In 1985, the band Coil released a cover of the song Tainted Love. In the booklet for the Scatology CD on which it appears, there was a photo of the two core members, John Balance and Peter Christopherson and text indicating that at publication some relatively small (but shockingly large if you knew them) number of people in the UK had died of AIDS. 184, if I recall correctly.

In the early 1980s, when it was obvious that the vast number of westerners dying of HIV were gay or drug users, the religious right could point at the victims and claim it was divine punishment for sin. What had yet to name itself the Reality-based Community saw this demagoguery for what it was, and fought hard to get some recognition for what was actually happening: a health crisis of vast proportions. The fact that President Reagan would not utter the name of the disease until it was well past time that a concerted effort could have eradicated it. (In a 1982 press conference, White House spokesperson Larry Speakes laughed about it when a reporter asked about the 600 cases then diagnosed.) And now (though we don’t talk about it much), millions of people are still infected with it, with numbers growing primarily in Africa (for a variety of well-researched reasons), but in the west as well.

The BBC yesterday morning indicated that in the latest outbreak of Ebola, 4417 people had died of the disease. Most of them Black and most of them not in the West. The Onion ran a headline to the effect that ‘we’re only fifty white people from a cure for Ebola‘. If only. Papers yesterday ran editorials pointing to slashed medical research budgets in the US being key to our not having an effective and mass-producible treatment for Ebola. Shocking as fuck, that one. As is the fact that the US doesn’t have a surgeon general because the NRA of all groups objected to President Obama’s nomination.

Rachel Maddow reported two nights ago that new cases are coming up in Africa at a rate of 1000 per week and are on track to increase to 10,000 per week in the coming months. And how does the US react to its first case? The family of Thomas Edward Duncan were quarantined in the house where he fell ill for, what, a week? With his sweat and vomit soaked bedding, and no one would step up and take them in. Christian charity finally came in the form of a Dallas county official who secured them rooms in a private home. In all of Texas, *no one* else stood up? Big fucking state to have so many cowards. Would I step up? I don’t know. When Ebola comes to NL, we’ll see if our infrastructure is up to the task. I wish I could say ‘If Ebola’, but given the current spread, I think it’s unlikely to stay in small African countries about which the rich countries couldn’t give two farts.