Prolix, a French maker of arthritis drugs, reports that it has received approval for its writer’s block drug. To be marketed as Prolixis, the drug’s code name during development was JCO — after the prolific American writer Joyce Carol Oates. (Interestingly, over the two-year testing period for Prolixis, Oates published nearly 17 million words.) The drug has similarities to beta blockers currently on the market. Prolix is aiming mainly at the American market with its “Oates drug” — as people are calling it. There is, typically, some Gallic outrage that the drug is not nicknamed Marcel.
The drug is controversial — and not just for the long list of physical side effects listed in the ad. Despite its bad reputation, writer’s block has done the world a favor over its long and famous history. For every Ralph Ellison, prevented from churning out more masterpieces by the affliction, writer’s block has also worked as a marvelous dam — holding back great torrents of banality and literary excrement. Social media favors those who have never experienced writer’s block — and look what that brought us. Now the number of verbose social media typists may be about to double, if Prolix has its way. Investment advisers, upon hearing the news, have advised clients to explore stock in both the drug maker and in numerous self-publishing companies.
[Note: published on April 1]