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AIDS: people remembered
December 1, 2003 6:46 AM   Subscribe


 
freddy: a champion of the world.
posted by quonsar at 6:48 AM on December 1, 2003


I miss Kim Burch and his wonderful laugh. There will always be a space in the air where he used to be.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:50 AM on December 1, 2003


beautiful post, madameJ. I found gail farrow's story particularly touching.
posted by mdn at 7:08 AM on December 1, 2003


Any post mentioning Freddie Mercury should include Kenny Everett...
posted by twine42 at 7:21 AM on December 1, 2003


I had a high school english teacher--one of those "mentor"-types you see in the movies, except this guy was real. Were it not for him, I would be someone very different today.

He died of pneumonia, in his late 40s, the year I graduated high school. That was 1988, so AIDS was never mentioned as the cause, but many of us simply assumed.

Anyway, today, I remember Frank.
posted by jpoulos at 7:21 AM on December 1, 2003


I don't know anyone personally, but that doesn't mean I can't remember them.
posted by aramaic at 7:48 AM on December 1, 2003


David Wojnarowicz
posted by the fire you left me at 7:49 AM on December 1, 2003


Remembering Lives
posted by anastasiav at 7:52 AM on December 1, 2003


Robbin Crosby. Maybe not the coolest or most important person to think of, but i liked his music and he's a reminder that AIDS can strike anywhere and anyone.
posted by jonmc at 8:10 AM on December 1, 2003


Public Lives: Greg Louganis, whom I've always admired.

Private Lives: Mark G., who taught me everything I needed to know about living a gay life in a straight world.
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:04 AM on December 1, 2003


Isaac Asimov is sorely missed.
posted by seanyboy at 9:06 AM on December 1, 2003


klaus nomi, one of the first public faces to fall in 1983
his albums only hint at greatness, as all the best songs were surronded by meaningless kitsch.
posted by klik99 at 10:11 AM on December 1, 2003


Isaac Asimov

Whoah. I had no idea. (Must go read Janet Asimov's book now...)

For a man so devoted to truth and rationality and science, it seems that even Isaac was affected by the irrational superstition and stigma surrounding AIDS to the point where he didn't want to talk about his own medical condition. That says a lot, about both Asimov and AIDS.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:27 AM on December 1, 2003


...especially since Asimov talked and wrote about everything else.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:28 AM on December 1, 2003


"It was recently revealed by Dr. Asimov's widow, Dr. Janet Jeppson Asimov, in the new biography It's Been a Good Life, that his death was in fact due to AIDS. In 1983 he had triple bypass surgery and received blood transfusions containing HIV. (Ironic that the city he loved was the cause of his death; doubtless nowhere else in the United States had a higher incidence of HIV in the blood supply than New York at that time.) As Dr. Jeppson Asimov states, after his triple bypass "the next day he had a high fever... only years later, in hindsight, did we realize that the post transfusion HIV infection had taken hold." In the mid-Eighties Dr. Jeppson Asimov noted that her husband had some AIDS symptoms and brought them to the attention of his internist and cardiologist, who pooh-poohed and refused to test him. He was finally tested in February of 1990, prior to further surgery, when he presented HIV-positive with his T cells half the normal level. The astonishing fact of Dr. Asimov's AIDS was kept secret at the advice of his physicians - they apparently strong-armed him in his sickbed with the threat that his wife would be shunned as a suspected PWA as well. The secret was kept not till after Dr. Asimov's death in 1992, nor till after the death of his widow and daughter (indeed they are still alive), but till after the deaths of his physicians (see Dr. Jeppson Asimov's letter to Locus magazine). You can draw your own conclusions, but that makes me feel that it was primarily the physicians' reputations that were being protected by this secret."
Isaac Asimov's Thyroid Cancer Story
posted by madamjujujive at 10:42 AM on December 1, 2003


Richard Hunt. John Holmes (I didn't feel like sifting through the sure-fire porn mess on Google to find a link. You know who he is.)
posted by item at 10:50 AM on December 1, 2003


Roy Cohn is an incredibly poor choice of stricken celeb for these purposes
posted by Fupped Duck at 10:50 AM on December 1, 2003


