The taste for worst-case scenarios reflects the need to master fear of what is felt to be uncontrollable. At the same time their activities are far more complex than those envisaged in the earlier germ models of infection. The fear of AIDS imposes on an act whose ideal is an experience of pure presentness (and a creation of the future) a relation to the past to be ignored at one’s peril. It is filled with historical meaning. (Or feels as if it is in slow motion, because we know about it, can anticipate it; and now have to wait for it to happen, to catch up with what we think we know.). Astonishingly large sums of money are cited as the cost of providing minimum care to people who will be ill in the next few years. Nothing is changed when the most appalling estimates are revised downward, temporarily, which is an occasional feature of the display of speculative statistics disseminated by health bureaucrats and journalists. Camus is not protesting anything, not corruption or tyranny, not even mortality. The behavior that AIDS is stimulating is part of a larger often grateful return to what is perceived as “conventions,” like the return to figure and landscape, tonality and melody, plot and character, and other much vaunted repudiations of difficult modernism in the arts. Still, the amplitude of the fantasies of doom that AIDS has inspired can’t be explained by the calendar alone, or even by the very real danger the illness represents There is also the need for an apocalyptic scenario that is specific to “Western” society. And diseases. AIDS is a “natural phenomenon,” not an “event with moral meaning,” Gould points out. Two kinds of disaster, actually. Africans who detect racist stereotypes in much of the speculation about the geographical origin of AIDS are not wrong. The mounting panic about the risks of recreational and commercialized sexuality is unlikely to diminish the attractions of other kinds of appetites: boutiques are expected to fill the buildings in Hamburg recently vacated by the Eros Center, which closed for lack of clients. How we respond to AIDS depends, in part, on whether we understand this interdependence. OCHE OTORKPA, The Unseen Terrorist. After two decades of sexual spending, of sexual speculation, of sexual inflation, we are in the early stages of sexual depression. There is what is happening now. Like their biological namesakes, they won’t produce immediate signs of damage to the computer’s memory, which gives the newly “infected” program time to spread to other computers. To the death of oceans and lakes and forests, the unchecked growth of populations in the poor parts of the world, nuclear accidents like Chernobyl, the puncturing and depletion of the ozone layer, the perennial threat of nuclear confrontation between the super-powers or nuclear attack by one of the rogue states not under super-power control—to all these, now add AIDS. More than cancer but rather like syphilis, AIDS seems to foster ominous fantasies about a disease that is seen as marking both individual and social responsibilities. Garbage circulates: the poisonous industrial wastes of St. Etienne, Hanover, Mestre, and Bristol are being dumped in the coastal towns of West Africa. “It cannot be mastered in the West unless it is overcome everywhere.” In contrast to the rhetoric of global responsibility, a specialty of the international conferences, is the view, increasingly heard, in which AIDS is regarded as a kind of Darwinian test of a society’s aptitude for survival, which may require writing off those countries that can’t defend themselves. People think Aids is done -- it's not done. With viruses, which bond with their host cells, it is a much more difficult problem to distinguish viral functions from normal cellular ones. She saw guilt and shame; and she saw these as impediments to people's treatments. The Methodist preachers in England who connected the cholera epidemic of 1832 with drunkenness (the temperance movement was just starting) were not understood to be claiming that everybody who got cholera was a drunkard: there is always room for “innocent victims” (children, young women). Say: the number now…in three years, in five years, in ten years; and, of course, at the end of the century. And these mass incidences of illness are understood as inflicted, not just endured. HIV and AIDS affect millions of people around the world. Until recently, most of the infections recognized as viral were the ones, like rabies and influenza, that have very rapid effects. Recently the same mythologists who have been eager to use AIDS for ideological mobilization against deviance have backed away from the most panic-inspiring estimates of the illness. I think racism is a bottom-line AIDS issue. AIDS and Its Metaphors has a very poor understanding of how thoroughly homophobia, racism, and poverty saturated every aspect of AIDS as a political and psychic construction. The battle against AIDS is not a last decade issue. In Zaire and other countries in Central Africa where AIDS is killing tens of thousands, the counterreaction has begun. A good five million have died of it to date, twenty million have it and at least three times as many are going about their business, blithely unaware of the marble-like, marble-sized spots on their bodies.” He chides a fellow doctor for using the popular terms, “the white plague” and “Peking leprosy,” instead of the scientific name, “the Cheng Syndrome.” He fantasizes about how his clinic’s work on identifying the new virus and finding a cure (“every clinic in the world has an intensive research program”) will add to the prestige of science and win a Nobel Prize for its discoverer. The catastrophe of AIDS suggests the immediate necessity of limitation, of constraint for the body and for consciousness. The emergence of a new catastrophic epidemic, when for several decades it had been confidently assumed that such calamities belonged to the past, would not be enough to revive the moralistic inflation of an epidemic into a “plague.” It was necessary that the epidemic be one whose most common means of transmission is sexual. It matter not from whence it came; but all agreed it was come into Holland again. Praise for Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors “Susan Sontag's Illness as Metaphor was the first to point out the accusatory side of the metaphors of empowerment that seek to enlist the patient's will to resist disease. Hippocrates, who wrote several treatises on epidemics, specifically ruled out “the wrath of God” as a cause of bubonic plague. And they themselves, many of them, evolve. There has