さて、Tim Adams氏によると、

Facts stick to chewing gum. Read anything about it and you come away with non-biodegradable numbers, stubborn statistics: there are 28 million regular chewers in Britain; nearly a billion packs of gum are sold here each year. By some estimates, up to 3.5 billion gobs of gum have at one time or another been spat or dropped on to our streets; 92 per cent of city paving stones have had gum stuck to them.

One thing that these numbers prove is that sometimes it's hard to see what's right in front of you. I walked over many million paving stones before noticing that those irregular, black-and-grey circular markings on them were flattened pieces of Doublemint or Juicy Fruit. The moment of realisation came about 10 years ago, when I read a posthumous collection of newspaper columns by Primo Levi. Not long before his suicide, it seems, the chemist and survivor of Auschwitz had become preoccupied by the ground beneath his feet, seeing everywhere remnants of human traffic, little memento mori. 'Adhaesit pavimento anima mea'; 'My soul clings to the pavement,' he wrote.

Along with Levi's soul on the asphalt was all the other evidence that 'future archaeologists will find there like insects in amber: Coca-Cola caps and the rip-off tabs from beer cans [showing] the quality of our alimentary choices', and, in particular, 'chewed gum.' Levi became something of a cartographer of this streetscape. 'Gum can be found everywhere,' he observed, 'but a more attentive examination reveals that it reaches maximum density in the vicinity of the most frequented bars: the chewer who is headed there is forced to spit out to free his mouth. As a result, the stranger, not familiar with the city, could find these places following the direction of the more thickly massed gum blobs, in the same way as sharks find their wounded prey by swimming in the direction of increasing concentrations of blood...

For a long time, it seemed, most of us could live with the fact of discarded gum without undue worry. Recently, however, all those numbers, all that gum, have come to look, for some, like a symbol every bit as potent as a 'hoodie' or a graffiti tag, a signifier that we are going to the dogs, that social bonds are loosening, that 'yob culture' is ascendant. It is for this reason that the battle against chewing-gum blobs has become a new front line in the war on antisocial behaviour.
と述べている。Chewing Gum Action Groupの議長を務め、"The minister for Gum"と呼ばれるBen Bradshaw代議士によれば、

He'd just come out of an election campaign where the issues people talked to him about on the doorstep were not the issues that concerned the upmarket media and the political classes - pensions, Iraq and so on. More often than not, these people were concerned by the things going on outside their front door. It was, he believed, only right for central government to respond to these concerns.

'We've had fantastic feedback from the public for our pilot [gum] schemes. I was presented yesterday with a two-inch stack of local-newspaper cuttings. Also,' he said, with some glee, 'it's very rare that the Labour government gets a front-page splash and a generally positive editorial in the Daily Mail. It shows these are issues that are a concern for people.'


One of the problems with trying to stop antisocial behaviour, it seems, is that no sooner have you curtailed one nuisance than you have encouraged another. The outlawing of smoking has been so effective that many smokers have been turning in desperation to gum. As a result, Wrigley's sales figures advanced by 17 per cent in the first quarter of the year. This is the latest stage of expansion in the gum market that began a century ago and shows no sign of slowing.

Wrigley, which dominates the worldwide chewing-gum industry, was the initiative of one man. If William Wrigley had been around today, he might well have qualified for an Asbo. He was expelled from school in Philadelphia aged 11 for throwing a pie at the nameplate over the entrance hall. He was subsequently sent to work in the family's soap factory, where he spent years stirring pots of boiling soap with a wooden paddle.

In 1891, aged 29, he arrived in Chicago with $32 in his pocket and a plan to sell soap and baking powder. A machine to produce chewing gum had been patented in America 20 years earlier by Thomas Adams, who had bought a consignment of a particular latex, chicle, from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico in order to make tyres, but found that chewing the stuff, as the Mayan Indians had done for centuries, might be more marketable. Wrigley thought mint-flavoured sticks of chicle gum might work well as a free gift with his soap powder.

