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Bad Manners and Good Gossip

« AIDS Experts Mystified by Harmless HIV | Main | Way to Go, Thabo ! »

August 17, 2006


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But where is the orthodoxy, defending their territory? Surely they have more to say than...nothing?

And let's note for comparison, that in the ad-hominem-laced 'Moore's Follies' that previously graced these pages, in which a Housewife from Van Nuys, and a Nutty Castaway Professor in Playa del Sol exile, were accused in a New York Times editorial of single-handedly tearing down the "hard-won" Concrete Prison Wall of AIDS, inc...

Where there was much hooing and hawing, hissing and...(you know what rhymes with that! No, nobody was kissing).

But not here, where the question is clear:

"What's the difference between what's always happened when people poison themselves to death, and your amalgamized 'AIDS'?"

There was a great deal of action when the question was vague, and the argument was directed by personal attack and vitriol, leveled against a couple 'dangerous denialists' who dared challenge the man behind the curtain to show his face, or get the hell out of Oz.

But here, when meth addiction runs into HIV-ological-pseudo-scientific opportunism, where every single freaking stitch of their threadbare pedagogy shows its frailty - and snaps, here you get no argument.. No letters back and forth.... No rebuke or rebutal... No fight at all.

Wonder why? Fear of embarrasment? No reasonable argument to make? Well - the blog's still open, so come one, come all!

The same thing happens when you point out that there is no such thing as an HIV test, or an honest HIV diagnosis; and the poisonous drugs are therefore dumped into what are essentially pre-selected groups that have nothing in common but the prejudices of AIDS,inc: perceptions of poverty, skin color, nationality and sexuality.

I'll direct you to my thoughts on the subject, and cross-polinate a bit.

Ciao amici,



"Ya know", a few more posts like the last ones, and even me (and maybe even Lise) will have to join "nut-job, anti-pharma" Groucho full strong, although in my case at the serious risk of further enraging my retirement portfolio manager who *insists* that I get into petroleum discovery and refining and patent medicine makers like *really* heavy.


How great that Michael Geiger knows what AIDS is! That's really fantastic! Now can you prove it? Can you set up the necessary controlled studies to demonstrate the truth of your convictions? I would be so thrilled if you could. But going ahead and announcing that you know what causes AIDS seems a lot like what Gallo did, doesn't it? Hold the press conference before the data are in -- wasn't that the Gallo strategy? Congrats on copying our greatest enemy.


In fact, my friend Timothy died in '89 -- never did drugs, never took AZT. Similarly, David died in '91, same thing. Both enjoyed an occasional glass of wine with dinner, but didn't smoke or do any drugs. I can assure you though, they died of AIDS. So, the equation DRUGS = AIDS is a little too simplistic -- or outright wrong.


Hold your horses there for one gosh-darned minute, Charlie.

You comparison holds less water than a leaky condom. A presidential press conference and a blog are hardly the same venues, and Mr. Geiger's news report/comment is hardly the authoritarian decree that you make it out.

Lighten up guy.

And if you didn't know by now: "AIDS is" is almost a semantically meaningless construct that allows anyone (25 years after its annoucement) to say any damn thing they want without having to concern themselves for a millisec with scientifically proving anything.

As auntie Gertrude keeps reminding us : There's no there there" - even though there are actually three (an anagram for there, so 'how many there's are there in it'?) as she intended all to notice.


Cool, George. So what did Timothy and David die of then? Hell, there only two of probably over 40 guys I know who died in those years, and our group was not much into drugs.


Yeah, it's like I thought. I watched them cough up foam for days then die of pneumonia. You say they didn't die of AIDS, because they didn't do drugs. So if it wasn't drugs, what was it? Don't guess ya have much to say to that. Cause I see the opinions on this site. But I was there. These guys died of whatever you want to call AIDS, and they didn't do drugs and they were just two of many like them. I get how it works here. My friend told me about this site and we just about laughed our asses off for fear of crying.


As should be easily inferred from what I wrote: According to you, they died of AIDS.

