I read with great irritation Larry Kramer’s recent diatribe [January 14] regarding the movie Philadelphia. Kramer’s principal objection to the film appears to be that it was made by persons who seem to know too little about the subject matter to treat it honestly. Not being homosexual and having not yet seen the movie, I cannot dispute his characterization of it. As a person who has been involved in scientific research for more than a dozen years, however, I can say with certainty that like Philadelphia’s creators, Kramer also speaks (writes) of what he knows not of. I refer specifically to his charges that America under three successive administrations has essentially ignored the AIDS epidemic, making the gay community the victim of “intentional genocide.” The fact is that considerable sums have been and are being spent on the search for a cure for AIDS. (Some have argued, in fact, that the amount spent is disproportionately large when compared to spending on, for example, breast cancer research, when the number of victims is considered.) Implicit in most complaints about the lack of progress toward a cure for AIDS is the notion that by doubling the amount of money directed toward AIDS research, we can arrive at a cure in half the time. Unfortunately, research of any kind, let alone on a disease as complex as AIDS, rarely works this way, a fact lost on the many dullards (those for whom a colonoscopy apparently is a form of brain surgery) who feel compelled to accuse those outside the gay community of purposeful genocide.
By disagreeing with Mr. Kramer, I undoubtedly run the risk of being labeled by some as part of homophobic middle America. If I must be labeled, however, I would prefer “homonauseous,” a word I have coined to describe those of us who are sick of the flatulence emanating from the “all the straights wish we were dead” conspiracy theorists in the gay community.
M.L. Dietz, Ph.D.