rooms,

So too we can grow crookedly and out-of-synch with natural

Environments if exposed to too much televisual glow, will

Twist into ergonomic gnomes; as Mander put it, ‘plants ingest

Light and then convert it to energy for growth. The process is

Called photo-synthesis. The plant literally takes light into its

Cells and converts it to nourishment’ –so when we put a plant

Under a light-bulb, or in a greenhouse, ‘we change the amount

And the spectral character of the light the plant receives’,

We change ‘its diet’, and thus its growth-pattern; so, in turn,

Through television, we are changing our own intake of light

And spectra –being also receptors; diluting our own light-

Nourishment, affecting our cells, thus our bodies, thus our

Very evolution… into, no doubt, myopic Morlocks of a strobe-

Lit future…? Ott further identified television as key to

The aetiology of many modern neurasthenic symptoms:

Aimlessness, hypertension, neurosis, depression, aggression –

In an essay published in the medical journal, Eye, Ear, Nose

And Throat (July 1974), he called this televisually-

Induced condition, transmitted infection, “Malillumination”:

Essentially, malnutrition –even starvation– of natural light…

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