That Asimov didn't reveal his illness and that his family hid the cause of his death for ten years is shocking, given Asimov's scientific and humanist background. Plus, he was usually so candid abot his health matters--I remember reading a description he once wrote about what passing a kidney stone feels like (owie ow ow). His silence was therefore not only out of character for him, but it had active negative repercussions in that it perpetuated the myth that only gays and druggies get AIDS. A word from someone like Asimov with his background, stature, and talent--his scientifically-minded columns! more of his hundreds of books! a plea for research funding!--in the years prior to his death could have made a world of difference. His doctors deserve to have their names know for being such condescending and manipulative assholes, but I'm afraid that even the Good Doctor himself deserves a Bronx Cheer for this one.
posted by Asparagirl at 11:09 AM on December 1, 2003


beautiful, sweet david.
posted by t r a c y at 11:22 AM on December 1, 2003


Don't forget Pedro Zamora, from The Real World: San Francisco.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:46 AM on December 1, 2003


Re: Asimov: now that the secret's out concerning his AIDS affliction, it strikes me that there might be something to be found regarding it in his last novel, Forward the Foundation, which was full of coded references to his own life (some of the characters had names that were anagrams of names of longtime friends, etc.) I haven't read that book since it came out in hardcover, though--the only thing I remember with certainty is that it's extremely depressing.

I have an issue of Asimov's Magazine from the early '90s, with a serialized installment of Forward the Foundation published in it, along with an accompanying foreword from Asimov: in it he frankly discusses the fact that he is ill, along with his symptoms, and says that he isn't certain that he'll be able to finish the book. But I think he just refers to "complications" from heart surgery--at any rate, he certainly doesn't call out his disease by name.
posted by Prospero at 12:13 PM on December 1, 2003


Today, I'm remembering my friend Russ.
posted by Vidiot at 12:21 PM on December 1, 2003


Roy Cohn is an incredibly poor choice of stricken celeb for these purposes

Not at all. If nothing else, his inclusion points out the biting, bitter hypocrisy of the world's sexual politics.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:39 PM on December 1, 2003


Roy Cohn is an incredibly poor choice of stricken celeb for these purposes

I find his story fascinating (if sickening) and I think it ought to be told. If inspiring sympathy for AIDS sufferers is the "purpose" you had in mind for this post, I see what you mean. But I think there are lots of folks out there who need to hear that no matter how white and conservative you are, you are still vulnerable.

As much of an asshole as Cohn appears to have been, I still pity him, and see no poetic justice in his sickness and subsequent death.
posted by scarabic at 12:41 PM on December 1, 2003


Really? I do.
posted by item at 12:57 PM on December 1, 2003


More like poetic hellfire retribution. No one deserves AIDS.
posted by scarabic at 1:10 PM on December 1, 2003


Yesterday I saw Sale & Pelletier ice skate to Queen's Who Wants To Live Forever and thought of Mr. Mercury. What a set of pipes. What a gift his talent and his life are to the world. Forever is our today. His music makes him immortal.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:28 PM on December 1, 2003


Today (as with every day) I remember Cathy.
posted by annathea at 1:41 PM on December 1, 2003


RIP Freddie.

The boy had a way with words, he sang, he moved with grace
He entertained so naturally, no gesture out of place
His road in life was clearly drawn, he didn't hesistate
He played, they saw, he conquered as the master of his fate.


And Robert Reed.
posted by Oriole Adams at 1:46 PM on December 1, 2003


Thanks madamjjj.

Private Life-- Jim, co-worker and friend who died 7 yrs. ago last week. An example of why I believe in physician assisted suicide, as he starved for several weeks, conscious until almost the end, before his body let him go. Barbaric and not the way this sweet man should have spent his last weeks.
posted by lobakgo at 1:48 PM on December 1, 2003


It is a tragedy that has struck all of us, those who remember an actual person, and those who feel the empathy for those who survive. Nobody on the planet is untouched by this virus...nobody is 100% safe. It is an armegeddon waged on the cellular level...and it's cure is less important to the pharmaceutical companies than keeping the victims on an expensive cocktail of delayed death.

Today, I light the candles for the forgotten victims...the children who die in villages we've never heard of, the mothers and fathers who bring flowers to a grave, the sisters and brothers who miss the voice they've known all their lives, the lovers who weep alone. Tonight, let us all hold those we love to our hearts and pray for a cure.
posted by dejah420 at 2:08 PM on December 1, 2003


Dejah, that was beautifully and perfectly put. In memory of my beloved cousin, friend and confidante Craig, who I still miss every damned day, thank you.
posted by Dreama at 2:50 PM on December 1, 2003


My friend Dougal.
posted by Dome-O-Rama at 6:26 PM on December 1, 2003


David, who I barely knew. With full hands, I give you lilies.
posted by eilatan at 7:00 PM on December 1, 2003


Excellent post. I'm remembering tennis great Arthur Ashe and all he did for the sport . . . as well as Freddie Mercury.

