NO OSCARS FOR “HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE”
Catalyst April Issue 2013
In their classic work After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s, Marshall Kirk and Hudson Madsen, both homosexual, said that most of the gay community’s problems involve a rejection of morality. The most common effect was narcissism. It’s the only word to explain their reaction to AIDS: it was everyone’s fault but theirs. Anyone doubting this should watch the Oscar-nominated documentary “How to Survive a Plague,” by David France, a talented gay writer. Mayor Ed Koch, ever honest, accuses ACT-UP of using “fascist tactics.” These were evident when ACT-UP members rushed St. Patrick’s Cathedral in December 1989, disrupting Mass, spitting the Eucharist on the floor, stopping people from going to Communion. The film shows some of this.
Ann Northrop led the charge, saying: “We want everybody to join us, to support us, to destroy the power of the Catholic Church. They are all murderers.” Protesters are shown in St. Pat’s screaming, “You’re killing us. Stop it.”
Though the movie was made to garner admiration, it falls far short of this goal. It does elicit pity, especially for off-the-wall activist Ray Navarro, who often dressed up as Jesus. The footage of his dying days in a wheelchair is truly moving. Knowing he was finished, he says, “There are many years to come. Let’s hope. So, what the hell—life is worth living. Isn’t it?” Sadly, he died at 46.