Comments: I respectfully disagree.*

Or she could have lived to a ripe, healthy old age, surrounded by children, grandchildren, friends, and a loving spouse.

She might yet. She was recently exposed and quickly diagnosed, so the odds are that current treatments could keep her from developing full-blown AIDS for years, and the continuing work on HIV/AIDS suggests that even longer-term cures, or other solutions, might be developed. I'm not saying that it's a no-harm event, but she's not dead yet, either.

And I wholeheartedly agree that the disjunction between sexual shame and popular violent entertainment is quite striking and troubling. What would a society be like that appreciated healthy sexuality and sensuality but was revolted by violence? Sounds pretty good to me, actually. Probably resolve a lot of our other contradictions in the process.

Posted by Jonathan Dresner at May 6, 2004 03:25 AM

Doesn't sound bad to me, either -- save for the fact that we might all quibble about what constituted "healthy" sexuality.

And I relish your disagreements, please do, however, feel free to call me Hugo. Not even my students call me Dr. Schwyzer...

Posted by Hugo at May 6, 2004 09:26 AM

I thought, since I was dissing your premise, I should be polite about it, Hugo. :)

And I think we might have fewer disagreements about "healthy sexuality" than you expect. Just because we're starting at different places doesn't mean our goals might not be similar.

And I'd much rather be "quibbling" over the nuances of balance in establishing "healthy sexuality" in our society than dealing with the aftermath of our fascination with violence.

Jonathan, I know the "violence in entertainment" topic is one that's under debate. And it's not up to Hollywood or the television industry to define our morality for us, so I don't actually blame them for providing what the public wants to see. They're in the business to make money, after all.

It's what the fascination with extreme violence says about our culture that worries me.

Posted by Anne at May 6, 2004 10:31 AM

Couple of thoughts on this... I heard a radio interview with a medical professional who cares for those in the Adult Film industry, who commented that part of the problem with the spread of disease is that the producers of these films seem to think that their audiences don't like to see condoms used, so they don't. Pretty stupid, considering what is known about passing STDs.

Second thought, I find it distressing that this is only news when it's the "straight" Adult Film industry involved. Unhappily, HIV has been around the gay film industry for a long time, but no one seems to see that as news. OTOH, at least in the gay films they use condoms...

Posted by Dail at May 6, 2004 12:23 PM

The gay porn community has a keener sense of responsibility to their viewers than the straight porn community. They were hit harder by Aids when it appeared and they acted as a group to respond.

That's because the gay community isn't hung up on pretending no one is actually having sex. Since they're not pretending they aren't doing it, they have less trouble discussing safety. (And now we're back to the part of my rant that deals with this country's unhealthy attitude toward sex, aren't we?)

I'm on the verge of going off on a tangent about "populations" and group identity and how it functions (or doesn't) in this country today, but maybe not just at this moment.

Posted by Anne at May 6, 2004 12:37 PM

Jonathan - I've been musing over your comment and on the off chance you revisit this thread, let me ask you for an opinion.

What do you suppose the odds are that our increasing fixation on violence has at its roots, at least in part, the attempted repression of our sex drives?

It's something that occurred to me a couple of years ago, but it's all tangled up with a lot of other aspects of contemporary society and I never quite got around to the research.

Posted by Anne at May 6, 2004 12:40 PM

I think it would be more likely that both have their root in patriarchy: the need for control.... but I'll think about it and get back to you.

Posted by Jonathan Dresner at May 6, 2004 12:44 PM