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View Diary: Serophobia, or, Giving in to "Temptation" (166 comments)

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  •  I'm with you all the way. (11+ / 0-)

    This is a point that so many people, including lots of gay men, just don't get:

    And while I'm at it, let me add something to the diarist's first point: Everyone has the same right to unprotected consensual adult sex.  Everyone.  Gay couples just as much as bona fide blessed-by-God-and-State married heterosexual couples.  At the same time, nobody has the right to transmit potentially deadly viruses.   People obsess over the second point while choosing to ignore the first one (and yes, I'm talking to you too, Larry Kramer).
    I very much appreciate everything Kramer has done in terms of activism, but he's a champion of fear-based prevention and a black and white thinker when it comes to talking about risk behavior among gay men.  As sfbob says above, the reasons people engage in risk behavior are extremely complex, a fact that Kramer steadfastly refuses to acknowledge.  

    The other problem people such as Kramer have is that they devalue physical intimacy between gay men.  Their focus on HIV makes them look at gay men's natural desires as pathological.  What they don't see is that the desires are normal and healthy; the only thing pathological is the presence of HIV.

    "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

    by FogCityJohn on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:22:59 AM PDT

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    •  In all fairness, Kramer saw lots of friends die. (9+ / 0-)

      On the other hand, even a cursory reading of his Faggots shows that a b&w moralist was always lurking just below the surface in him.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:28:07 AM PDT

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      •  I know he did. (14+ / 0-)

        Kramer is himself HIV+ and is a long-term survivor.  I give guys like him huge credit for creating the much more humane world in which people like me live today.  

        But despite my appreciation for his writing and activism, I just can't agree with his harsh, unforgiving assessments of his gay brothers.  Like everyone else, we're only human.  Love, desire, and passion will lead us to do things that are unwise.  That's just the human condition.  It's not a peculiarly gay moral defect.

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:36:53 AM PDT

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      •  That b&w moralist was front and center (10+ / 0-)

        It was apparent to me even when I was a young man reading the book for the first time. I re-read it not long ago. It didn't hold up very well. As talented a fellow as Kramer is you would think he could do better.

        Back when the book was first published, other gay male novelists shunned him. I've been told (by some of them) that it was in part because his book was making money while their books were not, and I've been told that it was because he pulled the covers on aspects of New York's gay male culture of the 1970's that many would have preferred not to expose to the general public. But it does seem to me that Kramer's rather pointed finger-wagging was part of the issue as well.

        •  Moralizing makes money. (6+ / 0-)

          I'm not going to impute improper motives to Kramer, because I think he honestly believes what he's writing, but it strikes me that he could make money by issuing moral judgments about gay men simply because that's exactly what straight society (and far too many gays) wanted to hear.  It's a message that fits in perfectly with the "HIV is punishment" idea, and it's one that allows people to feel comfortable with their homophobia, since they can say, "See, those irresponsible gays brought this on themselves."

          I find the whole idea very deeply disturbing.

          "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

          by FogCityJohn on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 11:02:40 AM PDT

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          •  I distinctly remember, when a friend came out, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FogCityJohn, corvo, LucyandByron

            thinking that HIV was the only thing he needed to worry about beyond simple bullying. Because of course that was all anyone at school or church talked about happening - simple no-physical-scars bullying and the dangers of HIV.

            Not what the guy three pews over saying 'amen' to every vaguely homophobic statement in a sermon in our no-audible-reactions-ever church might be willing to do to him on a dark evening. And not that the anti-HIV drug regimens were actually getting fairly dependable at the time all this talk was going on in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

            Thanks to the moralizing, I had the risks he really faced completely flipped in my head.

            Prayers and best wishes to those in Boston, in Texas, and for this week to be over without anything else happening.

            by Cassandra Waites on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 01:54:51 PM PDT

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        •  Well, in all fairness, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FogCityJohn, slksfca, commonmass

          he wrote better than most of those Violet Quill guys.  

          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

          by corvo on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 11:46:02 AM PDT

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          •  I must respectfully disagree (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            corvo, FogCityJohn, slksfca, commonmass

            Some of them are excellent writers; others might have become excellent writers had they not passed away too soon.

            I find Kramer's writing in Faggots to be clunky, dated and generally obnoxious. I don't think it read all that well even in 1978 when it was published, which is probably why it became a best-seller but you would think someone capable of garnering an Academy Award nomination for a movie script ("Women in Love") and who later went on to write a couple of terrific plays would be a better fiction writer.

            •  De gustibus etc. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FogCityJohn, slksfca, commonmass

              But I do draw the line at Ferro (appalling self-worship) and early Edmund White (pretentious stylistic failures).  :-)

              Holleran ain't half bad, although his desolation has to be taken in small doses.

              I'll admit that Faggots reads as if it had been written in one sitting, and that citing it doesn't set the bar terribly high.

              Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

              by corvo on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 12:28:00 PM PDT

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