“Note: Anderson Cooper did a special last night (jan. 14, 2011) about 30 years of aids. for the most part it was a pretty lackluster and bloodless affair, with the exception of a magnificent appearance by elton john and a moving one by mo’nique. the rest of it was pretty much pablum, recycled stuff from eons of too familiar footage, and appearances by people with nothing new or challenging to offer. while the producer spoke to me for hours to pick my brains, he made it plain from the beginning that i was not going to be asked to be on the show because of my outspokenness (and because i threatened jokingly—yeah right—to ask Anderson when he was going to come out and be seen with his boy friend publicly), which, when i heard the cast of who was going to appear, was fine with me. instead, i was invited to write this opinion piece to say what they would not welcome on the show.”
Ben looks pretty fucking welcoming here.
Here the happy couple are biking round town.
And here’s Anderson introducing Ben to the Seinfelds at the Vanity Fair Oscar party last year
But mere civilians aren’t supposed to know about that.
And if they do, it’s expected they’ll keep it to themselves.
“what troubled me most about the show was anderson himself. it was a noble gesture for a reporter, closeted or not, to put on an aids special, but did he have to be such a wimp on it himself? reporters are meant to ask questions, and good questions (anderson once had a reputation for doing just that; what in the world has happened to him?);”
What’s happened to him? Where to begin?
Yes he’ll soon be available as a plushy at F.A.O. Schwartz.
“the questions anderson asked were puerile beyond belief. he challenged no one with anything. is that what good reporters do? he had america’s leading aids doctor, anthony fauci, on: how could anderson not challenge him with some of the points that i made below (in a piece anderson’s folks asked me to write for him)? or indeed to raise one single point anywhere else on the show that i write about below.
the most honest part of the program came at the very end when he asked elton (whom anderson kept fawningly deferring to as “sir elton;” even elton gave him a look as if to say, enough of that already, boy), if he was positive about the future. elton, after a long pause, a very long pause, where you could see this great man deciding whether to say what he really thought, which was “no i am not hopeful about the future,” mumble some painful words along the lines of “after thirty years we are still here talking about the same things!” and then he too offering up a platitude of hope, disingenuous in the extreme one wonders why anderson put on the show at all. at least he gave me the chance to write this piece. it appears to have had a goodly number of facebook recommendations (evidently the be-all and end-all of today’s pulse taking)”
“along with some thousand of the nastiest, most hateful comments imaginable. i am told this is usually the case with posted comments: the nutcases are ready and waiting to pounce. still it is always disheartening to see in black and white the visible manifestations of just the hate i speak of in my article below.
“AIDS IS A PLAGUE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN
By Larry Kramer, Special to CNN
January 14, 2011 1:20 p.m. EST
Editor’s note. Larry Kramer co-founded Gay Men’s Health Crisis and founded ACT UP, an activist organization that has campaigned for treatments for HIV/AIDS. His play, “The Normal Heart,” about the early years of AIDS and directed by Joel Grey, will be produced on Broadway by Daryl Roth and will star Joe Mantello; it will also be filmed next summer starring Mark Ruffalo and directed by Ryan Murphy. “The American People,” his novel about the history of homosexuals in America, will be published by Farrar Straus and Giroux. Kramer, whose partner is David Webster, is HIV+ and the recipient of a liver transplant.”
“New York City (CNN) — I want this article to break your heart. But it deals with a subject that has had a tough time of it in the break-everyone’s-heart department. I’ll bet that a number of you will be more angry at me than sympathetic by the time you finish reading it. If indeed you finish reading it.
From its very beginning, most people have not wanted to know the truths about AIDS. This is an indisputable fact that continues until this very minute. I have been on the front lines since Day 1, so I know what I’m talking about.
Here are 10 realities about AIDS, and I’ve learned them the hard way:
1. AIDS is a plague — numerically, statistically and by any definition known to modern public health — though no one in authority has the guts to call it one.
2. Too many people hate the people that AIDS most affects, gay people and people of color. I do not mean dislike, or feel uncomfortable with. I mean hate. Downright hate. Down and dirty hate.
3. Likewise, both people who don’t have sex the way they do (if they have it at all) and people who take drugs in order to feel better in a world that they find wretched are considered two highly expendable populations by the powerful forces that control this world.
