Sunday, November 27, 2005

When You Care Enough To Tell The Truth

Yet, I find these ads not only an insult to my intelligence but indeed counter productive to the cause that they purport to be dealing with. In particular, the presence of Christina Aguilera in this campaign, a woman who has become a multi-millionaire out of promoting the type of promiscuous lifestyle that directly leads to HIV/AIDS, is particularly noxious. I do not believe Christina Aguilera really knows or cares one whit about the fact that AIDS is perhaps one of the greatest modern threats to the human species. I admit I could be wrong, but I do not think her actions would prove me so.

In the interest of full disclosure I will reveal something here now to you. In January 1993 my older brother, whom I loved dearly, died of AIDS. It was right after Christmas and I was about to begin my winter exams. He was a wonderful human being and I think about him a lot. He was also gay and a skater for the Ice Capades. I was in university in a different city at the time and it saddened me that I could not be closer to him during his death. It is one of the great regrets of my life. My mother, a nurse and my grandmother, also a former nurse went and took care of him in the last two months of his life in his small, cramped apartment in Toronto’s Yonge and Carlton district.

His death was not pleasant. It was not heroic. My brother was not a martyr. But he suffered. What bothers me about campaigns such as the ones above is that they do several things. They glamorize and heroicize the disease. By hiring beautiful young celebrities photographed in glossy B&W, these campaigns hurt more than they help. They create a visual romantic image of fighting HIV/AIDS that is just not true. These types of campaigns also traffic in rhetoric that is a staple of the fashion and entertainment industry. Let’s be blunt. HIV is predominantly (but not exclusively) spread by three factors:

1. Promiscuity
2. Anal sex
3. Dirty intravenous needles used for drug use

There are of course other factors such as blood transfusions that can also lead to the disease, but they are more rare.

Note the language I have used.

. . . . .

When my brother died, he did not look like Tom Hanks, or the dancing, enlightened, bohemian artists in Rent. There were no witty drag queens by his side and there were no ad agency execs telling him he was a martyr for the cause.

In his last weeks, he went in and out of blindness and struggled with mild forms of
dementia. He vomited profusely and his skin was covered in sores filled with puss. He went from being a muscular, handsome well built man to someone who was perhaps little more than 100 lbs. He bled out of various bodily cavities. There was no last minute cry and hug from a series of quirky artist types and Hollywood did not come to the rescue. In his last hours he was with my mother and grandmother. Both were Catholic and did not affirm his lifestyle but were there to the bitter end. They wiped his vomit from the floor, cradled him to sleep at night and when necessary helped him relieve himself in the bathroom. They ran to him when he moaned in the middle of the night. They were the only people with him in the hospital the night that he died. To this day my mother is haunted by the experience. It was her son. She would have died to save him. It is an experience very few will ever know.

That is love.

That is tolerance.

All else is rhetoric.

For the past four decades the West has been selling a lie to itself about the culture of promiscuity and sexuality. A lie about what the human body can take and what it is and is not designed to do. Until we quit lying to ourselves millions more will die.

I wonder if Mrs. Aguilera thinks about it in those terms?
Read the rest of his article to understand "the language (he has) used." He is correct when he describes this as love and tolerance. All else really is just rhetoric.