The Great AIDS Conspiracy | Letters | Chicago Reader

The Great AIDS Conspiracy 

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I haven't seen the movie (and probably won't), but based only on what I know of the plot and everything else I've heard about it I assume most of the vitriol contained in Larry Kramer's scathing review of Philadelphia (January 14) is entirely justified. The first time I saw the previews it was obvious to me the movie was nothing more than a monstrous masturbatory Hollywood cop-out. I'm certain the artistic merit of the film can be quickly dispensed with, and so I'm not surprised that the real (and entirely predictable) purpose of Kramer's condemnation of the movie was rather to condemn our various former and current executive leadership, along with the rest of straight America, as coconspirators obsessed with nothing less than the total extermination of Gay America.

OK, Larry, you've got us. The jig is up. Not only has no president "taken a leadership position in ending this plague" (whatever that means), I stand before a jury of my (gay only) peers, my head bowed in shame, and I acknowledge my crimes. A quick summary of my own path from knowing, purposeful participation in the Great Conspiracy toward homosexual-sanctioned enlightenment (although I'm still naive enough to think homosexuality just isn't for me) should provide thoughtful insight to any others who hope to find The (and not their own) Way.

I once thought that the real conspiracies were more likely to involve the tobacco industry, or perhaps the suspected links between exposure to chlorine and breast cancer among women. How about the U.S. Forest Service's complicity in the rape of our National Forests? Or the powerful mining interests that seek to carve up what remains of our wilderness? I once thought that while acknowledging AIDS as a terrible disease that no one deserves to have--like cancer--there were many other causes to fight for, other problems to worry about. Similarly, I once believed that most forms of discrimination (not just against homosexuals), especially in the workplace, were equally intolerable. Now, thanks to the Gay community's tireless efforts (we straights, so consumed with fear and hatred, are stubborn homophobes, aren't we?) I realize (now that I am consumed with proper amounts of guilt) that my smug system of beliefs, bordering almost on outright libertarianism, served only to help perpetuate the pogrom against gays. I am as guilty as any!

Now I know there is only one issue worth being angry about. I once was confused when gay acquaintances explained to me (or rather at me) the Media's Conspiracy of Silence. "No one reports on AIDS-related issues," they would graciously rant. My senses must have failed me all this time, tricking me into believing that not a day goes by without being bombarded with references to AIDS. Now that I'm enlightened, I know I can't be informed enough about AIDS, and only AIDS, and that my anger about not ever hearing about all those other issues I used to care about was misdirected, and certainly irrelevant. I shouldn't be concerned, for example, about all the women who over the decades have exposed themselves to truckloads of chlorine gas while doing the laundry because, I suspect, that anyone engaging in activity that smacks of motherly domesticity probably deserves what they get. And all that crap about the trees and mountains doesn't really affect people, at least not the right kind of people. I'm sure someone in the Gay community can explain it to me if I have it wrong.

In short, most of my gay acquaintances have taught me that the desire to create and live in a merely tolerant society is not enough. And so, I should be thankful for such hopeful signs as the fact that government funding of AIDS research exceeds cancer research by more than ten to one. By so little? And can we believe the GAO's numbers, anyway? And yet the conspiracy continues! (Hey, I think I'm catching on to this conspiracy thing--and it's kinda fun!) Marchons, Larry, marchons!

A Reformed Oppressor

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