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A guy who stopped and said we should have safe sex?!

Posted by EXTRAORDINARY!! Or, get a fucking dictionary. | October 17, 2008 2:25 PM

Talk to me after you've seen the movie, fuckface.

Posted by David Schmader | October 17, 2008 2:27 PM

I dunno, Borstal Boys comes close to being TGMEM.

Posted by John Bailo | October 17, 2008 2:34 PM

I can think of a more extraordinary Brokowitz. That would actually be interesting tho.

Posted by Medical Calculator | October 17, 2008 2:42 PM

What, the gay leadership of the 1980s was wrong? You must have been brainwashed by Republicans, Schmader! It's really all Ronald Regan's fault. See...

The CDC shouldn't have shut down bathhouses and encouraged gay men to have fewer partners. Instead, we should have siezed all the rich people's money and used it to fund treatments and cures. Because no one should ever have to bear consequences of their behavior. In fact, consequences should be entirely divorced from behavior. That's what "liberation" is all about!

Posted by David Wright | October 17, 2008 2:48 PM

@5 Isn't it the point of the film that Richard Berkowitz was a gay leader of the '80s? And wasn't he endorsing (even inventing) personal sexual responsiblity?

I know the truth doesn't fit into your hysterical jab at the queers -- or your defense of Ronald Reagan (!!!) -- but the truth does have a well-known liberal bias.

Posted by whatevernevermind | October 17, 2008 2:53 PM

Did you like it as much as you liked Sex Drive?

Posted by Jonathan Bailo Thomas | October 17, 2008 2:56 PM

Whatevernevermind @ 6: Did you read Schmader's post, or see the film, or read Randy Shilt's excellent history of the early AIDS epidemic "And The Band Played On"? Berkowitz was a voice in the wilderness among the gay leadership, who nearly all fought the closing of the bathhouses, instructions to reduce sex partners and practice safe sex, and the introduction of HIV tests.

Oh, and Ronald Regan's administration screwed up the response to AIDS plenty, too. Just not in the way the gay leadership of the time did.

Posted by David Wright | October 17, 2008 3:06 PM

7: Where did you get the idea I liked "Sex Drive"?

Posted by David Schmader | October 17, 2008 3:11 PM
Because no one should ever have to bear consequences of their behavior. In fact, consequences should be entirely divorced from behavior.

Yes, because people should die as the consequences of their bad behavior, so long as assholes like you don't have to contribute a little more to find cures for deadly diseases.

One universal quality of selfish pricks: they're all fucking miserable. Is that the consequence of your personal responsibility, David?

Posted by keshmeshi | October 17, 2008 3:19 PM

Kesh, don't gun owners have it coming when their child blows a chunk of their brains onto the wall?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 17, 2008 3:22 PM

@8---Gay leadership? We have a leader?

Shilts' history is full of errors and his own bias is very evident.

Having lived through the whole awful time, I really don't remember non-gay folks being all that supportive of gays . Condemning is more like it -- kind of like what you are doing now.

Posted by Hartiepie | October 17, 2008 3:26 PM

"I loved Sex Drive so much, because the movie is good and the subject is extraordinary." -David Schmader

Posted by , yesterday | October 17, 2008 3:38 PM

Keshmeshi @ 10: Sorry to disappoint, but I'm pretty happy most of the time. Even when people spout off about how their wanting to take my money for their own purposes makes them morally superior to me, I mostly find their tortuous morality amusing.

Posted by David Wright | October 17, 2008 3:58 PM


We're not all retarded on Slog. Just ignore her. Some of us understand the concept of work, getting paid for your work, and keeping the money that belongs to you.

Posted by Jonathan Bailo Thomas | October 17, 2008 4:05 PM

@8 Read it, seen it, lived through it. And Schmader's post talks about the community's reaction to the leadership, i.e. Berkowitz, not the failure of the leadership. His post's point is that the leaders had to lead a confused and angry community through a difficult transition.

There were plenty of other voices in that supposed wilderness, by the way, not the least of whom was the extremely influential Larry Kramer or all the people behind ACT-UP and GMHC, for starters. In fact, it wasn't a wilderness at all. The gay establishment at the time all supported saving the gay male community.

As to anybody not wanting to close bathhouses: closing the bathhouses didn't stop AIDS, so it wasn't effective (or virtuous) to advocate for closing them nor was it evil (or wrong) to want them to stay open. Men who engaged in risky behavior just took that risky behavior to places where there was no opportunity for community, education or support.

And as for engaging in risky behavior in the first place: when a community is so de-humanized and made so desperate, it's no wonder that some within it lose track of common sense and even the instinct for self-preservation. Right or wrong, sexual liberation was an antidote to oppression for some. When that antidote was suddenly taken away and they were essentially punished all over again, some resisted changing their behavior. Not a surprise. And some men were just plain stupid. So?

Nothing was gained then by bashing all over again the people who were already victims of the dominant culture and nothing can be gained by bashing them now.

Posted by whatevernevermind | October 17, 2008 4:09 PM

16: Larry Kramer of course plays a big part in Sex Positive—part of what gave me the sharpest sense of Berkowitz's predicament was the fact that even Larry Kramer—who'd just devoted an entire novel to the question of gay men "fucking themselves to death"—denounced him for daring to broach the subject of promiscuity in relation to AIDS.

Posted by David Schmader | October 17, 2008 4:22 PM

@16, you did not just defend risky sexual behavior as an outcropping of low self esteem...

gay people aren't children.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 17, 2008 4:24 PM

Everyone I know is looking forward to the Israeli film with Fanny Ardant in it.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 17, 2008 5:35 PM

Tell you what, David Wright. You can keep 100% of your paycheck, but you get to pay for your own police, firefighters, roads, utilities, legal system, etc, etc. Deal?

Posted by Greg | October 18, 2008 10:46 AM

Hey David,
Adam from NWFF here, and I agree with your assessment. Not just because Richard happens to be my cousin... but because the film is actually a remarkable document of an era and Richards historic role in it.

Hope to see you there tomorrow.


Posted by Adam | October 18, 2008 11:34 PM

Thanks for the post, David. The Seattle gay & lesbian film festival was one of the best I've been to, and the audience was the best. Its funny to read gripes from people who haven't seen the film, but if the audience reaction in Seattle was any measure, SEX POSITIVE will find its audience and you helped move that along.

Posted by Richard Berkowitz | October 21, 2008 2:06 PM

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