Banksy's Dismaland: Here's What Is Not to Love About It

The fantasies, institutions, and humans at Dismaland do not merely sometimes fail us — they are marked for death from the start.

A quote from Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas haunts me when I think about our outrage culture. When I looked at the dismal landscape of Banksy's new amusement park — his version of Disneyland, disaffectedly called Dismaland — the quote came immediately to mind.


To me, Banksy is an aesthete with a conscience. He'd have fit right in with the wide-eyed generation of the 1960s, just as Hunter S. Thompson did. Here is the well-known Thompson quote. It's an arresting look back on the heyday of the cultural revolution:

"San Francisco in the middle '60s was a very special time and place to be a part of. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning ... Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply PREVAIL. ... So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high water mark — that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back."

Realizing Banksy's so-called bemusement park is not representative of his oeuvre, the park does represent the ironic and satirical approach many of us take to politics. Irony and satire are how we engage with politics. We critique it. We laugh at it. We do not empathize. We do not fool ourselves by taking part in "the system."

Our realization that politics is sham is not all. Our childhood fantasies are a sham; our institutions are a sham; our fellow humans are a sham. Banksy holds his mirror up to our understanding of such a world: the fantasies, institutions, and humans at Dismaland do not merely sometimes fail us despite their best intentions—they are marked for death from the start.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Keep reading Show less
Sponsored

22 months of war - condensed in a 1-minute video

No, the Syrian civil war is not over. But it might be soon. Time for a recap

Strange Maps
  • The War in Syria has dropped off the radar, but it's not over (yet)
  • This 1-minute video shows how the fronts have moved – and stabilised – over the past 22 months
  • Watching this video may leave you both better informed, and slightly queasy: does war need a generic rock soundtrack?
Keep reading Show less

Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
Technology & Innovation

Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

Keep reading Show less

How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

content.jwplatform.com
Videos
  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
Keep reading Show less