Tuesday, December 1, 2015

World AIDS Day: Flashing Back to "When AIDS Was Funny"

AIDS was, of course, never really funny. But for a time, people got titters about it, because it was "gay cancer," and openly gay Americans were rather rare, and the whole subject was treated like a joke. A dirty, truly tasteless joke. The most troubling fact about that, is that it wasn't just 13-year-old boys with pocket "dead baby" joke books treating it that way, but the official stance of the Reagan Administration. How much differently could the AIDS crisis have turned out, had Saint Ronnie treated the subject more seriously at the outset? We'll never know.


The Reagan Administration’s Unearthed Response to the AIDS Crisis Is Chilling

One of the most prominent stains on the reputation of the much-mythologized Reagan administration was its response, or lack of response, to the AIDS crisis as it began to ravage American cities in the early and mid-1980s. President Reagan famously (though, not famously enough) didn’t himself publicly mention AIDS until 1985, when more than 5,000 people, most of them gay men, had already been killed by the disease. Filmmaker Scott Calonico’s new documentary short, When AIDS Was Funny, exclusively debuting on VF.com, shows how the Reagan administration reacted to the mounting problem in chilling fashion. Not even Reagan’s appointed mouthpiece, notorious press secretary Larry Speakes, had much to say about the crisis beyond derisive laughter. . .

Read more (with video) at: Vanity Fair

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