Thursday, February 21, 2008

Close to the Knives

So, today I get my usual email update (spam) from Vice mag, included in their do's and dont's is a picture of a young AM'd out hipster with the quote "There isn’t much more of a DO than looking like a freshly reincarnated David Wojnarowicz (but this time around without the AIDS)", and I just thought - hmmm, really, Vice? Do you wanna go there with me?" Lord knows they've said worse (wayyyy, wayyyy worse) but this comes off as praise for an artist they've given little thought to.
Wojnarowicz had an anger that is still apparent today and while he seems a bit didadatic (I had watched a short film in the Butt Shorts festival this past November and the film techniques were dated, and thus it did seem to drag), it's all still relevant. Homophobia and AIDs are still tearing through America like a divisive knife, being used by the angry right to drive up votes and justify hate-crimes like the outrageous death of Lawrence King (as boys will be boys).
Wojnarowicz was angry - he took the downtown NY art scene to the death and disease that was killing his peers, the gay bashings that were happening with regularity throughout the crime-ridden city (and not acknowledged) and showed them how bad it was... I had his NEA picture (the one w/where his lips were sewn shut), on my college dorm-room door in protest of censorship. I admired his honesty, his fire and fight with the AFA with his virtually last breath.
So -- when a stupid hipster journal decides the look is "Wojnarowicz without the AIDS", it's like the "Think Different" campaign from Apple back in 97: Too stupid to be heresy. It just makes me wanna call the cultural authorities and have their 'irony license' revoked is all.


Ailed LittleKnight said...

I was just looking for voices to speak out on this blog:

There is a topic about HIV. Please take a look...

JD said...

Thanks - I appreciate the opportunity. I'll be sure to look/possibly comment. Actually, this post has less to do on HIV than on the cultural appropriation of radical gay politics (although I agree - this comes at a time when a resurgence of the epidemic is all too tolerated in the community).