|And the band still plays on....
Mar 21, 2006
I have literally just finished the book and the band played on by Randy Shilts. What an amazing book! It will make you angry, frustrated and sad. I encourage everyone to read it. The misinformation, irresponsibility and duplicity of all involved (including the SF gay community) were simply mind boggling. The AIDS policy of the current administration is terrible, but it pales in comparison to Regan. Doc, can you give us some insight into your thoughts and feelings back in 1982 1984 as the depth of the pandemic started to become apparent? The book ends in 1987, how will history judge the policy makers and bureaucrats of today?
Response from Dr. Frascino
Randy Shilts's book "And the Band Played On" is a powerful, enlightening and moving chronicle of the early years of the epidemic. It should be required reading for . . . well, for everyone on the planet. (And for those who don't like to read, the movie staring Matthew Modine, Alan Alda, Richard Gere, Angelica Huston, Steve Martin, Ian McKellen and Lily Tomlin is also quite good.)
As for my insights, thoughts and feelings, I too could write a book. Recently I gave several lectures examining HIV/ARS through the prism of mass media and pop culture and intertwined them with my own personal experience of being "virally enhanced." The presentation was entitled "Life. Love. Sex. AIDS. (And other unscheduled events.) A personal view of HIV/AIDS from both sides of the examination table." The take-home message was that the story of AIDS in the late 20th Century and early 21st Century America is one of a burst of activism surrounded by years of silence. If Randy hadn't died of AIDS himself and were still writing for the San Francisco Chronicle today, the HIV/AIDS stories he would be telling would be just as frustrating and enraging as those in his book! Yes, indeed, "And the Band (still) Plays On." AIDS remains a fight for many, fought by a few.
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