Wonderful post, Dejah. It's just too bad it takes a day of remembrance for us to remember that very idea.
posted by somethingotherthan at 7:29 PM on December 1, 2003


public: Vito Russo
private: everyone I knew (whole crowds of people) who stopped having birthdays in their late teens and early 20s
posted by amberglow at 7:29 PM on December 1, 2003


Great sentiments, dejah, thanks!

I keep reading over the names that people post here - I am finding the one line heartfelt tributes quite poignant.

Fupped Duck, I chose the Cohn link especially to emphasize the irony and the contradiction of his demise. Not to give him tribute, but simply to acknowledge that the disease is no respecter of politics or denial.

Asparagirl, it was a different time back then - there was so much denial, paranoia and fear. Perhaps Asimov was trying to protect his family - there was a lot of shunning and ignorance going on back then. Some of the articles that Mo Nickels linked in his excellent post point out the impact of such social ostracism.

Which reminds me that I neglected to acknowledge Randy Shilts whose book did so much to open my eyes.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:00 PM on December 1, 2003


David Wojnarowicz.
posted by ifjuly at 8:33 PM on December 1, 2003


Today I'm remembering Bill, and his mother and caretaker Ruth.

My mother works in a hospital lab in Wichita and remembers the first AIDS patient they had there. The way he was treated by the terrified nurses (Mom never takes blood samples, but I think they called her in to do this one because no one else was willing) and his own bigoted parents (he'd come home to die and they wouldn't even visit him) convinced her to volunteer to work with AIDS patients in her spare time. Bill was the first patient she was paired with. He caught HIV from a blood transfusion in the early 80s. Mom witnessed the first generation of deaths and has sadly watched a second generation of deaths in this last year--many people she'd known since the mid 80s for whom the meds simply didn't work anymore.

My prayers are with her friend Mark, whose health is deteriorating lately. He's one of the most remarkable people I've met. Outwardly, he insists that this is simply a valley on the rollercoaster he's been on for over a decade. Only once did he candidly tell Mom, "I've seen everyone else die. I know exactly what's happening to me," before changing the topic. My hope is that this Christmas will not be his last.
posted by katieinshoes at 9:34 PM on December 1, 2003


I lost a lot of people in the 80s and 90s, yet I've lost none since '96. We've become complacent in a way, and our sense of loss is dulled.

So, if you don't mind, I'm going to bring it back a little ... with names:

Mark, Marc, Ronny, Joseph, Chase, Guy, Mike, Merritt, Jane, Jack, Sandy, Guy, Bruce, Ben, Will, Eric, Steve, Jackie, Jing-Kai, Erik, Markus, Chris, Jim, Andy, Eric, Bill Don, Ian, George, Scott, Russell, Andrew, Keiko, Jose, Bull, Ron, Joe, Norman, Albert, Steven, John, Christine, Stephen, Ross, Angelo, Jim, Stan, Gil, Thomas, Reuben, Augusta Wind, Sammy, Kyle, Grady, Bill, Joseph, Mike, Holly, Maria, Eric, Carl, Dan, John, Sandy, Greg, John, Jerry, Tim, David, William, Jose, Takashi, Susan, M, Laurie, Coach "Z", Tom, Kathie, Star (like "movie star"), Alba, Johnny, Harry, Kenyon, Stanley, Tom, Bill, Jan, Steve, Jim, Andy, Sherry, Big Big James, Marcus, Chris, Tony, Ethan, Dan, Richard, William, Dylan, Steve, Mike, Jim, Redheaded Steve, Julio, Aaron, Brent, Rick, Lisa but say it like Liza, Sammy, Mike, Bill, John, King, Nancy, Brandon, Josh, Terry, Jamie, Keith, J. R., Jason, Cute Boy Rick, Bob, Bill, Gerald, Ben, Michael, Phil, William, Steve, Ron and Jerry.
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:14 PM on December 1, 2003 [1 favorite]


Dad.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:16 PM on December 1, 2003


Here's a list of other musicians who have died of AIDS. The most ironic one on the list is probably Jermaine Stewart, known for the 1980s pro-abstinence dance hit, "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off."
posted by jonp72 at 3:18 AM on December 2, 2003


Bruce Chatwin.
posted by plep at 10:50 AM on December 2, 2003


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