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Author Topic: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book  (Read 3003 times)

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Offline tednlou2

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Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« on: February 08, 2014, 01:03:50 AM »
I ordered my copy from Barnes and Noble.  You can find it on Amazon, too. 

http://www.poz.com/articles/sean_strub_tells_all_2818_25037.shtml

Offline Theyer

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2014, 08:37:06 AM »
I ordered my copy from Barnes and Noble.  You can find it on Amazon, too. 

http://www.poz.com/articles/sean_strub_tells_all_2818_25037.shtml

So any good, please may we have your review.
"If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people ."  Tony Benn

Offline Dan0

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2014, 04:27:47 PM »
I just finished it on my plane ride back. Wonderful book. You won't be disappointed!
You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.

"Honey, you should never ask advice from a drunk drag queen who has a show to do." - JG

06/2002 DX
10/2006 Atripla UD
10/2013 Stribild Still UD

Offline buginme2

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2014, 07:47:05 PM »
The reviews havent been that great.  I read the review in Slate awhile ago and it kinda stopped me from pursuing it further.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2014/01/28/body_counts_a_memoir_of_politics_sex_aids_and_survival_by_sean_strub_reviewed.html

Excerpt:

Given Strub’s impressive movement résumé, it’s surprising how perfunctorily Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS and Survival covers that aspect of his life. Compared with, say, the rage-inducing, tear-jerking documentary film How to Survive a Plague, which chronicles many of the same events and debates (and in which Strub appears), Body Counts is dry and at times, it must be said, downright dull.
Don't be fancy, just get dancey

Offline Dan0

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2014, 08:00:32 PM »
I haven't stopped thinking about this book since I got back. I downloaded it the day that it was available and set it aside for a 'long trip' so I could really immerse myself in it. This was the trip. It's as well written as the two Randy Schiltz novels that I've read twice now and really resonated with me. 'And The Band Played On' and 'Conduct Unbecoming' I have shared with anyone I know who (a) reads and (b) has the least interest in HIV. Required reading.

I just think after reading this, how fortunate I really am. I am certain that if I were a LTS, I would have a much different perspective. It did bring the stigma, politics and personal loss to me in a way that I simply did not have the history to know. I knew 'of it' but every once in a while, like this book, I need a refresher course. There were a couple passages that I had to close the lid on the pad and look out the window to clear my mind and not look so obviously impacted to my seat mates.

It's sad, but the only way that people like me have to know the history is the written pages. The first person I ever met that I assumed was suffering from the late stages of HIV/AIDS was way back in 1988. In the travel industry we meet everyone, but this young man stood out. We were the same age, the same history of growing up on a rural farm and not knowing much about the world until we were dropped into it. I think I think I was the first person in a while to ask 'How you doing?' Instead of ignoring him with your head down. He was obviously in bad shape and going home for what he thought was the last time. Although he didn't articulate it, I assumed the worst. At one point, no one would help this young man find a place that was clean and private to take his medication (which I assumed was an injection of sorts). It was a horrible display of inhumanity. I took him and put him in a private room and took care of him the rest of the trip thinking, 'that could easily be me'. I often wondered what happened to him and fear the worst. Until these books came out, though, I just never knew how awful things were back aside from the casual brushes with people then and at some level....maybe I didn't want to.

I seriously doubt I would have had the strength displayed in these pages and consider myself blessed.

I wonder if the bad review is from anyone that lives with this disease? My point is that we see value in these pages (or not) based on our experiences. To some, it may be a horribly dry book but to me, I saw value.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2014, 08:10:38 PM by Dan0 »
You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.

"Honey, you should never ask advice from a drunk drag queen who has a show to do." - JG

06/2002 DX
10/2006 Atripla UD
10/2013 Stribild Still UD

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2014, 08:02:39 PM »
Oh yeah, the name-dropping conga line sounds like... like... well, not sure what to say. I almost vomited reading the review so I can imagine what reading the actual book would be like.
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline mitch777

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2014, 08:29:45 PM »


I wonder if the bad review is from anyone that lives with this disease? My point is that we see value in these pages (or not) based on our experiences. To some, it may be a horribly dry book but to me, I saw value.

That's really the point.^

I read the review and am simply not up to reading the book at this time only because I was there at the beginning and don't wish to relive that time in my life. It sounds like it would be a good and important read to me for those who weren't there.

