AND THE BAND PLAYED ON (1993)

Sound Bites

Science at its outer limits is populated by no end of ambitious cowboys of modest acumen hungry for fame, glory and the Ferraris in which some of their lucky chums in bio-tech cruise out of their labs’ parking lots in the direction of their Cessna hangars.  (Anthony Brink)

While the Democrats and Republicans framed their issues, the narrative of the epidemic admitted no clear cinematic resolution, no simple distribution of guilt and innocence.  And thus it fell outside the America it framed by President Reagan’s discourse, a discourse in which the play and orientation of desire create no ambivalence.  (Alan Nadel 184)

From the Reagan Administration to the scientists themselves to the blood industry, which continued to send out contaminated blood for at least a year and a half, to the gay community that wouldn’t close the baths – this was an epidemic that did not really have to happen.  (Bernard Weintraub)

Hollywood is no longer just a name, it is a business, a living entity holding America’s people in its grasp, and it is not about to let them go.  Gradually taking on more responsibility and trying to build up its reputation over the years, Hollywood has progressively assumed the position of history-teller for the American public.  (Victoria D. Hatch, Issue Essay, “A Fight For Many, Fought by Few” [1])

We need contagious epidemics to fight.  Even imagined ones.  They’re tremendously psychologically useful.  Germ theory so dominates contemporary medicine that it seeks germs everywhere, the more virulent the better, and especially if they can be linked to our culture’s great taboos, sex and death.  (Anthony Brink)

What did you learn in school today, / Dear little boy of mine? / I learned our government must be strong. / It’s always right and never wrong… / That’s what I learned in school.  --Song by Tom Paxon  (Gary Nash et. al. 25)

Shilts traces the untold story of medical mysteries and human tragedies, scientific intrigue and sexual politics, astonishing courage and petty deceit.  He shows that the epidemic spread wildly because the federal government put budget ahead of the nation’s welfare; health authorities placed political expediency before the public health; and scientists were often more concerned with international prestige than saving lives.  (And the Band Played On, Book Jacket, St. Martin’s Press, 1987)

All history resolves itself quite easily into the biography of a few stout and earnest persons.  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. On the whole, men are more good than bad; that, however, isn’t the real point, but they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance that fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill. The soul of the murderer is blind; and there can be no true goodness nor true love without the utmost clear-sightedness.  (Albert Camus, The Plague)
 
 

Copyright (c) 1999 by Victoria Douglass Hatch, Undergraduate at Lehigh University.

This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of the U.S. copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in
electronic form, provided that the author is notified and no fee is charged for access.  Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other
terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the author.