Winecoff mentions FrontPage founder David Horowitz, who was much maligned for daring to suggest that gays should have closed down their bathhouses at the beginning of the AIDS crisis:
Mr. Horowitz is in good company because even Randy Shilts, who wrote the groundbreaking And the Band Played On, his chronicle of the AIDS epidemic, addressed the issue of the gay community not closing the bathhouses simply out of political correctness – and he, like AIDS activists Michael Callen and Richard Berkowitz, took a lot of flack for it.
I recall visiting a friend in San Francisco in the early ’80s, when AIDS was a rapidly spreading menace no one knew much about yet, and seeing posters all over the place to keep the bath houses open – or risk being thrown into a concentration camp by the Reagan regime. This was the kind of leftwing fantasy that was, and is, so typical. Watch out, or those evil Republicans are going to get you. But again, as a young gay man, I deferred to this fear-mongering – even though, in my gut, the rationale not to close the bathhouses struck me as strange, wrong – even kind of crazy. But what did I know?
Recently I was taken to task by Martin Patriquin, a reporter for Maclean’s magazine, for (apropos of somthing else) mentioning David Horowitz’s early criticism of the gay community’s refusal to change their culture of promiscuity to stop the spread of AIDS:
“Well, you would quote Horowitz, wouldn’t you? He’s running the same hustle you are.”
“Hustle,” meaning: “you right wingers don’t/can’t possibly mean the crazy stuff you say and write. This is all part of some elaborate money-making scam.”
Argh. He says that’s not what he meant. Whatever.