4. AIDS was allowed to happen. It is a plague that need not have happened. It is a plague that could have been contained from the very beginning.
5. It is a plague that is not going to go away. It is only going to get worse.
6. There is no cure and the amount of money expended toward finding one is pathetically small, miniscule, puny, and totally indicative of a system and a government and a country and a world that does not want to end this plague.
7. There is no incentive for pharmaceutical companies to find a cure since they are making billions selling, at highly inflated prices, the many anti-viral drugs that those infected must consume — drugs that only keep us living but still infected just enough to continue to possibly still infect others.
8. Educational campaigns, indeed all attempts at prevention, have been too stupid, useless, lily-livered, and nicey-nicey to accomplish much of anything.
9. There is no one of any use really in charge of this plague, in America or anywhere else in the world — and it is a worldwide plague by now — and this lack of decent, responsible and humane leaders has been so since its beginning in 1981. They lie to us. I consider most of those who have been or are in charge as equal to murderers.
10. One out of every five men who have sex with men in America is now HIV-positive, and more than 50% of gay men do not know it. Doctors in Chelsea say the statistics for that New York neighborhood have jumped from one out of five to one out of four. At the rate things are going, almost all gay men in America could be HIV-positive, which a lot of people would really like to see happen.
These are appalling statistics, appalling statements, appalling facts, and yet no one responds to them when I raise them. Why should they? Too many people want too many other people dead, and it is fearful and as we continue to see over and over, often dangerous to confront them.
Governments and bureaucrats and presidents and politicians and the people who run this world lie to people. They tell us HIV is under control. They tell us case numbers are decreasing. They tell us that all is being done that can be done. They tell us HIV is too complicated to eradicate. They tell us gay people and people of color have made more progress than ever before. These are all lies.
We must not believe them. How could we when, in one place or another:
– They also tell us we can’t get legally married.
— They also tell us that we cannot legally adopt children.
— They also tell us religions will not recognize us.
— They also tell us we can’t serve our country yet.
— They also tell us our real history cannot be taught in schools.
— They also tell us that gay students cannot organize in schools.
— They also tell us that people who murder us are not committing hate crimes.
— They also tell us we cannot insure our partners.
— They also tell us our partners are not legal.
— They also tell us we cannot have equal opportunities.
— They also tell us we can’t kiss each other or hold each other’s hands in public.
— They also tell us that our Supreme Court doesn’t want to know about any of this, doesn’t want to make us free and equal, doesn’t want to honor the Bill of Rights.
If you want to know why AIDS is a plague, I have just told you why.
I could add a thousand more “they also’s.” I could expound and expand and add so many facts and figures to the above they’d put you to sleep. I helped start the two major AIDS organizations in America. I have watched almost everyone I once knew die.
For some 30-plus years, I have been trying to tell the world where this plague came from and why, and I will continue to do so until I die, too.
You see, I simply can’t get the memories and the ghosts of just about every friend I had out of my life. And since there is no doubt in my mind that this plague of HIV/AIDS that took them from me was and continues to be allowed to happen, I am duty bound to tell this hideous history as best and as fully as I can. It’s the least I can do.
That is correct: This plague of HIV/AIDS was intentionally allowed to happen. It still is. Nothing has changed in the intentionality department. Hate has a way of hanging around forever and too often winning out in the end.“
Well I’m still hoping it will lose, Larry. But that’s just me.
Luckily I’m HIV-. But I live in the world and therefore have suffered a ton of loss. It’s with me every day, as I’m sure it is with you.
We both knew Warren Sonbert
But did you ever meet Hibiscus? Here he is inventing Flower Power at that big anti-war demo at the Pentagon that Norman Mailer wrote about so memorably.
And then of course there’s Rouilard
(He’s on the far right)
And Rihcard’s last yearwhen we’d sit out on Sunday’s at the house in Venice and play “Gaywatch” (As the boys passed by we’d hold up score card the way they do for ice skaters.) All the while the setero was blasting, either Judy Garland Live at Carneige Hall or opera arias, his fave being “Ebben? Ne andro lontano” from La Wally.
And so in memory of Richard and all the others, Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez will sing us out.