always been reluctance in American health campaigns to communicate information about ways of having safer sex. It is usually epidemics that are thought of as plagues. Interpreting any catastrophic epidemic as a sign of moral laxity or political decline was as common until the later part of the last century as associating diseases with foreign-ness. And syphilis has been regarded as a plague—Blake speaks of “the youthful Harlot’s curse” that “blights with plagues the Marriage hearse”—not because it killed often but because it was disgracing, disempowering, disgusting. — AIDS and Its Metaphors, (1989), ch. The incarceration in detention camps surrounded by barbed wire during World War I of some thirty thousand American women, prostitutes and women suspected of being prostitutes, for the avowed purpose of controlling syphilis among army recruits, caused no drop in the military’s rate of infection—just as incarceration during World War II of tens of thousands of Americans of Japanese ancestry as potential traitors and spies probably did nothing to prevent espionage or sabotage. In this country AIDS has so far evoked less pointedly racist reactions than in Europe, including the Soviet Union, where the African origin of the disease is stressed. If the medical establishment has been on the whole a bulwark of sanity and rationality so far, refusing even to envisage programs of quarantine and detention, it may be in part because the dimensions of the crisis still seem limited and the evolution of the disease unclear. Epidemics of particularly feared illnesses always provoke an outcry against leniency or tolerance—now identified as laxity, weakness, disorder, corruption: unhealthiness. It's still out there, and our friends are still suffering, despite how good they may look to you and me. “Be careful. They become part of social mores, not a practice adopted for a brief period of emergency, then discarded. A year later it was featured on the front page of London’s conservative, mass-circulation Sunday Express. Copyright © 2005 - 2020 Notable Quotes. Like some rabid animal, AIDS picked me up by the scruff of my neck, shook me senseless, and spat me out forever changed. This piece, written at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, examines in terms similar to those used in the earlier work how the disease was being described at the time, when there was much talk of contamination, plagues, and punishment. So far as “plague” still has a future as a metaphor, it is through the ever more familiar notion of the virus. Above the image is written: “It depends on each of us to erase that shadow” (Il depend de chacun de nous d’effacer cette ombre). AIDS did not become so famous just because it afflicts whites too, as some Africans bitterly assert. AIDS also seems the very model of all the catastrophes privileged populations feel await them. Neither has AIDS proved of much use as a metaphor for international political evil. illness as metaphor and aids and its metaphors Oct 07, 2020 Posted By Anne Rice Public Library TEXT ID 4462635f Online PDF Ebook Epub Library the specific case of aids aids and its metaphors was published in 1988 while illness as a metaphor was published ten years earlier before the emergence of aids into the Everyone knows that a disproportionate number of blacks are getting AIDS, just as there is a disproportionate number of blacks in the armed forces and a vastly disproportionate number in prisons. Cholera was perhaps the last major epidemic disease fully qualifying for plague status for almost a century. Or the too much, ever more than we can handle or absorb: uncontrollable growth.) But it is certainly true that were AIDS only an African disease, however many millions were dying, few outside of Africa would be concerned with it. Like earlier treatises on syphilis, written in Latin—by Nicolo Leoniceno (1497) and by Juan Almenar (1502)—the one by di Vigo calls it morbus gallicus, the French disease. ↩, As recently as 1983 the historian William H. McNeill, author of Plagues and Peoples, started his review of a new history of the Black Death by asserting: “One of the things that separate us from our ancestors and make contemporary experience profoundly different from that of other ages is the disappearance of epidemic disease as a serious factor in human life” (The New York Review, July 21, 1983). It also expresses a positive desire, the desire for stricter limits in the conduct of personal life. Viruses have no morality, no sense of good and evil, the deserving or the undeserving.... AIDS is not the swift sword with which the Lord punishes the evil practitioners of male homosexuality and intravenous drug use. With an epidemic in which there is no immediate prospect of a vaccine, much less of a cure, prevention plays a larger part in consciousness. Sexual exchanges are to be carried out only after forethought. The unprepared are taken by surprise; those observing the recommended precautions are struck down as well. Anything in history or nature that can be described as changing steadily can be seen as heading toward catastrophe. The ability to project events with some accuracy into the future enormously augmented what power consisted of, because it was a vast new source of instructions about how to deal with the present. Part of making an event real is just saying it, over and over. 11 likes Although Erasmus, the most influential European pedagogue of the early sixteenth century, described syphilis as “nothing but a kind of leprosy” (by 1529 he called it “something worse than leprosy”), it had already been understood as something different because it was sexually transmitted. Thinking of syphilis as a punishment for a person’s transgression was for a long time, virtually until the disease became easily curable, not really distinct from regarding it as retribution for the licentiousness of a community—as with AIDS now, in the rich industrial countries. It would be one of those “natural” events, like famines, which periodically ravage poor, overpopulated countries and about which people in rich countries feel quite helpless. Susan Sontag (1933–2004) was a novelist, playwright, filmmaker, and one of the most influential critics of her generation. My faith reminds me that we all are sinners. Fear of the Communion cup, fear of surgery: fear of contaminated blood, whether Christ’s blood or your neighbor’s. For an analogy in the literature of antiquity to the modern sense of a shaming, isolating disease, one would have to turn to Philoctetes and his stinking wound. AIDS. 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