It sounds like he lead a fascinating life and took on challenges in those early years that too few do now. 

32 years hiv+ (oct. 2013) with a curtsy.

Offline mecch

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2014, 09:18:43 PM »
Sounds like Strub didn't write a poetic, aching, elegy and why should he have, if its not his character?

Anyone over 40, 45ish, could easily not need such a book if "they were there" but its important survivors write them. 

I'm waiting for a pulpy, low to the ground, intimate drama about a Stephen Gendin type.  I didn't like Rent.  I liked Angels in America on stage, less so on TV.  Longtime Companion I saw way back when, and I remember it having the right tonality.  Edmund White's Our Paris.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline buginme2

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2014, 10:23:48 PM »

I'm waiting for a pulpy, low to the ground, intimate drama about a Stephen Gendin type.  I didn't like Rent.  I liked Angels in America on stage, less so on TV.  Longtime Companion I saw way back when, and I remember it having the right tonality.  Edmund White's Our Paris.

How is Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart?

It is in one of the local theatre's currently.  I need to find someone else interested in seeing it with me. 
Don't be fancy, just get dancey

Offline tednlou2

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2014, 10:40:50 PM »
So any good, please may we have your review.

Hasn't come yet.  Besides the main and most important story of HIV/AIDS in the early years, I was facinated how this site came to be--how Time Life made claim of infringement, because POZ Magazine was first called Life Plus. 

Offline Theyer

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2014, 05:22:37 AM »
Dano every one who went through that period thought like you ,yet they found what needed to be found , its human nature to want to survive 99% of the time . When I look back I do find it hard to stay with some off the memories. This however gave me more knowledge regarding the men /women in my family who fought in the 1st and 2 nd World Wars and there almost blanket silence about the experience.

Some things are too hard and need the right person in the right time and place to convey traumatic times .
"If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people ."  Tony Benn

Offline darota

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2014, 05:06:01 PM »
I just started reading the book today. I was around about the same time as Sean in DC. We never crossed paths because  was busy sleeping with hundreds of men trying to find the ONE and when I tested positive in 1988, I withdrew from my gay cultural activities and sequestered myself away to this day. I feel like the book reads like my life could have been if I had been active in the community, getting involved in reducing the stigma.  I am part of the ones that still fear coming out positive. I would like to have the courage to speak out about this to stop the stigma and am committing to starting the process of seeing what that could look like for me. I need to heal from this and not keep contributing to the stigma, 26 years later for me. Thanks Sean for sharing your story.

Online Jeff G

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2014, 05:12:26 PM »
I just started reading the book today. I was around about the same time as Sean in DC. We never crossed paths because  was busy sleeping with hundreds of men trying to find the ONE and when I tested positive in 1988, I withdrew from my gay cultural activities and sequestered myself away to this day. I feel like the book reads like my life could have been if I had been active in the community, getting involved in reducing the stigma.  I am part of the ones that still fear coming out positive. I would like to have the courage to speak out about this to stop the stigma and am committing to starting the process of seeing what that could look like for me. I need to heal from this and not keep contributing to the stigma, 26 years later for me. Thanks Sean for sharing your story.

Welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing your story .

Offline Joe K

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2014, 05:45:53 PM »
... Anyone over 40, 45ish, could easily not need such a book if "they were there" but its important survivors write them... 

I have no interest in reading books like this, because I lived through the times they chronicle.  It took me almost 2 decades to move past the horror of the early years and I still feel the abandonment of having so many of my friends die.  I hope that books like these can add to our collective knowledge, regarding the history of HIV/AIDS, however, I will never need any reminders of what those early years were like... because I was there.

Joe

Offline buca45

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2014, 01:47:55 AM »
Why read  yet another book by some narcisstic  man who lived the same life most of us did years ago that landed us where we are now? If I wanted to be entertained by the sexual exploits he went through, I would read my own stories of the hundred thousand men I had sex with over a 20+ year romp around the country.
What little I did read of it was SO boring and nothing I had not heard before. How many different ways is there to write the same story over and over.
Sorry for my cranky attitude. Been feeling like shit again and this is the last thing I need to read about when I am worried about how to stay alive and relatively pain free.
Will anyone out there care to read how I was a promiscuous one time gay beauty who flew through every state of the union spreading my love and the bug to all who lined up for their turn?
LOL This is the first time I have laughed in a week. So I guess this yet another one book did do something for me.
"Love and Laughter and Happiness Ever After"

Offline MarcoPoz

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2014, 09:16:46 AM »
I read it.  I'm an LTS'r.  I'm going to see him do a reading of it.  I did NOT like the book.  I'm going to see him so that I can be reminded of the cult of personality, ego-driven, name dropping, sero-celebs that have turned a terminal illness and the social movement that responded to it, into a glitzy members only club of acceptable surrogates for all the less pretty and refined of us living and dying with HIV/AIDS.

