Friday, June 3, 2011

The Poetry of Stench

In the 1970's Susan Sontag, in her tome Illness As A Metaphor, wrote;

"Cancer is a rare and still scandalous subject for poetry; and it seems unimaginable to aestheticize the disease."

Ponder on that for a second.

Well readers, with the promotion of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®'s new perfume line "Promise Me", I think there can be no doubt that breast cancer has indeed been fully a bottle.

Add in the perfume designer's commentary.....

... and I think we can safely say that breast cancer and poetry also mix.

Last week, Nancy Brinker appeared on HSN, the Home Shopping Network, to sell this latest pink breast cancerish incarnation.  Here's the video.  All mind-numbing fifteen minutes of it.  Watch it and delight in statements like;

" the woman that wears this...she is constantly kind of intact..........(Editors Note: hastily adds and tapers off)....with that emotional feeling...."

Once again, Komen's timing couldn't have been more perfect when I think about what I was doing whilst Nancy Brinker was hawking cheap perfume that smells just "like you imagine pink to smell".

Whilst people were falling all over themselves to buy Nancy's boxed set for the bargain price of $39.90, I was in the emergency room of PinkBank Hospital being treated for a small, but very frightening, pneumothorax.   I couldn't smell much  because I was hooked up to oxygen all night whilst I spent the night in the ER.  The lady in the room next to me, six years out of a breast cancer diagnosis, was being investigated for possible brain metastases after dropping a knife whilst preparing dinner.

By the time my ordeal was over some 24-hours later,  all I could taste and smell was antiseptic, saline and that radioactive crap they pump into you in order to take a CAT scan.  Too bad I wasn't wearing Komen's fragrant version of breast cancer because instead my experience could have smelt like this;

Floriental and sensual no less!

There were only two good things that came out of my emergency room visit last week. First, my pneumothorax was not caused by lung mets, and second, I got to visit with Dr Cuteness again.  (Beloved wanted me to push the friendship agenda again, but I declined,  preferring to keep our relationship strictly curative......of spontaneous cardiac-thoracic issues, that is).

And the only good thing to come out of Komen's latest smelly business venture is that it serves to highlight just how stupid Komen obviously perceives "us" to be.

A fragrance designed to invoke the feelings of positive hope, energy and love to help Komen's branded breast cancer cause?

No Nancy, we've got your number.  It's at the bottom of the tv screen.

P.S.  I typed this blog-post with one-hand, because the tumors in my left brachial plexus make typing with two hands a very painful exercise right now.  I'm hoping a course of radiation will help bring me some relief on that score.  And there's nothing about that which reminds me of the scent of pink peonies, wild orchids or rosewoods!


  1. Tell me again how much of this purchase goes to research...and how much to padding HSN's coffers?

  2. This latest venture is just plain ridiculous and I feel insulted. For some reason the stupid pink rubber bracelet that comes with a purchase REALLY gets to me. "To help me remember my own promises." Please. That made me gag. Great message and great one-handed typing skills!

  3. The irony. The horror. The thought of you in the ER while this marketing machine drones on to solidify Komen's position in the pink sickens me. Pink never smelled so rotten.

    Your fortitude in continuing to write in the midst of this, Anna, to call it out for what it is...that is what inspires me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    Gayle Sulik

  4. This HSN thing is just so beyond disgusting. I'm bloody speechless. Again.

  5. Komen should be ashamed at this blatent marketing machine.

    By the way... I think the designer's perfume quote left out the last few words:

    "I wanted to create something empowering and something that would speak to all women WHILE LINING MY POCKETS WITH PROFITS. PASS THE SPRITZER"

    I'm so over the Pink Ribbon.

    The breast cancer community needs a serious kick - and Anna, you are doing a great job.

    Hang in there.

  6. "Shop for the Cure." Yeah, that says it all. Appalling.

  7. This PINK really stinks! If people ONLY KNEW the TRUTH.

  8. Oh Anna,

    I'm so sorry you've been so ill. It is ironic and SHAMEFUL that while you are suffering, this perfume is being mass marketed.

    I feel like gagging thinking of Promise Me perfume. Hospitals stink -- literally and figuratively.

    I am livid about this perfume. Why don't they make it the scent of hospitals? That would be more accurate. The HSN bit is so infuriating, I can't stand it.

    Keep on telling the truth, Anna. Love the way you express what needs to be said!

  9. Hope you are feeling better, Anna - although I know this nonsense didn't contribute to that at all.

    OK - I really tried to watch the video, but I barely made it through three minutes of it (Nancy appeared about 2 minutes or so in). I don't understand how she and the other delusional idiots at Komen can sleep at night. Do they really think they are doing something? Are they buying into their own hype? Or do they truly know how off the path they've strayed? Do they even care?

    Hey Nancy, while you sit there smiling into the camera falling all over yourself about the wonders of this new venture, women are dying. What the hell does THAT smell like?

    Eff Komen. Eff the pink ribbons, fragrances and all the other pink nonsense they peddle. Maybe they could use the cash they're raking in on this crap to buy a friggin' clue.

  10. Anna, great points, all of them. The stench is getting stronger all the time. I do hope your hand feels better soon.

  11. Anna, I hate that your mets make it hard for you to type. Just hate it. I'm grateful, though, that you persevere because I love reading what you have to say. I had such a visceral reaction to your description of the hospital that I am now left with that hospital smell. Ugh. Where's the Cure, Komen???

  12. Until now, I was blissfully unaware of this latest Komen initiative. Speechless. And can not even bring myself to watch the vid because I know it will make me nauseous. How dare they! What are they thinking? Seriously?????? I've always resented the pink, felt offended by the pink and patronized too.... but this takes it to another level. It's surreal.... like it should be a skit or a parody except that it's not. Eeewww.. Ack.


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