May 25, 2013
Are Muslims Our Misfortune? Exploring a Loaded Question
Posted on Sep 28, 2012
By Scott Tucker
When “Cruising” was reissued on DVD in 2007 (with commentary by the director, William Friedkin), one of the most historically informed reviews was written by Entertainment Weekly’s Mark Harris, who called the film a “horrorstruck heterosexual gawkers’ tour through the dank grottos of New York’s gay S&M scene.” Harris also wrote:
My daily life as a writer is fairly monastic nowadays, and I am happily married to another man. I don’t regret my almost accidental passage through the biker bars and leather scene of the late 20th century. I thought the annual International Mr. Leather contest in Chicago would be a great party, and I was not disappointed. While I carried the title for a year, I spent much of my time organizing and hosting fundraisers for AIDS groups and hospices. One of the most demonized subcultures within the gay community stepped up to the challenges of the AIDS pandemic. But in 1986 the protease inhibitor drugs were still a decade away, and the waves of death often left survivors stunned and stranded. From one month to the next, a circle of young friends could be reduced by half.
That sense of stark horror soon galvanized into a new movement of medical activism with the advent of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, better known as ACT UP. We demanded health care for all, and we confronted any politician or religious leader who thought we should shut up and die. We were rude, we were fierce, we were resolute. We took to the streets chanting, “Health care is a right! Not just for the rich and white!” And when the politicians sent the police after us, we shouted, “Arrest us! Just try it! Remember Stonewall was a riot!” We went to jail again and again and again. We worked with sex workers and injection drug users, of course, since some of us were already sex workers and injection drug users. We were people in trouble, and that kind of trouble is as good a ground of being as any other. I was diagnosed HIV positive in 1986, and here I am. If there is any God who “chooses” to kill so many millions while saving me to write these words, then I must wonder why.
Sure, let’s make the strong argument for civil liberties. Let’s complicate that argument. Let’s acknowledge that President Obama, a scholar of constitutional law, judged Bradley Manning guilty of breaking the law when it was already doubtful he’d get a fair trial—but when it was also certain that Manning had already done very hard time in jail. Let’s start facing the fact that the Democratic Party favors drone wars more than labor unions, and that the recent health care reform is founded on the ideas of right-wing think tanks—and therefore on political quicksand. Let’s stop biting our tongues when middle-class moral imbeciles insist that this coming election is “really” a referendum on racism, and not one more brute exercise of corporate dictatorship. Let’s talk about why “progressives” let any Democrat in the White House get away with bloody murder, while they scream bloody murder only when Republicans seize the musical chairs.
Hello there, Mona Eltahawy. I truly hope you get a fair day in court. I live in Los Angeles but I sure would love to join you and many others in giving free speech a chance in the subway stations, schools, streets and political campaigns of this country. Mona, I don’t really know all you might believe. I do know that subway sign makes me feel both dirty and furious. I want a hot bath. I want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I want another American revolution.
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