Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bakhtin's Carnivalesque : 'Slime Piss' still saving more kiddies annually than Advanced Civilization ever killed

Without today's antibiotics, the dangerous bacterial infections that currently afflict only a child here and a child there would rage freely as epidemics or pandemics, killing millions upon millions of kids.

And when we say 'antibiotics' we basically mean the beta lactams antibiotics - the huge and highly effective family of the penicillin-like antibiotics.

The human use of penicillin (Penicillin G) to save lives is almost ninety years old and yet it is still in every hospital's pharmacy, albeit relatively rarely used.

However, as the starting base to make most all of our other antibiotics, penicillin g is still produced in the tens of thousands of tons.

And still made as it always was - made in incredibly tiny ---natural--- fungus factories invisible to the naked eye.

It is a mere 'secondary' metabolite of the penicillium slime - and for long time the secondary metabolites were considered to be just 'metabolic waste', a fancy grown-up's word for poo and pee.

Considering its liquid nature and its bright yellow color (leaving aside its strong acrid smell for a moment) , the scientists of yesteryear considered it to be nothing more than 'slime piss'.

It took a brave doctor indeed (Martin Henry Dawson) to first inject that foul stuff - raw - into a the bloodstream of a young male, in an attempt to save his life.

But the patient (Charles Aronson) lived and so our Age of Antibiotics began, on Ward G-East, at NYC's Columbia Presbyterian Medical Centre ----- seventy five years ago this October 16th 2015.

In WWII's brutal war of high tech science, this was low tech life saving at its very finest.

A stinging rebuke then, to Scientism at its very apogee of hubris, delivered by the lowest of the low, delivered by slime piss.

So be sure to tell Mikhail Bakhtin (wherever he might be) that it just can't get anymore carnivalesque than that...

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