Sunday, February 20, 2005

Creative Displacement

This is probably as good a time as any to mention the American Creative Displacement Association – ACDA (or “AK-dah” phonetically). Although we members don’t identify ourselves very often, you probably know our work.

Every day, ACDA members are conducting little displacements. Hiding a co-worker’s coffee cup is harmless entertainment; an escalation would be moving the co-worker’s entire office just before he returns from vacation. (This is an evergreen crowd-pleaser, especially if you can get it all on video.) Moving your wife’s reading glasses from place to place around the house can provide hours of self-enjoyment.

You probably know the work of one of our American Masters, Allen Funt, who died after a long career in ‘99. The Candid Camera episode in which he closed New Jersey is still considered one of the great creative displacements of the modern era.

These are “human-scale” displacements, some more imaginative than others. Hilariously, the French displaced a real man, Merhan Nasseri, into Paris Charles De Gaulle airport and kept him there for 15 years.

Grand-scale displacements are generally conducted by governments – or non-governmental organizations. The Arab nations collectively displaced an entire people, the “Palestinians,” in 1948. The Israelis have never, ever considered this to be a joke. American Democrats feel like the past two Presidential elections have been displaced and they’re none too pleased either. (Although George Bush’s chief of staff thinks it’s right up there with the temporary closure of New Jersey.)

And the ACDA’s original governing body, the International Association of Creative Displacement, was co-opted by the UN in 1957, after the Suez Crisis. It now operates as the World Displacement Organization (WDO in English, or L’Organisation Mondiale de les Déplacements, OMD, in French), and specializes in displacing Iraqi oil money into its bureaucrats’ Swiss bank accounts.

There is an international group operating as a sort of clearing house, but I can’t give you its Web site. For several years, it was displacing itself in a section of the Swedish Army’s Web site [], but is no longer there. And I can’t supply you with any contact information…I’ve displaced it. Sorry.

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