kearns, aids-write, havvacc: notes on cultural activism

use metaphoric listening

look at how active political posturing (over “literal” issues only) can only make things difficult

if you take the establishment head-on, you are just indicating to them ways of making better chains for you. to meet them head-on is just suicide. what you have to do is approach the whole thing obliquely. you have to change people’s ideas, and the only way you can do that is through the media. you have to attack on a cultural, rather than political level.

what is the character of our recent history? more ironic, i think, than tragic or paradoxical.

there was a time when i hoped for a cure. many of us agitated for a cure.act up—larry kramer, again—was recently rated by readers and ediors at as one of the top ten most influential crusaders for social justice in the united states during the past thirty years. act up defined aids as a political issue, not merely a medical issue, not not somebody else’s quiet problem. act up used a strategy that martin luther king jr. once called “direct action” political confrontation to foment for accesssibility to medicines and agitate for a cure.

in what condition do we find ourselves now? what better chains bind us?

  • in the united states, among those wealthy enough to be able to afford insurance, hivers live (when they do live) in a suspended state of sickness, serviced by an industry whose own economic self-interests are more important to it than the saving of our lives.
  • outside the united states? you can’t buy, you die. and die. and die. and die. ownership of intellectual property is far more important than keeping third-world riff-raff alive. and they’ll all probably want to eat if they’re going to be alive anyway—one thing just leads to another.
  • a vaccine for all of us? we don’t care. we can’t be bothered. nobody cares.

to our great shame.

being a cultural activist means your life is the news. you are the expert. it means there are matters of art & craft that become involved in reporting on your inner condition, your view of the world.

filtered anthologizing is important. what constellations of news stories are to significant to you, reporting on your own life?

reading, writing, thinking and being (self definition) are part of the same process, and it is primarily a storytelling process, grounded by a dateline, a contemporary time & place in the “real world.”

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