|Longtime Companion: The movie that made me realize I really like Blondie's "The Tide Is High."|
Now I wonder sometimes how much it would suck to be really sick, facing an early and unfair death, and have to rely on some chirpy college student who finds your tragedy romantic and exotic to deliver your lunch? It would suck a lot, I think.
|Don't you want these two in charge of your medical care?|
The movie is well written, well acted, economically edited, with cleverly symbolic opening and closing rodeo scenes. It tells an important and empowering story. But it’s still a movie about a straight white man saving gay men (and the occasional woman). His queer business partner (Jared Leto in very cute drag) gets to die tragically.
|I think I finally get the Jordan Catalano thing.|
There’s a scene in which McConaughey, rail-thin and tethered to an IV, staggers into some sort of hearing where doctors and FDA officials are speaking about the benefits of AZT. He shouts what we now know to be true: It killed the virus for a while, but it was toxic and didn’t save lives.
(My Bio 40 teacher chalked AZT up to panic—nearly everyone was desperate to come up with a drug to fight AIDS. But it typically takes about fifteen years to develop something that works against any disease—that’s just the nature of scientific research. No surprise that protease inhibitors came on the market along about 1995.)
If I’d been in that meeting, I would no doubt have dismissed the delirious cowboy as an alkaline-foods whackjob. I’m a rule follower, if a skeptical one. I don’t think science is untainted by capitalism, but I think it’s the best we’ve got. But in that case, I would have been wrong. I would have been better off (though perhaps only slightly) waiting outside McConaughey’s dingy motel room for drugs smuggled from Mexico.
We need scientists. We need cowboys. We need what a woman I recently interviewed called “citizen patients.” I’m trying to be one—though I’m also trying to not be a patient at all—but it’s really confusing.