I will discuss this with him.  It will not make one bit of difference.  Our defacto AIDSy 'leadership' suffers from too much cognitive dissonance about who people living with HIV are now--what their lives are like and what their challenges are.  I'm sick of the New York-DC-LA self promoted sero-elites driving our public discussions and being the main representatives for those who have thier hands on the levers of power for change.

I commend Sean's work in fighting stigma.  But he has been very silient on the fact that one of the most public and prominet supports for continuing stigma is the fact that HRSA and CDC no longer even use the terms people living with HIV/AIDS or even AIDS for that matter.  Don't you know that we're all cured now?  We no longer have AIDS, we have "Stage III".

I'm sick of the parade of pozzie celebs like Sean, Paul Kawata, PACHA members and most of the professional PWA's (Hey, I actually used that term!) who write, blog, expouse thier veiws in POZ about what we you be thinking, feeling and experiencing as people with AIDS.

I'm sick of the usual suspects getting jetted from place to place as professional conference goers, paid for by PHaRMA, HRSA or CDC, who have toned down their messages to the flavor of milk toast so as not to offened the hand that feeds them--err...schleps them all over.

I'm sick of the inside the beltway only meetings attended by sero celebs who have lost touch with not only what we LTSrs deal with, but more importantly, the new issues and trends for those newly infected.

It doesn't matter anymore what the message is.  It doesn't matter anymore what the realities are.  It only matters if you have been bestowed the coronation of sero pozzie celeb.

Those that use these new pozzie aristocrats for their main input for policy decisions, have seen just how far from reality their messages have gone--but who can admit THAT?

We have fucking HIV.  We have fucking AIDS.  It still kills us.  We have to fight for comprehensivce prevention and effective accessible treatment just as hard now as we did in 1985.  But we don't.  We listen and follow like lemmings to the Royal Court Of Professional Pozzies.

Fuck them.

Online Jeff G

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2014, 10:16:57 AM »
I think some of the comments in this thread are over the top and uncalled for . Its one thing to disagree or give a bad book review but must we be so vicious to one of our own .

I think Sean is owed a bit of respect whether you agree about how he goes by his activism or not .   

Offline MarcoPoz

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2014, 11:47:30 AM »
Jeff, If my comments are included in your statement, I'd just like to say that I DID say that I support Sean's work in anti-criminalization and that I am respectful enough to make it a point to travel to see him and personally discuss my views with him.  Now, if that's 'over the top', then perhaps we need a better defined and more specific set of posting guidelins for what seems as moving goal posts.  I gave respect, but also offered my own honest thoughts.  If that is distasteful, I should be told directly.  But it also shows evidence of exactly what I was discussing.  Are our sero-celebs even above reproach from the rest of us living with HIV?

Online Jeff G

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2014, 11:51:05 AM »
Jeff, If my comments are included in your statement, I'd just like to say that I DID say that I support Sean's work in anti-criminalization and that I am respectful enough to make it a point to travel to see him and personally discuss my views with him.  Now, if that's 'over the top', then perhaps we need a better defined and more specific set of posting guidelins for what seems as moving goal posts.  I gave respect, but also offered my own honest thoughts.  If that is distasteful, I should be told directly.  But it also shows evidence of exactly what I was discussing.  Are our sero-celebs even above reproach from the rest of us living with HIV?

I see . You are free to post as you wish as I am to reply . I did find your post offensive and harsh but so what, its just my opinion . 

Offline MarcoPoz

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2014, 12:25:59 PM »
Jeff, while my post and the opinions therein can certainly be disagreed with, what specifically did I say that reached the level of being offensive? You're a moderator here, so I want to know so I don't get booted.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 12:33:20 PM by MarcoPoz »

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2014, 12:36:52 PM »
Jeff, while my post and the opinions therein can certainly be disagreed with, what specifically did I say that reached the level of being offensive? You're a moderator here, so I want to know so I don't get booted.