Gezay Gezunct.


well then it sure would make sense for that reporter here, Mr. Geiger, to stop writing things like Drugs = AIDS. Cause that sure doesn't line up with everythign I see. And I'm sorry to not be able to understand the last line of your message, George, but I don't speak any fancy foreign languages.


and george, i don't know what "a semantically meaningless construct" but it sure did kill a lot of guys i did know. seems to me you could use a little lightening up, george. i mean, that's a lot of fancy language. like i said, don't know what it means, but if it's AIDS, then it killed a lot of sweet young men i knew in san fran in the 80s and 90s. and most of them were not into drugs -- but i already said that.


anyway -- sorry to have troubled you with reality, mr. george. but it seems to me like you needed a good dose of it.


Charles wrote:
I can assure you though, they died of AIDS.

And I can assure you they didn't. For the simple reason that nobody dies of Aids. Aids is Immunity deficiency. Which becomes only fatal the day a real bug slips into the organism in the form of an (in this case called "opportunistic") disease.

Now what disease(s) did they have? Because that's the thread you must follow if you want to find the cause of death. And even. Medicine in most cases completely ignores the cause of death through disease because it ignores what is disease. They look at the cells of the liver, the lungs, the arteries, the pancreas. But that's not where it happens. It happens in the brain. It always happens in the brain. Slightly before the fatal missing heart beats.


sorry, you're right. they died of a "semantically meaningless construct" according to george. sorry mr. jspreen. to me it looked like pneumonia, but what do i know? i just took the full buckets of sputum they were coughing up out and got new ones when they filled em.


guess something could have happened in their brains, like you say. but there sure was a lot happening in their lungs.



I have no doubt that what you say is true - that reasonably healthy young to young-ish men, in San Francisco, died horribly in the 80s and 90s.

But what that has to do with the word "AIDS", as in every poor, starving African has "AIDS", the same disease, or series of diseases, drug problems, AZT/drug poisonings, panic, and real illness that swept through the Castro and Mission in the 80s.... Well, nothing that I can find.

And that's the major problem. I've spoken with guys in San Fran who lived through it. The stories are similar to yours - what's often revealed is that some hard hospital drugs got into the mix when the patients were 'diagnosed' with the gay-plague.

Pentamadine, a fungicide used to treat pneumonia in the early days, was _injected into the veins_ of gay men by doctors(!!), with terrible, brutal and fatal results, before vocal complaint and opposition from men in the community got it aerosolized - so at least this caustic drug could have some use against the fungus in the actual lungs...(this was in Philadelphia - my macrobiotic cooking teacher and dear friend was on the front lines of this fight).

The guys I've spoken with in San Fran are so much in the bubble of that experience that it's hard for them, I think, to see beyond the borders of their lives - of whatever thing or things happened there, to that group of men; a sub-culture that lived in defiance of a culture's wish that is simply not exist. A socially isolated group; vulnerable and ostracized, living in a pretty ghetto, but a ghetto nonetheless. And a great many of the guys who got sick were living with a great deal of excess, of drugs, sex, and pharmaceuticals, for a long time.

But, you've said, not all - not all. And so I've been told. And I believe you. And I do not have an answer for that that can be wrapped up with a bow and labelled "duesberg's aids-drug theory" or "single-virus theory". I will say, on the other hand, that AZT did as much harm, and more. This I have been told over and over again, by those who dispute one-cause AIDS, and those who believe in one-cause AIDS.

AZT was a disaster, I've been told, over and over again, by everybody who watched friends and loved ones go on it. You'll also hear the "so-and-so did well for a few months, but then went downhill fast." And maybe there are outliers to this rule too. That's why I say that I would never take the drugs out of anybody's mouth, if they had a chance to review all the information about the paradigm, or they felt better on the drugs.

I'm sorry for your loss and for your suffering. I'm equally or more sorry, perhaps, that the gay community has so desperately and completely turned to the medical authority - those who criminalized homosexuality throughout our histories - turned to these very cruel, very dogmatic reductionists, for salvation.

I wish it weren't so. I wish this discussion weren't polarized in this manner. I think the gay community is in a life-threatening bind. There is no cultural acceptance without AIDS. There is no freedom with AIDS. Tests, drugs, mitigated pain, and earlier death - but with the protection of the 'liberals'... or... early death at the hands of a culture that cannot tolerate your existence. Which do you take...

You may agree or disagree. I appreciate that you shared your stories, even in brief, and in contention. A lot of guys did die horribly. There can be no doubt about that.

