write about one of the texts for the fabulous blog number nine
You are so cool! I don’t think I’ve truly read through something like that before. So great to find another person with some genuine thoughts on this subject. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is something that’s needed on the web, someone with some originality!
Times Square Red, Times Square Blue is a book based on the changes of time square from old to new. The old Times Square is spoken about in the first essay of the book. It was all about the sexual encounters of gay and straight people, friendships and families. The community all together was like one big family. Everyone cared for each other and looked out for one another. Just because someone lived on the street didn’t make them some crazy person. The homeless were treated the same way as everyone else. They were invited into people’s homes to bathe and eat. What happened in the theaters, took me by surprise. I never thought Times Square was ever a place like that. People, mainly men, would sit in the theaters, which played pornography, and masturbate or perform sexual acts on each other; even straight men did things with gay men. Everything and everyone was accepted in the theaters.
The new Times Square, essay two, is the Times Square that I am familiar with. Where everyone is rushing through or just going to the theatre to see a big production play. Today, the majority of Times Square’s population is filled with tourists. No one really interacts and everyone stays to themselves. The family essence of Times Square is gone. There is no community or places for the local people to gather.
While reading Time Square Red Time Square Blue by Samuel Delaney, I was completely surprised by how Time Square used to be. I had never heard of the old Time Square having so many porn shops and theaters. I never even knew that there was such a thing as “old Time Square”, I had always figured that Time Square was the same as it is now with just different stores and more small businesses. I would have never expected the streets to be filled with porn theaters. The idea of people coming to a movie theater to watch porn, and masturbate in public is something that seems completely strange and awkward. For many people this gave someone that did not belong and fit in a place to go where they could fit in with the public. An example of this would be the master masturbator, he only fit in in the old Time Square, once the theaters closed down he did not have a place to go where he fit in. Another thing I thought to be strange was the fact that during the old Times Square men would let other men pleasure them even if they were not homosexual and did not care. They felt that they did not care because they were in fact not gay. Now a days that would typically never happen. Even though a lot of people would say that they are not homophobes, many people are not alright with two men being together let alone committing a sexual act. An example of this would be the fact that North Carolina did not pass the amendment for same sex marriage.
Samuel R. Delany’s Times Square Red, Times Square Blue, is about Delany’s experiences living in Manhattan before and after the Times Square Development Project. For Delany, Times Square offered a place where people could cross racial, economic, emotional and sexual boundaries. Delany believed it was a place where humans could be themselves, even if and sometimes that meant being messy and inconvenient. Outsiders viewed the 42nd Street Area as dangerous and immoral because of its range of hustlers, porn theathers, and its acceptance of sex.
In the first essay, Delany writes about the experiences in and around 42nd Street Porn Theathers. He writes about the social dynamics of his surroundigns, looking specifically at gay sexual relations their connections with drugs, violence, AIDS, women, “maddness, pleasure and sense of family.” He writes about Ben who shines his shoes and uses “sexual harrasment and protestsions of admiration” to pick up women. Delany seems to be intrigued by the boundaries of sexual discource that Ben effortlessly crosses and returns.
I find it interesting that Delany combines two different approaches in part’s 1 and 2 of Times Square Red Times Square Blue. In part 1, Delany is obviously retelling the stories and experiences of the people he associated with in the Times Square that existed in the 90s. He speaks to his readers as if he were sitting with them at the dining room table while sipping coffee. He is informative and intelligent, yet casual in his tone which I believe allows for some of the vulgar nature that was performed to be set aside in order to look at the bigger picture. The bigger picture is this: Times Square was once an escape for the men (gay and straight) who society shunned. It was a place for them to express themselves and release the energies that they were being denied by the general public. I suppose this is the sugarcoated way of explaining a porn theater, but if I’m being honest, when Delany first starts getting into the nitty gritty details of the theaters and the sexual world within them, I was turned off by how freely Delany speaks of the actions and nature of the men, but I slowly began to understand that he is speaking honestly and, unlike myself, does not sugarcoat anything.
In part 2, Delany shifts his tone to that of a lecturing professor who is gently demanding your attention. He first captures my attention in part 1 by making me care about the old Times Square enough to keep continuing through to find out what is actually going to happen. And what actually happens is the Times Square I know and grew up with. I would never walk into Times Square on my own and know that there were once small businesses and porn theaters in locations that are now overrated tourist attractions and stores. I understand that change is necessary and good especially when the people and points of view are changing, but I think there should have been more compassion towards the porn theaters from the wealthy business men who wanted to make these changes. These theaters weren’t just for casual sexual encounters; they were homes and safe havens for men who just wanted to have a space where they could act in ways they felt were natural and not worry about whether or not it was politically correct. I’d really like to know what happened to all of the men Delany interacted with, but I think it’s safe to assume we’ll never know.
