With a new introduction by "Rolling Stone" national reporter and bestselling author William Greider, this modern masterpiece remains as compelling, heartbreaking, enraging, and critically important as ever.With a new introduction by "Rolling Stone" national reporter and bestselling author William Greider, this modern masterpiece remains as compelling, heartbreaking, enraging, and critically important as ever.Read Less
This is a fantastic book about a horrible disease. It is, in many ways, a journalistic masterpiece. Randy Shilts plays no favorites in his telling of the origins, rapid spread and search for a treatment for H.I.V. / AIDS in the early 1980's. Everyone is held accountable for his or her part in this epidemic. Ultimately, this is a story about unchecked appetites.
AIDS grew out of a lifestyle of sexual promiscuity. This is not a condemnation of gays. It is a condemnation of the belief that we can do whatever we want, wherever we want, with whomever we want as often as we want. So many of the challenges in modern life are outgrowths of this thinking. Diabetes, obesity, cancer, and bankruptcy - I could go on - are modern maladies that result from our behaviors - our choices and our failure to live within the "margins." As a society, we consume too much, do too much, and allow too much of everything - food, sex, media, sugar, alcohol, etc. Unchecked appetites. Our bodies are not designed for this level of consumption. They cannot process the sheer volume of "stuff" we ingest and expose them to on a daily basis. The logical outgrowth is disease.
I admire Shilts for his honest portrayal of everyone involved in the story. As a gay man who later died of AIDS, he did not let his own community of the hook for their behavior. Or the media and general public who reacted with fear rather than sympathetic and open hearts. Nor did he go easy on the medical establishment and governmental agencies that managed this disease with ego, greed and hubris rather than compassion and love.
Another element this story so beautifully portrays is how the human ego can so horribly muck things up. Like many of the "diseases" of modern living - there was a great deal of money to be made - and egos to be stroked - in the treatment of AIDS. So many people serve themselves - often contributing to the spread and extended life of a malady because their pride is fed by, and they profit greatly from, their role in it. I look at the drug companies, the medical industry, disease associations (American Cancer Society, et al.) and other supporting characters - millions are made off of every disease - so much that you wonder if a cure is truly desired. What would we do with these giant hospitals and bottles of blue pills if people were actually healthy and free of disease?
And the Band Played On reads like great fiction. It is a tremendous learning experience - about the gay culture of San Francisco in the 70's, about how the medical establishment works, and about how greed and hubris get in the way of progress - and real solutions. This is important to consider as we ask the government to take on an ever-increasing load of responsibilities for our care as individuals. Do we really want a government hack in Washington to decide our fate? Will he/she decide in your best interest or in his/her own? After reading this book, I think I know the answer.
I think John Mellencamp said it best in his song Paper in Fire -
There is a good life
Right across this green field
And each generation stares at it from afar
But we keep no check
On our appetites
So the green fields turn to brown
Like paper in fire
Unchecked appetites of any kind will lead to pain, suffering and ruin.
Mar 8, 2012
great movie-great service
This is a wonderfully informative movie, very thought-provoking. The cd was new and received in great condition and the order was processed in record time.
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