AIDS and... Hitler?

Last semester, I took a class called Discourse of Disease. It sounds broad, and the topics covered in the class even broader. We discussed everything from 28 Days Later to Chinese novels to AIDS campaigns. Mostly importantly, we talked about the language of disease and how the linguistic and artistic expressions affect the way we think about disease and its power through symbolism.

I came across one AIDS campaign in class that depicted a man/women having sex with insects and posted about it on my class discussion board. I'll relink the image I found here and here (they are French AIDS campaigns).

There are a couple others, but it's interesting to understand the visual/metaphorical connotations and whether the ads are effective. One of the main debates is whether the ads are depicting AIDS the disease OR the people with AIDS as filthy (or both). Do we see people with AIDS as victims or perpetrators? Of course there is no right or wrong answer, but asking these questions are important.

In the same vein, a provocative AIDS awareness campgian that is about to launch in Germany featuring a woman having sex with men notorious figures such as Hitler and Stalin. Check out the video here and an article about it from the Guardian here.

Note: I post this because the ad is related to Germany, but also because these types of compaigns would NEVER be allowed in America. This idea of America and our culture as being too "politically correct" has come up on several occasions in my stay abroad so far. Is it wrong to say toilet because adults are supposed to be refined? The Germans don't think so. These AIDS awareness campaigns make me think about what is acceptable not only from a visual/linguistic discourse but also from a cultural discourse. I'd be interested in seeing what others have to say.

1 comment:

Tiffany Chen said...

I've actually seen the French AIDS campaigns somewhere before, I don't remember where.

However, I remember not understanding them at the time, because you're right, there's a definite disconnect between how Americans propagate the disease and the rest of (at least what I know of) "western" society.

While we display haunting exhibits of dying black women and their babies and sell T-shirts at the GAP, the Europeans have explicit sex with unpretty things.

What the f*ck?

The problem behind AIDS is not only that it kills, but that it kills lonely people. The problem is that people think that somehow fear will drive prevention, but it only worsens the cause.

"This idea of America and our culture as being too "politically correct" has come up on several occasions in my stay abroad so far."

It's very interesting that you've discussed this issue because it was a big deal in my French culture and civilization course. Apparently to them, political correctness is viewed as a form of hypocrisy. If you really think handicaps are "retards", then why "pretty up" the truth?

Harsh. But I guess we're all liars.

There's my 2 cents.