The tragedy of the AIDS epidemic is not only that it has taken so many lives, or that no cure has been found, but how the government had done nothing to help understand or even try to deal with the disease in the correct manner in the beginning years of the outbreak of HIV/AIDS. While it was in the beginning years, HIV/AIDS had been knowns as the “gay cancer”, creating a stigma that has since never truly went away. Although the majority of people who contracted the disease were homosexual men, the true nature of the disease does not discriminate, it can, and will affect anyone regardless of sexual orientation, race, religion, or gender. Even after the first case of a hemophiliac boy from Ohio, Ryan White, not homosexual, had made national headlines, the fact that this disease could affect anyone never came to a national realization. The most disastrous thing about how the epidemic was dealt with was that it wasn’t. During the Reagan years, it was never even discussed, only at the end of his presidency did Reagan actually acknowledge AIDS. The country during the 1980s stigmatized the disease so much so that they let it go without help, almost as if it were a sign that they hoped it would wipe out all homosexuals and then would just go away.
Feinberg’s Queer and Loathing is a heartbreaking look at the life of a man who is HIV positive in a world where not only was he looked down upon for being homosexual, but shunned because of his health. He comes to the realization that he can no longer enjoy the lifestyle he had become accustomed to, even within the homosexual community he was ostracized from. His biggest most upsetting realization within Queer and Loathing, is that even the government, elected officials working supposedly for the people, wouldn’t help him, and would rather let him die then give him the help he needed.
Times Square Red Times Square Blue was a very interesting book to read. Delany gave a lot of information and detail about Times Square during the 70s to 90s and I mean in extreme detail. It like when people say you want to look away but you can’t. That’s how I felt reading the book. I never thought Times Square was ever different than was it is today. I was born in 1989, so by the time I actually went to Times Square and remember it; it became what it is today. I asked my parents since they have been here for 29 years, if they remember anything about it. My dad, who works on 47th and Broadway said it just was not a ”good” area and he watched it change through out the years. In the mornings and afternoon, it was not so bad since there were a lot of people around, but at night you would see a lot of homeless people since the streets with die down from people walking.
When I first read part one, I just understood that it was a community where people would accept one another. Homeless people and gays were accepted and helped by the people of the community. After our class discussion, I understood it as a place that belonged to them. It was a place where they can go to, but now it is lost. You never really see anyone now days helping a homeless person or even look at them, which is sad.
After reading the first part of “Time Square Red Time Square Blue,” I honestly have to say that I had never been surprised by the image this book gives off in my mind. From reading the title alone, I would have never expected the content to be the way it is. So far, the book talks about how Time Square and how it was about thirty years ago. The class was expected to think about how the community was like after the city went through construction and change. When I observed how life was like in the Time Square area back then, I would never have expected the that specific area to be the host of many porn theaters. I was most surprised by the amount of attraction porn theaters had on people and how long men would stay whether they were straight or gay. It was interesting how even straight men didn’t mind being watch by gay men. In today’s society, even the slightest stare from a gay man to a straight man would cause a stir among them. The image Time Square projected by the book was more like a safe haven for people from many different backgrounds to come and do whatever it is they want to do which brings up the topic of acceptance. More people in the past were able to accept one another as they were in those porn theaters. Comparing the life style of the past to today’s society, people are less likely to accept one another as they are.
Samuel Delany describes a Times Square I haven’t heard of or even known had existed in Times Square Red Times Square Blue. As I was reading part one the only thing I could focus on was how does this connect to the Times Square I know today. Well, after the class discussion I felt like the Times Square we all know today has changed and become much more harsher than what it used to be. Times Square in the 80’s and 90’s was all about building friendships among different classes of people whether it be poor or not and about making a living and living as a community. The Times Square I know today has no place for the poor and has mostly become an attraction site for tourist and only tourist. While reading part one, I also found it to be quite disturbing because normally I’m not used to hearing or reading about gay and straight men watch each other masturbate and prostitutes engaging in sexual acts in public or in theaters rather. Most of these places have closed down and became movie theaters and corporation buildings. Its so amazing how fast and how quickly a neighborhood could change in just a matter of a years. I would prefer the old Times Square rather than the one we know today for the simple fact that no one was being judged or questioned in anything they did and everyone lived as friends. Times Square has definitely changed and if I hadn’t read this book, I would of never imagined or thought of Times Square being any different.
