Memory, History, and a Pillar of Salt

Tucker, Scott

Publisher:  Counterpunch
Date Written:  02/07/2019
Year Published:  2019  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23741

A personal memoir about art and history in the early days of AIDS and ACT UP.




Akhmatova has been in my personal pantheon since I first read her work, just around the time I first I met my husband in 1975. Both events illuminate each other in memory. I was 20 then and he was 32. The storm and stress of the 1960s had subsided, but that storm had washed away some public lies and some common ground was bearing fruit. The Stonewall Rebellion of 1969 had not been the beginning of queer resistance, but it was a clear sign that queers also belonged to a rebel generation....

My guy and I are white and now solidly middle-class. As for the presentation of self in everyday life—and a tip of the hat here to the sociologist Erving Goffman—we can pass as straight but are not enchanted by this kind of performance art. In 1975 we still had great hopes that this country might go from change to change, and in the general direction of sanity and solidarity. And plenty of changes came, but the public climate included some truly ugly weather on the horizon. The church crusaders were becoming a true political power by the end of the decade, and by 1981 Reagan was in the White House.
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