Whitewashing a Plague: NY AIDS exhibit draws ire

  • Sebastian18

    Posts: 255

    Aug 04, 2013 9:15 PM GMT
    For those in their twenties or younger, there isn't much of a social context for the sorrow, anger and frustration of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. This exhibition, ostensibly meant to inform the public of the impact of HIV in New York in the 80s, seems to whitewash the whole event and the very real social and human impact it had.

    "Though more than 850 New Yorkers had died by the end of 1983, Mayor Edward I. Koch’s administration had spent only a cumulative $24,500 on AIDS. Research, apparently, wasn’t the only thing that was slow. After seeing this show, a newcomer to this history would be hard pressed to understand the rise of the street-activist group Act Up, the takeover of the Food and Drug Administration headquarters by protesters or the legacy of mistrust between the medical-industrial complex and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people."

    For those who lost lovers or who themselves survived the initial 'dying years' as a friend of mine calls it who lived through them in New York and later SF, this exhibition comes across as a scare-ploitation for queer people and people with HIV/AIDS.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/opinion/sunday/how-to-whitewash-a-plague.html?pagewanted=all
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 04, 2013 9:48 PM GMT
    "Bad history has consequences. I’m not afraid we will forget AIDS; I am afraid we will remember it and it will mean nothing. If we cannot face the root issue — that we let people die because we did not like them — AIDS will become a blip on our moral radar, and this cycle will repeat every time we connect an unpopular group with something that scares us."
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 04, 2013 10:04 PM GMT


    No exhibit revising history (tacky) can blot out Angels In America or The Band Played On, as examples.

    Or Parting Glances or Longtime Companion.

    ..or An Early Frost.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2013 1:32 AM GMT
    meninlove said

    No exhibit revising history (tacky) can blot out Angels In America or The Band Played On, as examples.

    Or Parting Glances or Longtime Companion.

    ..or An Early Frost.

    A story about Angels in America:

    I was only out 4 months in 1995, and already had a BF. I know, sounds improbable, and like puppy love, I was madly in love with him. He knew my history, and he took me under his wing and was helping me to learn about the gay world, along with an earlier guy who had helped bring me out, and who remained my mentor & wingman for years.

    This BF took me to a Seattle stage production of Angels in America. It wasn't just entertainment for me, but really an overdue education. About the AIDS crisis I had missed, being in the Army and not out when it hit, and a lot about the whole gay experience of which I was ignorant.

    Then 8 years later I was living with my first partner, who was poz. We watched each TV episode of "Angels" on HBO, and all I could think about when it ended was would he survive, like "Prior Walter" does in the story.

    My partner had already begun to show some disturbing medical signs that had me worried, and I had taken him to the doctors because of it, told them what I was seeing. But they said all was well, no problem, tests all normal. And not quite 3 months after the last "Angels" TV episode he was dead of AIDS-PML.

    I have "Angels" on DVD now. Difficult to watch it, because I feel him sitting next to me, as we did on the sofa for the original HBO airing, holding hands. My husband won't watch it with me, won't watch it at all. He also lost his partner to AIDS, in 1991, can't bear to be reminded of those times.

    But those times need to be remembered accurately, truthfully, completely, for guys like me who missed them. And for the guys coming after me. I'm glad you two are among those who remember, like my husband, even though painful, to pass that knowledge on to others.