Times Square Red Times Blue by Samuel Delany fascinated me because in the book he discusses topics that people normally don’t publicly speak about. Yes people talk about sex, but not the way he does in the book. It was interesting reading and learning about what used to be in Times Square in the 60’s-80’s like the gay cinemas and porn sites. It also interested me how they took the steps to ‘clean up’ the streets to make it a safer place for families and tourists. I think about how it would be today if Times Square was taken over by the places that Delany talks about, and I cannot imagine it. Today those things are not as accepted and as much as I feel they should be, it is also pivotal to keep NYC safe and clean. Throughout the book Delany just talks about sex in these sites and it is a bold move by him considering people do not openly speak about those things today. He explains how AIDs was transferred during those days through men having sex in those places and certain parts were a bit disturbing. Overall, it is interesting learning about what used to be in Times Square, because today it is such a huge spot e where thousands of people go each day. NYC is my favorite place and I love learning about it’s history.
In Queer and Loathing by David Feinberg, he describes the life that he had, different than others because of the fact that he was a AIDs ridden homosexual, living in a society where people were scared of AIDs without actually knowing much about it. He talked about the different protests and different ideas he has to live life. He includes various guides to real life situations and offers his advice to the readers, although these guides were very cynical. With the harsh reality of the ideas and facts he brings up, he dampens them intensity with the humorous cynical aspect of his writing. He had many ideas that were too harsh for the reader to understand if it were to be blatantly spewed, therefore, with the help of the comical side of the book, the ideas are easier to understand, and Feinberg is not seen as someone just angrily writing about the way he has been treated unfairly. As the book goes on, his lifelessness is seen; his realization of his imminent death is prevalent near the ending of the book.
People associated AIDs with homosexuality, therefore homosexuals were looked down upon during the 1980s and 1990s. People were scared to be near these people because they had thought that AIDs could be spread through sweat, and basically any contact with an AIDs victim. Feinberg mocks these misinterpretations with the chapter “Etiquette for the HIV-Antibody-Positive”. He talks about how you can never sweat in public, and other silly things. When Earvin Magic Johnson announced that he had AIDs in 1991, this totally contradicted the ideas that people had about AIDs patients. The idea that Johnson was in the NBA, and he sweated, would mean that almost everyone in the NBA would have AIDs.
Times Square Red, Times Square Blue by Samuel Delany shows how Times Square used to be before they changed it to the Times Square we now know of. As I read the novel I was shocked at how Times Square was with the gay theaters since now places like that would be shut down instantaneously. Before reading the novel I was told that Times Square was a place you wouldn’t go to back then due to prostitution and drugs. I never was told about the theaters, I guess it was because I was young and since the main purpose people went to the theaters was to jerk off but then again why mention prostitution. When I finished reading Part 1 of the book, I asked my mother how Times Square was and the first thing she said was that they had a lot of theaters. I was shocked of knowing that such theaters existed since now the only theaters Times Square has are where the Broadway shows are held or the movie theaters which show general movies. As I come to think about it we think of having gay theaters bad since we didn’t grow up with it and don’t know how Times Square really was. Most people who live in New York dread going into the city to go to tourist attractions like Times Square. In my case, I hate going to Times Square since most tourist don’t walk and just stand in the middle of the sidewalk looking everywhere. So with that being said if Times Square was how it used to be most people wouldn’t go to Times Square if they didn’t want to and if they did they would go. The new Times Square now only benefits tourists and developers. I also feel that back then society was more acceptable to the gay community unlike how it is now.
Feinberg makes a mention in his novel of how being infected with AIDS has hurt any hopes in the future of him ever being able to have sex with another male partner ever again. He goes into all sorts of reasons of why he used to find sex to have such a great aspect to it in that sex can help relieve any stress you may be feeling and that having sex with a known or unknown partner can be adventure in itself. But he ends off the chapter saying how there is no sex without guilt which I believe he is referring specifically to how he had unprotected sex with someone and ended up becoming HIV positive. Any person who has been diagnosed with an STD would also be feeling some sort of guilt in being careless with their old pleasure. It is like they have lost such a wonderful part of their lives that they can never get back.
