Monday, November 15, 2010

Learning through Art: HIV/AIDS in Books--The Tragedy of Today's Gays, by Larry Kramer

Have we lost the war against AIDS? I find the answer to this question yet another timely and timeless topic. I wonder how much has changed, the war against AIDS, since 2004, when Larry Kramer asked this exact question in his book, The Tragedy of Today's Gays

I found the read electrifying, calling all of us to action, to do something about the pandemic. After all, AIDS is still a pandemic; HIV, still a killer, no matter how many medications are available, no matter how much closer we've gotten to a cure or a vaccine.

The review was originally published in A&U--America's AIDS Magazine. I posted it below.

As always, thanks for visiting,
Alina Oswald

The Tragedy of Today's Gays
By Larry Kramer
Foreword by Naomi Wolf
Afterword by Rodger McFarlane
Reviewed by Alina Oswald

"WE HAVE LOST THE WAR AGAINST AIDS," Larry Kramer announces in his new book, The Tragedy of Today's Gays.  Based on Kramer's Cooper Union speech just five days after the 2004 election, The Tragedy of Today's Gays offers an encore, a second chance to learn from the 69-year old activist, the one who's always been the first to voice issues threatening the LGBT community. 
Today, Larry Kramer still opines his views on the "plague of AIDS" and the "cabal" (the right wing conspiracy), while challenging and encouraging his community to revisit and redefine its goals.  Although in his book he addresses gay men in particular, his message offers all his readers a soul-searching opportunity and a chance to rethink their lives and their future.  The Tragedy of Today's Gays is a wake-up call for all of us, but especially for today's young generation-those growing up in a time of life-prolonging AIDS medications and AIDS complacency.
Looking back at more than two decades of AIDS, readers can only ask themselves the same question Kramer asks his audience: "Does it occur to you that we brought this plague of AIDS upon ourselves?"  His answer to this question attempts to explain what Kramer considers the tragedy of today's gays.
Throughout the read three topics interweave and stand out, in particular.  One is the meaning of a history of AIDS, which, for some readers, may bring to life candid memories from the early years of the pandemic.  Another is a brief lesson in gay history-one that should be taught in schools, but, unfortunately, is not.  The third one has to do with the survival and the future of Larry Kramer's community-the gay community-and the dreams and ideals ignited by the gay revolution some three decades ago.     
Larry Kramer's message is of vital and timeless significance, traversing this short but poignant read: in order to better appreciate our present and make a better future for ourselves and for the next generations, we need to learn from the past.  In this sense, The Tragedy of Today's Gays serves as a survival guide in our fight against the AIDS pandemic, securing our future achievements and dreams.

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