I, however, can't blame a single-cause, even in the limited ground of the gay community in San Fran in the 80s, because I've heard too many disparate stories, and read too much clear-eyed and critical writing on the subject that smashes the notion that there was One Single thing at work in all people. I can neither blame a virus, nor homosexuality for this whole artiface we call "AIDS". It is, to me, a profoundly complex issue - what happened then, in the gay community.

What the pharma-medical-industrial complex has done with the memory of this, however, is straightforward as can be - it's pure eugenics. It may be semi-conscious, but open your eyes and you see what it has all-too-easily become: population control and monitoring in Africa; economic destabilization in Asia; market infiltration in countries where we have little sway - and nation-building (in our image) in countries which are too populace with poor blacks, where the environment gives little to support it's numbers.

There's more, but you can read what I've written about at my website, if you wish.


Liam Scheff


Hi Liam -- i don't "blame" a single cause either -- no way. but recreational drugs it wasn't for a lot of these guys and that's what Mr. Geiger's post was about. not fungicides. and since you weren't there, you really should talk more to people who were.


tell ya what, Liam. Since your a reporter and all, why not take this challenge. find 10 gay men between the ages of 45-55 and sit em down and ask them for the names of all the men they knew that died. then ask them if each of those people did drugs, or was sleepin around a lot -- get the details. that's what reporters do, right? they don't make the story up -- they report it. call it the "charles challenge."

Celia Farber

I think the "Charles challenge," is a stellar idea. I adore reporting; Nothing makes me happier. May I partake, or is it only for Liam?

I have been talking to gay men of that generation since 1986. I would like to invite a few of them to share their historical perspectives on this blog. Shall I make it 10, or 5, or how many?


Well, I wasn't in San Francisco, and I'm under Charles' age range by three years. But, if you're interested, Charles, the better portion of my experience in this is posted at Liam's blog. Here's where it can be found.


Hey Charles,

Apparently I've always taken the "Charles Challenge." I just didn't know that's what it was called.

I have been rewarded for it, of course, by having those who refused to investigate the story insinuate that it was essentially a misinterpretation of the evidence. Or that it was (sort of) made up (except it was also true in point of fact - so the message was really: "Hey, don't listen to that guy! He's like, not one of us! He doesn't believe the Truth about AIDS")....but hey, that's the NY Times for you...

Here's that:

and the story in question:

It's worth noting that the Times interviewed my main sources prior to pub'ing their agit-prop, plus received dozens of pages of notes and research from me, as well as a good hour-and-a-half of detailed interview from myself - and reported none of it. (thanks Janny Scott, and Leslie Kaufman, you bleeding corporate shills!)

So, I guess the Times fails the Charles Challenge.

But the truth is, I've done nothing but report what is, and talk to real people about their histories. I always make an attempt to talk with gay men who lived through that era, and hear the details of their story.

How do you think I got into this?

I was mentored in macrobiotics by a man who lived through the era, watched lovers die, as I wrote previously, poisoned to death in hospital. The cooking group he ran for HIV pos men in the early 90s had about 40 people in it. None were on the drugs (AZT at the time).

They were all a little agitated, giving up coffee and sugar, and trying out this whole foods approach to health. But they were all healthy. Jim (that's my friend's name) tells me that out of the group, one fellow started on the drugs a couple years ago. And the rest - doing their thing, but not the pharma thing, and not the dying thing.

When I talk with gay men, I tell them what my biases are, what my perceptions are, and more than often, they agree to a large degree. But there are mysteries, no doubt, remaining in the early AIDS.

I don't think you need me to do that work - the gay community itself should be more interested in reality, than in milking the poisonous 'take your AZT' sympathy from the culture, for what has passed. But they're not. Not in the least, Charles.

So your request is a little disingenuous. That said, like Celia, I love nothing more than to hear the stories of real people. (I also like to debate, of course).

I was going to say - 'why don't you be our first here to tell these stories' but that wouldn't be close to true. I wonder how much of Ian Young you've read? I'd be interested on your take.

Michael Geiger is one of the folks who can tell the story too. You seem to dislike his history, but that's his story. (He's told it more personally in other threads, to be fair. But the post reflects his experience. Maybe he can be persuaded to tell it personally in this one)?