Feinberg also brainstorms all sorts of things he hopes he may have time to do before the end. Anyone who has AIDS may at one point feel a sense of worry that in their short lifetime they weren’t able to do everything they hoped they would do. For Feinberg, he says how he wonders if he can still learn Brail. He even goes to wonder how he will be buried, if he will be a vegetable or if his body will be cremated. It is obvious he is worried and scared of the impending future and wishes he could comfortable knowing he has all the time in the world.
It was about thirty years ago this summer that the first cases of AIDS were reported. Since then, the virus has taken over twenty five million lives worldwide. However, the impact of AIDS has also gone well beyond the realm of human health. The disease has altered American culture forever. In 1981, a government report announced that five homosexual men had contracted what was then described as a strange form of pneumonia. This was the first mention of the disease we now know as AIDS.
Over the last thirty years, AIDS has caused more American deaths than World War II and all later military quarrels combined. In the United States, 40,000 people are infected with HIV each year and a like one million are already living with the disease.
AIDS has greatly affected the medical community. But it’s has also left its mark on American culture. AIDS has reshaped nearly every part of our society. The disease forced everyone to talk about end of life issues. AIDS also provoked discussions about medical privacy. Its influence can be seen in everything from television shows to song lyrics. AIDS forced conversations about sexuality and homosexuality. And many believe it laid the foundation for recent debates over gay marriage and gay rights. It is clear that society would definitely be different without AIDS. David Feinberg was a victim of AIDS, unfortunately. His life would be have been nothing like it was if he did not contract the disease. Life took an extremely sad turn for him and his family, because they lost a great person.
Times Square Red Times Square Blue by Samuel Delany predominately focuses on Time Square and 42nd street during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. During this period there was a surplus of theaters dedicated to porn. The author specifically focuses on the Venus, Adonis and Eros theaters located in different parts of the city. Within these theaters many sexual encounters are encouraged and discouraged by people (mostly men) who go there to whack off. I appreciate Delany’s desire to share the context of what happened in these theaters; he’s clearly a very intelligent and eloquently spoken writer. However, the means by which he went about sharing such explicit detail were indeed disturbing. While I think it’s pretty cool to know how New York City was conducting itself before it became this awful commercialized, capitalistic center of New York, I do not wish to know Delany’s or Chip’s or the Professor’s (whichever he desires to be called) personal (sexual) experience in New York City, just as much as I do not wish to know my parents’ sexual lives prior to becoming my parents. The details of the sexual encounters in movie theaters between (predominantly) gay men is grotesque and disturbing to read about, but it gives an insight as to how AIDS could spread within the gay community. I was amazed to learn that socioeconomic status did not matter when performing fellatio on another person; people went to the movies for their own pleasure indifferent of those around them. I think the most interesting part of this first section was when Chip’s friend Ana wanted to go into the theater with him to see what it was like first hand. She indeed got an experience, that she herself admitted would not want to experience again, but she was curious. Intrigue is certainly what kept me reading up until the point where the homeless man came and then rubbed his sperm on his body for the entertainment of those around him (and for some money). It’s very interesting and baffling to know that lifestyles such as the men mentioned in the book, occurred during the 60’s and 70’s and that they had no clue what trouble or dangers they could be putting themselves in with their promiscuity.
AIDS has been surrounding us for long time almost thirty years. Within these years science made huge progresses from the cocktails and maybe some kind of vaccination, which is still under experiments. Every now and then I hear about a new step, a new progress. This epidemic has killed thirty two million people so far, while thirty three million are positive HIV. The data tells us that every year we have two million and seven thousand new infections. And I ask myself have we really made a big progress?
Yes. There is once a year the international AIDS day, where the issue comes up for a week, and then goes back the closet, where it has been hiding for nearly thirty years. How many more people need to die that we understand that it is dangerous epidemic? Another hundred or two million or maybe more? Sometimes I regret or feel bad, that this disease is not a real killer. If people were infected by coughing or sneezing, then we would have more positive HIV and more dead people. Maybe then and only then governments will get out of the box, and start to care of it in a better way and find a solution.
Humanity spent so much time dealing with prevention rather than creating vaccination for AIDS. Unfortunately, everything in life is got to do with money and priority, and AIDS is not in one of the top priorities as it should be. If it was killing more people maybe it was in a better priority, but when it’s not even 0.5% of world population, what can we expect?
In his book Queer and Loathing, David Fienberg, a positive HIV, writes about his coping with his disease and how the government really does nothing to make it better. It is quite sad to see how a person is condemned to death and no one really helps him. Right, he did it to himself, but as a society, do we need to punish him for that or any other HIV positive? The other way around, we need to hug them and assist them as much as we can and beyond that. Can we really do that?
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