For 20 years, anyone who expressed doubt in the truths of the HIV/AIDS orthodoxy has been blighted. The dynamics of blighting stretch from overt attacks on professional reputations and funding, into the more insidious realms of social marginalization. Like a cancer, the orthodox apparatus finds life and displaces it; It transmutes the admirable into the shameful, and vice versa, so that one can only recognize its value system by accepting the doctrine of its final solution. Anything that aids the march toward the abolition of doubt is therefore not only accepted but rewarded. This is the ideology of war. Things that are considered decent and right during normal times are abolished and reversed in the charge toward victory.
The apparatus destroys innocence, it demonizes curiosity, it rewards betrayal, it does not recognize friendship or decency, and perhaps worst of all, it operates silently. One can never fight for the thing—be it friendship, professional relationship, common courtesy, fact or feather—that is about to be taken away because it does all its work in stealth. Ordinary people will fall prey almost immediately, and even extraordinary people can only hope they have the steel to weather the inevitable storms.
Last night I was at a party for a literary magazine, and had the chance to speak with a journalist who had profiled me, with a combination of curiosity, disdain, and muddled, grudging admission that something noteworthy was going on, but only via the uncouth quality of tenacity. The journalist told me, not unexpectedly, that she had heard from members of the AIDS orthodoxy. They demanded to know why she had “humanized” me. They wanted to know if she thought I might be approachable, for counter- indoctrination. That would involve me accepting that there is some middle earth where
murder is not wrong, where killing people is necessary, where all of science can be raked into a pit and I could bring myself to applaud the progressiveness. A place where two plus two can equal whatever you want it to, so long as one repeats the mantras of the faithful. When I asked if she might admit to me that not one single one of her friends had perished from a wanton sexual encounter, as per the doctrine, she looked down at her soup and said, meekly, “I just think that…everybody should wear condoms.” If reality is done away with, all we have are vapors--what Kierkegaard called “a monstrous nothing.”
We had been out drinking with an editor he wished to impress. Months earlier. The article in Harper’s had not yet appeared. All they knew was that I had been commissioned. The Editor introduced me to his Science Writer, and said I was writing about Peter Duesberg’s cancer theory, for Harper’s. The science writer said, with a sickly laugh: “I hope he makes more sense about cancer than he does about AIDS.” I looked at the floor. “He makes a lot of sense about AIDS. Have you read a single one of his papers?”
But the conversation had already moved on. Later, I told the editor that his science writer was very lazy. He lit into me. “You know, you’ve got some nerve. He’s won I don’t know how many journalism awards. How many have you won?”
Tears welled in my eyes and I smiled. “None.”
“Can we go home?” I said in a cracked voice, to my friend. “Please. Can we leave?”
“Calm down Farber,” he said. “Have another drink.”
© 2006 Celia Farber
Celia Farber is widely known "as the world's most dangerous AIDS reporter". A collection of her finest work, spanning 20 years of investigative reporting, is now available under the title, Serious Adverse Events: An Uncensored History of AIDS. (Hank)