Jan Zita Grover would move from San Francisco to Minnesota and produce a meditation upon landscape and grieving … North Enough: AIDS and Other Clear-Cuts. But before that migration, she contributed a review of the discursive counters set down by actors in the unfolding of the social and medical story of AIDS. She did this in “AIDS: Keywords” with acknowledgement to borrowing the form from Raymond Williams. The piece appeared in an earlier version in October 43 (1988) and revised form in The State of the Language edited by Christopher Ricks and Leonard Michaels (1990).
Here are the keywords:
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
AIDS … The Disease
Condone [the verb condone not the noun condom]
PWA (Person with AIDS)
War on AIDS
Reminds me that collectively those affected took a crash course in science and forced clear direction on using words in all their explicit glory to protect people and fight demonization. At this remove in time I learnt something that escaped us in Canada; in California a senate bill was sponsored to legalize the “creation of designated-donor pools to keep donated blood within families so as to prevent transmission of HIV from anonymous donors to “the general population.”” Turns out
Evidence of how much more problematic real American families are comes from a recent State of Washington study that found directed-donation blood (that is blood donated by a family member or other designated donor) had a higher rate of HIV infection than randomly assigned donations. So much for the family as bulwark against the coming chaos.
If the tone is sharp it betrays the urgency of the times and the constant struggle against stigma and paranoia. Repeated statement of the facts is the tactic that Grover excels at. Take the evidence on safe sex practices by sex workers.
in the long-term study of sexually active women (professionally and nonprofessionally) conducted by Project AWARE at San Francisco General Hospital, for example, the incidence of HIV infection among non-intravenous-drug-using sex-industry workers was lower than it was among nonprofessional, non-intravenous-drug-using women. The difference is accounted for by prostitutes’ widespread demand that clients use condoms, something that most nonprofessional women do not demand of their sexual partners. Other U.S. and European studies that distinguish between prostitutes who use intravenous drugs and those who do not have produced similar findings.
Churches. Africa. Rates of Condom Use. — other contexts, other keywords; same science.
And so for day 1516