Like all great empires, Wrigley's was built on a mixture of exploitation and myth; the exploitation was of the chicle farmers who lived as tied labour in the most desperate conditions, climbing trees with a haphazard system of ropes to tap the latex. The empire's myth came from Wrigley's marketing genius. 'Anyone can make gum,' Wrigley said. 'Selling it is the hard part.' In many ways, as Wrigley was among the first to understand, gum is the perfect consumer product. It is cheap, infinitely replicable and is a reliable conveyer of a minor, fleeting gratification. It is harmless, and mostly purposeless, so you can make it mean anything you want.

Like any good snake-oil salesman, he managed to link his product to health - it could calm nerves, relieve thirst, freshen breath and sharpen appetite - and to sex and celebrity: it was Wrigley who introduced baseball cards and who invested heavily in making his product assume a kind of rebellious glamour. He bought the first electric signs in Times Square. By the time of his death in 1932, Wrigley was one of the 10 wealthiest men in America; he had never raised the price of his gum, but had invested more than $100 million in the new concept of brand advertising.

His famously secretive company has stayed in the family ever since, and is now run in 180 countries by the fourth William Wrigley Jnr. Wrigley's world domination came in part from a very good war. Because of its thirst-relieving properties and because it was, as every council environment officer knows, virtually indestructible in extremes of heat or even submersion in water, gum was standard issue in every GI's rations; chicle became one of America's most significant wartime commodities and 150 billion sticks of gum were shipped out to boost the troops. The war was, also, the ideal export campaign for Wrigley's. The gum handed out by GIs across the world was often the first contact foreign populations had had with America and chewing became associated with the new freedoms and sexual possibility of pop culture.

 さて、1000人にインタヴューしたChewing Gum Action Groupの調査によると、「ガムを捨てる人(gum-dropper)」5つの類型に分けられるという。その中でも最も典型的なものとしてAdams氏が言及しているのは、

The 'Selfish Cleanser'

    • typically a nicely groomed young woman who chewed because it freshened her breath

The 'Bravado'

    • a young, male Sun reader who chewed his gum ostentatiously

[who] imagined it to be both big and clever to spit out the gum and kick it

である。また、牛津大学教授John Carey氏*3によれば、"like fly-tippers, gum-spitters register themselves as a disaffected underclass with no share in communal aspirations. Our ruined education system is partly to blame, but so is the vast inequality of wealth we permit, which breeds despair"ということである。
 ここで、Adams氏はBen Wilsonというアーティストに言及する。彼は"devoted himself to painting painstaking miniatures on gum on pavements"という人である。また、トラファルガー広場で〈制作〉中に警察に逮捕もされている。こうした中で、若者と知り合う機会が多いWilson氏は、以下のようにいう;

'Kids are not allowed to feel any connection with where they live,' he says. 'They can't play in the streets because they are likely to get run over; then you have the national curriculum, and all this testing at school, and no opportunity to play or to make things, and everything you do outside is recorded on surveillance cameras. The only imagery that children see around them are billboards and TV; every part of their environment is out of bounds or sold off. That's why they don't care about their streets. This is a small way of connecting people.'

'At a time when you have a government labelling all young people as yob culture, I think it is important to try to give people a voice. It is such a destructive definition. If you get to know young people, you realise they are all individual. They all can find their own creativity. My paintings are a way of reflecting people back to themselves.'

 7月6日は、竹中均『精神分析社会学 二項対立と無限の理論』(明石書店、2004)を読了した。






 7月7日早朝、BS2で、フランソワ・トリュフォー監督の『終電車(Le Dernier Metro)』(1980)を観る。

  • ルカ     超自我
  • マリオン   イド
  • ベルナール  自我

 ところで、『ニューヨーク・タイムズ』のVincent Canby氏のレヴューでは、

The Last Metro may be unique among Mr. Truffaut's films in that it contains a villain, a character beyond any redeeming except, possibly, by God. He is Daxiat, based on the real-life, Nazi-sympathizing, Jew-baiting Paris drama critic who, during the occupation, exercised such power that he was, at one point, on the verge of taking control of the Comedie Francaise.

As played by Jean-Pierre Richard, he recalls some of the great World War II villains played by the young Walter Slezack. Says Marion Steiner of one of Daxiat's reviews, "He signed it but it reads like an anonymous letter."



*3:John Carey氏のプロフィールについては、Lucasta Miller"Relative values"を参照のこと。