- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Pagan Press (January 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0943742102
- ISBN-13: 978-0943742106
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,978,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The AIDS Cult: Essays on the gay health crisis
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Reviewed by Mark K. Anderson. In 1942, American physiologist Walter B. Cannon wrote about a phenomenon he called "voodoo death". In his essay of the same name, Cannon detailed anthropological accounts of Aboriginal tribes whose doctors have the power to kill errant tribe members merely by pointing a bone at the offender. The condemned believes in the power of the shaman's curse, and within a matter of hours or days dutifully dies as prescribed. In The AIDS Cult, gay rights activist and HIV/AIDS dissident John Lauritsen has compiled a compelling group of 10 essays on the "bone-pointing" aspects of the AIDS epidemic. All the authors present cause for doubting the HIV=AIDS=death formula. Some question the first equals sign, some the second equals sign, some both. As co-editor Ian Young writes in his introduction to the book, "All [contributors] agree that the orthodox view of our protracted health crisis -- as a highly infectious contagion from without -- has been found wanting, and that we must seek the causes of this and other medical dilemmas in our own society, our own assumptions, our group-fantasies, our regimens, our recreations and our rituals." --Springfield Advocate, 20 March 1997
Reviewed by Henry H. Bauer The present collection of essays takes as a medical given that HIV=AIDS is wrong and considers psycho-social and psychosomatic factors. The discussions are relevant to psychosomatic illness, social psychology, faith-healing, alternative medicine. Lauritsen's chapter II, "Psychological and toxicological causes of AIDS", briefly reviews salient points made in his earlier writings: that "HIV infection" is diagnosed by presence of antibodies, which in other diseases is taken as a sign of immunization; that it is only a small sub-set of gay men that seem at special risk for AIDS; that this small sub-set is known to have typically suffered recurring sexually-transmitted diseases, treatment and over-treatment with antibiotics, and high use of alcohol, tobacco and "recreational" drugs including the "poppers" that are almost certainly the prime cause of Kaposi's sarcoma.... Michael Ellner & Andrew Cort, in "Programmed to die: cultural hypothesis & AIDS", (Chapter VI) remind us that people in Africa, Australia, and Haiti indubitably do die when they have been marked for death by voodoo or by bone-pointing. It is then chilling to read the following chapter, in which Cass Mann describes "Deadly counsels: the necrophiliacs of 'AIDS'": how following the advice of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, innumerable "counselors" urge their clients to prepare for death as soon as they have tested HIV-positive! ... "Being a gay man today in a commercial gay culture is in and of itself a toxic and dangerous condition": for gay "liberation" led to infantile excesses; a life-style inappropriate for adults became the cultural norm, and now there's added a supposedly incurable virus that makes living beyond 40 or so in any case moot.... Chapter IX is by Michael Callen who survived a dozen years after a diagnosis of AIDS (note, not just HIV antibodies). He makes this unfamiliar but crucial point: "The activists only seem to talk about two possible outcomes to taking an experimental drug: one is that it works and the other is that it doesn't work. But there is a third, much more common possibility, which is that you will be worse off than if you did nothing at all" (p. 186).... The last chapter by Ian Young returns to some chilling psychological facts, notably "a psychological epidemic among uninfected gay men" (p. 188). They suffer "survivor's guilt": "in today's breezy, out-of-the-closet gay ghetto, HIV Negative men tend to be profoundly clinically depressed, anxious, disoriented, hypochondriacal, uncertain about the future, sexually dysfunctional, deeply demoralized and psychically numb" (p. 189). --Journal of Scientific Exploration, Autumn 1997
About the Author
John Lauritsen is a retired survey research analyst. He has been active in Gay Liberation since the summer of 1969. His books include The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein (2007), A Freethinker's Primer of Male Love (1998) and The AIDS War (1993). Ian Young is a poet living in Toronto. He has been active in Gay Liberation since the 1960s, as an activist, writer and publisher. Among his many books are The Stonewall Experiment (1995) and The AIDS Dissidents: An annotated bibliography (1993).