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designer drug Barbie hormones

September 27, 2013

UT broadcast journalism professor talks ‘Barbie zombies’” from The Horn:

Mary Bock, from UT’s School of Journalism, gave a talk on Wednesday on Barbie zombies and the rise of the one-woman-band in broadcast journalism.


How do you kill a zombie … a Barbie zombie, that is? “I don’t know. No one knows,” said Mary Bock, assistant professor at UT’s School of Journalism.

In an analysis of the physical expectations of female broadcasters and video journalists, Bock gave a talk called, “Barbie is a Zombie: Women, T.V. Journalism and the Rise of the One-WOMAN-Band” on Wednesday to a crowded room on campus

zombie professor mary bock

Consider that this is a diatribe about Stepford-Kardashian-zombie feminism – but it is also about cognition and the biases of perception. Professor Bock is addressing the stereotype bias that leads to everyone acting the same and having to try to mimic some ideal form. This inherently limits the types of content that get through this filter by form.

Form and function are related. Some functions can be mimicked but the change of form will often alter some functions. For example consider the difference between heroin and the “designer drug” krokodil.

In Mother Jones: “Zombie Apocalypse Drug Reaches US: This Is Not a Joke (Graphic Image)” by Dana Liebelson:

Wherever the drug is injected, the skin turns green and scaly, showing symptoms of gangrene. In severe cases, the skin rots away completely revealing the bone beneath. Other permanent effects of the drug include speech impediments and erratic movement. Rotting flesh, jerky movements, and speech troubles have prompted media outlets to tag krokodil the “zombie drug.”

Liebelson references bath salts. Explains that this stuff is like heroin but cheaper. And on twitter defends calling it a “designer drug” doubling down and calling krokodil a “Louis Vuitton”! Paul Blumenthal, notes that the google image for “krokodil” is nasty but if really looking for nasty google image searches, try “Syria” (also “debauchery” is pretty gross) But also, have you ever youtube’d: “extraordinary”?

In terms of chemistry, Wikipedia explains krokodil, Desomorphine

(dihydrodesoxymorphine, Permonid) is an opioid first patented in 1932 in the United States that is a derivative of morphine, where the 6-hydroxyl group has been removed and the 7,8 double bond has been reduced.

But first, Wikipedia told me about a satirical magazine from 1922 and that Dostoyevsky wrote a story called “The Crocodile“:

The story opens with the narrator telling the purportedly true events that happened to his friend Ivan Matveich, who is swallowed alive by a crocodile. … he carries on his work as a civil servant as best he could from inside the crocodile.

Maybe it’s all about the endocrine system – in Science: “Zombie Endocrine Disruptors May Threaten Aquatic Life” by Erik Stokstad, abstract:

Many U.S. ranchers implant cattle with the synthetic androgen trenbolone acetate to beef them up, but concerns have been raised that its metabolites leach into streams and ponds, disrupting endocrine systems of aquatic life. Sunlight was though to permanently degrade such metabolites but a study shows that the degradation products can revert at night, zombielike, back into the endocrine-disrupting metabolites. The same could be true of metabolites of other hormones that make their way into the environment

Pause for a moment on that first sentence – synthetic androgen in beef – eww! – and because that wasn’t already concerning enough, there’s more…sunlight isn’t a good disinfectant! Right, because that’s a journalism cliche.

zombie erik stokstad

How long before a “designer drug” finds it’s way into the water supply and turns us all into inside out zombies, er, crocodiles? Or just mess with our endocrine system a little. It sounds like a Batman plot with Killer Croc or Scarecrow.

There are conspiracy theories about government poisoning alcohol and heroin supplies. And Bath salts was used to push chemical legislation!!!! Will they now make red phosphorous and iodine into scheduled narcotics? But still let factory farmers drug the cows and poison the water table?

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