By Stephanie Kane
What do govt overall healthiness regulations, important American rituals, blue- and white-collar staff, HIV, and the warfare on medicines have in universal with mayhem, homicide, and different social evils? AIDS Alibis is a clean, astute - in a be aware, hip - research of that commonality.
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Extra info for AIDS alibis: sex, drugs, and crime in the Americas
This is the business of desire, of body parts and Page 14 fluid collection, mundane physicalities transformed with rituals of charm. And it is the business of our most respected institutionseducational, religious, militaryto assure the continuation of these scenes in which tragedy is always a relative thing. Between these chapters on sex work is a chapter that focuses on work of a different kind, the work of consciousness, of what people have to do to acknowledge the epidemic as a problem. I call it folk surveillance (Chapter 3), the process by which ordinary folks figure out that this virus is relevant to their lives.
Jean Baudrillard writes that in these times, AIDS acts as a "superconductive event" in the public imagination: an untimely whirlwind that Page 7 no longer affects states, individuals, or institutions, but rather entire transversal structures of money, information, and communications. Infection is no longer confined within a given system but can leap from one system to another, producing catastrophe (1993, 37). He writes: "The high degree to which AIDS, terrorism, crack cocaine or computer viruses mobilize the popular imagination should tell us that they are more than anecdotal occurrences in an irrational world.
The stress and strain of work, or lack of it, create the need for escape. The next three chapters in Part 2 are basically about getting high and having wildly celebratory casual sex (not necessarily at the Page 15 same time). Chapters 6 and 7 are about how heroin and cocaine addiction contribute to the level of HIV risk that individuals and communities sustain. Drawing on the life histories of five women in Chicago, these two chapters evoke the mundane side of the drug war, the women's side of war, the after-the-party's-over side.