Quote
Our defacto AIDSy 'leadership' suffers from too much cognitive dissonance about who people living with HIV are now--what their lives are like and what their challenges are.  I'm sick of the New York-DC-LA self promoted sero-elites driving our public discussions and being the main representatives for those who have thier hands on the levers of power for change.
I took offense to that.

Online Jeff G

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2014, 12:39:18 PM »
Jeff, while my post and the opinions therein can certainly be disagreed with, what specifically did I say that reached the level of being offensive? You're a moderator here, so I want to know so I don't get booted.

You will not get booted from here for speaking your mind . I find the tone of your post a bit harsh and the closing with fuck them struck me as more of a rant than something constructive .

I'm wearing my member hat and not my moderator hat on this one  LOL . Its ok to disagree . I wish you all the best and value you being here above all else .

Offline Joe K

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2014, 02:27:58 PM »
... Our defacto AIDSy 'leadership' suffers from too much cognitive dissonance about who people living with HIV are now--what their lives are like and what their challenges are.  I'm sick of the New York-DC-LA self promoted sero-elites driving our public discussions and being the main representatives for those who have thier hands on the levers of power for change.

Marco,

While I share some of your sentiments regarding these issues, the sad fact is that too many poz folks, left the battle for someone else to fight.  When I worked with an ASO in Detroit, we had a hard time keeping a working board of directors, mainly because board members kept dying, but also because too many people just did not want to get involved.  Many of us were outside our experience in trying to run an organization for poz folks, not because we did not know what we needed, rather, because we did not know how to run such an organization.

Many ASOs then looked to "professional managers" for operations and used some form of an advisory board, comprised of poz members, to determine the direction of the organization.  Yet, during all of this, we just kept on dying from AIDS.  We lost legions who could have taken the reigns.  At the same time, the face of HIV started to change, to include other than gay men and with that change, came a dissolution of power, as each segment of the HIV community sought solutions to their own needs.

By necessity, we burned though folks as if there was an infinite supply, except that it was a finite supply and getting smaller as each year passed.  There were also legions of non-poz folks who worked just as hard, to gain all the progress we have made in the last thirty years.  Sadly, many of the folks who devoted their life to the HIV community became overburdened and often unappreciated for the real sacrifices they made, and other pozzies noticed what happened to them and they stopped volunteering.

As the services and treatments for HIV advanced, so did the requirements of new segments of the community.  Many ASOs became war zones, with different members advocating for their particular needs and often, these divisions led to the ultimate demise of many organizations.  For those ASOs that survived, many were forced to close their doors, due to poor management, which often involved embezzlement of agency funds, or directing very limited resources to too many areas, so that none of the areas were adequately funded.

Also adding to the issue, is how funding for HIV services has constantly been in a state of flux, since the very beginning.  Each year brought new hoops for ASOs to jump through and competition for limited funds exploded, as each segment of the HIV community sought their share.  Many of us were forced to limit our efforts, because the resources were simply not there to meet all the needs.  Sadly, HIV funding continued to become more complex as the years progressed.  At one time, my ASO could meet personally with the sources of our funding and discuss our options.  Those times have long passed and now funding has become a contest, not on who has the best ideas on how to meet the needs of the HIV community, but who has the most visibility to attract the funding we require.

Obviously, I have only touched on some issues with our community, however, it remains just as hard today, to get volunteers to serve the HIV community.  As our needs have changed, so has the world and what worked in the 1980s, no longer works in the 21st Century.  Although it saddens me, that so many folks no longer work to serve our community, I cannot, in good conscience, deride those who have stood steadfast in their service to the HIV community.

I believe that demeaning those who stand for the HIV community to simply be a poor choice.  I may disagree with their approach or some of their ideas, however, I could never demean the fact that they have chosen to live a life in service to the HIV community.

Joe

Offline mecch

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2014, 02:46:05 PM »
I read it.  I'm an LTS'r.  I'm going to see him do a reading of it.  I did NOT like the book.  I'm going to see him so that I can be reminded of the cult of personality, ego-driven, name dropping, sero-celebs that have turned a terminal illness and the social movement that responded to it, into a glitzy members only club of acceptable surrogates for all the less pretty and refined of us living and dying with HIV/AIDS.

Strub was identified early in his career as a star-fucker and acknowledges that is part of who he is.  I think you throw out too many babies in your bathwater here. 