We have some good friends on this side of the equation who have their stories too. You might not like all of what they say, you may find great agreement in the details, but not in the interpretation. Or, you may find common ground.

We're here to open it up, not close it down.

You said, you don't think it's a one-cause thing. Good. That's a reasonable observation, from my point of view. Maybe you'll be able to elaborate on that in future posts.

I personally have lots of stories that I'd like to tell of the people who've spoken with me. But I have found, to my dismay, that the _activist_ gay community doesn't give a damn. Not really, they've got their own agenda, I guess...

So much so that seeing if the government/pharma/culture is trying to kill them, or if they're involved in a death cult, or acting out the largest case of Stockholm Syndrome yet on view - is simply not interesting.

(Well, that's not quite true - there are entire cultures that exhibit the symptoms of conditioned abuse, moving into proactive seeking of abuse in exchange for limited approval in the general culture...)

But you asked for a story? Here's one:

September 2005. Autumn in San Francisco. I was walking on Geary street, near Union Square. This nice little skinny gay guy came up to me (and my friend who I was walking with), and said "Support the AIDS Run?"

I breathed in, and out, and said, "Well, I'm not really a big fan of all the drugs, you know?"

And before I had a chance to be even slightly political, he said, "Oh! I'm not either! I don't take them."

I asked, "what do you mean, you're positive?"

He said, "Yes," while he seemed to be thinking through a list, "almost 20 years," he offered with no lack of pride or curiosity.

My friend and I looked at each other, aware of what we were hearing, a story so lightly told. No drugs, doing fine.

I asked about the drugs - does he think they help or hurt?

I can't remember whether he had ever gone on them. He might have for a short time in the beginning ('but they made me sick, so I stopped.')

I hear that a lot, usually from the less intellectually-driven guys. The less loyal to the paradigm, and more instinctive, even child-like in response to their bodies. 'It makes me sick, I'll stop taking it.'

He said, I believe, that the drugs were pretty tough to take, maybe they helped some people, they had a lot of nasty side effects, really nasty.

"So, why do you think you're doing so well," I asked. "I mean, you seem to be?"

"Well, maybe it's genetic?" he offered. "They don't really know. There are just people who don't get sick!" He said... we wished him well, and good luck, and he was off into the night, to collect money from people for the priviledge of running a race to raise money for pharmaceutical companies....

Bring your stories folks, like you always do.


those were some great comments. i think i'd agree with a lot of what has been written here. bottom line for me is that i can't say what hiv does, so i can't rule it out, or drugs, or genetics, like that one guys said (i've got friends who stopped using the drugs after just a little while too). i think there must be a lot of causes, but i don't think that a lot of gay guys i know rule out hiv -- i mean, what do we know? so, it seems like we agree more than we disagree. but anyone can take the challenge -- and asking for the list of names and about each person's drug taking and other stuff would be a really interesting thing for a reporter to do, i think.


i mean, above, the list of their dead friends. doesn't seem like anyone has done that. and ask about each one -- drug use, promiscuity, etc. all the things people sometimes say about these guys who are gone -- that they were addicts, sex-crazy, always at the baths. i have my own list, of course, and lots of the guys who died weren't like that. they didn't do drugs or visit the baths -- they were in relationships, buried lovers. you all have a point of view, and that point of view doesn't seem to me to speak too well of the dead. maybe you should ask about the dead first, before you make decisions about what they were like, especially since they aren't here anymore to tell their stories here on the web like this.


so, like i'm saying Ms. Farber, it's not about 10 guys telling their stories -- looking here for the stories of the guys who are no longer here to tell their stories. if my experience is similar to other guys in my age group, then each guy migh be able to list 40+ guys. that's a big list and that's a story that speaks for a lot of guys.


course, if you take the challenge, and you collect, say a list of 200 guys, and say not even half of those guys were into drugs or the baths, then what are you gonna believe? are you prepared for that? cause you should be, to take this challenge.


and Liam my young friend, have to say that some of your articles -- well, it's like they have a conclusion and then you line up some facts to go with that conclusion. seems differen that Ms. Farber, who i know cause she goes way back with all this. I remember her articles in Spin -- we read them. She always told facts, and then the conclusion just sort of came out of those facts. Maybe it's maturity or something, but you could learn a thing or two from Ms. Farber. she really knows the history, and she knows how to tell it too.

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