Its certainly true that people who make their living in civil rights, human rights, public advocacy, NGO management, can get too fancy but it is what it is.  Still lots of good work going on.

I have tales to tell of the egoism in NYC and Geneva from personal experience, but as I said, it is what it is, and someone has to take these jobs and these roles...

Most occupations such as these are compromised in some way or another, and can be questioned.  Its important to question people, and also where possible to try to walk a mile in their shoes, see what happens...
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2014, 03:15:32 PM »
Sean Strub doesn't need for me to defend who he is. Anyone who has been around the epidemic knows about how much he has done to fight HIV/AIDS variously through the years.And in ways that have benefitted countless thousands.

And he is a mortal with all that implies with whatever his limitations are. But to categorize him as part of a gang of shallow self-worshippers exploiting the epidemic for their op in the spotlight and personal profit is simply way off of the mark.

Read the book or don't read it. If the prose is not always winged, it still manages to recapture credibly and even movingly at times some of the personal evolution of one gay man finding his way in our country and through the epidemic that some will find worth reading.

Personally I decided long ago that we have enough enemies of all sorts to deal with  so that unless someone is doing really bad stuff like closeted politicians do, slicing and dicing amongst ourselves is counter-productive.

Generally speaking I don't like meanness but I am open to being educated about when it may serve a good purpose. Beating up on Sean and his book doesn't reach to that level for me.   

« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 03:19:08 PM by Andy Velez »
Andy Velez

Offline MarcoPoz

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2014, 03:52:23 PM »
Perhaps I am harsh.  And I failed to do the polite thing of providing cudos to everyone who has ever made an effort to advocate for our causes.  But I think there's enough back slapping and sero-celeb worship going on.  For all those I mentioned--there are legions (some may actually still be alive) of HIV positive people who gave all they could for our services.

I was recently on a national teleconference that used up a good 20 minutes on the important issues related to 'order of speakers' and whom would address whom.  Plans were made for this conference, this face-to-face at another conference and yet more plans for another conference.  The AIDS -- excuse me, "Stage III" tour is about to set sail.

My friends and clients struggle to get a bus to get them to their ID appointments.  So, forgive me if I label a lot of this as 1st. World problems.

I'm no newbie.  I don't need anyone to explain the bad old days to me--especially those we had in Detroit.  And 'had' is the incorrect word.  The same problems we dealt with then occur more frequently and their effects are deeper than they were then.  Back then we had white affluent men engaged and involved.  They have left.  Now we're poor and Black and the once hopeful belief that our systems could be fixed have been muted and replied to by, "well...that's just how things are".

Great things SHOULD be expected of those we make 'great'.  Now, please disagree.  But become indignant or even offended at what I've said?  How far from our activist roots have we come?

Write me off as one of 'those' activists.  Write me off as a nobody who should not dare to soil the garments of our pozzie aristocracy.  Doesn't matter to me.

But when I sit there and listen to the elitiest crap I hear on conference calls or read in policy development planning documents or other related national activities, it doesn't make me bitter--it pisses me off.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2014, 04:25:57 PM »
Marco, couldn't agree with more about the verbal lint that stifles so many meetings. Everywhere. I was at one last Friday focusing on getting the NY Governor and NYC Mayor to address various issues even as many participants were cautioning on the need to thank (re kiss ass) about their coming out in support of the 30% rent cap for those living with HIV.

When I had more than enough I said WHERE IS THE URGENCY in this discussion. Which is how I feel about a lot conversations and meetings to which I am privy.

WHERE IS THE URGENCY!!! We're talking life and death here.

Rock on, Marco.
Andy Velez

Offline BT65

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Re: Body Counts-- Sean Strub's New Book
« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2014, 06:35:16 AM »
I have not yet read the book.  But, I wanted to comment on Joe's post.

Joe, while reading through your post, it brought to mind 3 organizations that folded here, and the 1 surviving, at which I was employed.  I remembered the people who used to run the organizations, and remembered that quite a few of the ones who ran the organizations, are simply no more. 

And, I also remember an organization getting into a spot from embezzlement.  So, if those things happened here, I can imagine that they played out all over the country. 

Thank you, Joe, for posting that.  It reminds me that while the best of intentions fueled many groups aimed at helping those of us affected by HIV/AIDS, the realities of life thought otherwise.   
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

 


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