broken media

the kids won’t let the growing up cry anymore

We prayed for a day when the disease struck someone who mattered, prayed for a weaponizing of AIDS, and when I finally saw the Post headline I knew our terrible wishes had come true: “ROCK HAS AIDS—And He’s Known for a Year.”

A friend of Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett, Ronald Reagan’s guest in the White House, like a brother to the first lady: [Movie star] Rock Hudson stepped forward to tell the world he had the gay plague. What the article didn’t say was that becoming the face of AIDS hadn’t been his idea. The crush of reporters on the American Hospital’s doorstep in Paris had grown so overwhelming that officials entered his room with an ultimatum: either Hudson would announce his diagnosis, or the hospital would do it for him. After a pause, Hudson waved a hand, and with a thin voice said, “Who cares? Go ahead. We’ve hidden it for over a year. What’s the point.”


The news tore around the globe, igniting gossip in most known languages, and sending printing presses into overdrive. The New York Post’s commuter edition was on sale within hours. I brought the paper to the newsroom, and our collective feeling was clear: At last.

Patrick Merla, the Native’s editor, imagined the influence that Hudson’s notoriety could bring to funding and to public awareness. It took only a few days to see the evidence of that. In my Native column on the revelation, I wrote about the massive number of developments on the AIDS front, from a broken dam of media coverage to sudden voices of urgency at the research bench. Television anchors expressed amazement that an American citizen—tax-paying, upstanding, and beloved—was forced to go to France to receive a medical treatment that his own government was unable or unwilling to offer him at home. Reporters flew to Paris to discover that four hundred Americans were pleading for health care there. In the limelight, Margaret Heckler’s chief of staff was dispatched to the morning shows to announce that HPA-23[, a French experimental treatment,]  would be available in the U.S. in under three weeks on a “compassionate use” basis. Even Reagan was prodded into action. Without breaking his public embargo on mentioning AIDS, he spontaneously increased his AIDS budget request by 47 percent, and Congress, not to be outdone, threw in $70 million more, bringing AIDS spending up to $190 million for the coming year—still insufficient, but a sign that the disease was finally on the public agenda.


On September 17, [1985,] after more than six thousand young Americans had died of AIDS, after the disease had eclipsed all other causes of death for New York men in their twenties and thirties, Ronald Reagan finally discussed the epidemic in public. It came during a regularly scheduled press briefing, Reagan’s thirtieth since the first AIDS death was reported by the CDC.

—  David France, How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS (2016), Pt. 2, Ch. 3
Aesthetic & Mechanics

Originally posted by xosavageexo

In this post, I’m defining aesthetic as the what of my practice and mechanics as the why and how

In other words: Aesthetic is what it looks like and Mechanics are why and how it works.

For a very long time, I was a witch and a pagan with a strong set of mechanics, but I was weak on aesthetic. I chose not to have a consistent aesthetic because it felt stifling to me. 

(It can go the other way too, for the record. I could just as easily have had a very strong aesthetic without much sense of mechanics. For example, if I’d been a green witch who knew what herbs to use for which purposes, knew how to combine them into certain formulas, but didn’t know why those herbs are effective or how they work once they’re deployed.)

The thing is, aesthetic and mechanics can and do inform one other.

I do have a very strong aesthetic now, and it evolved directly from the way I thought about myself as a witch and the way I thought about magic and the way it worked. 

For me, these things were representations of the way the universe was created and how I fit into it, so naturally, a space aesthetic started to develop. Water and the ocean followed suit, bringing their influence to my aesthetic based on the way they fit into the mechanics of my practice. Finish that with a layer of the underworld (or otherworld, if you prefer) and now everything is tied together.

They coalesced into an aesthetic I generally refer to as “Queen of the Void” which is, simply put, star maiden meets evil queen.

You can see the Queen of the Void aesthetic at play on my tumblr @glowingnowhere

Originally posted by rebelartssociety

It works the other way around as well. Aesthetic began to create practices and mechanics once they were put into play in my life.

My Queen of the Void aesthetic is actually slightly more complicated than star maiden and evil queen. I turned several aspects of my beliefs and practices into “characters” that allowed me to easily codify their aesthetic.

So when I say “Evil Queen” what I really mean is, this is magic, this is cursing, this fear, this is rage, these are wounds. 

When I say “Star Maiden” what I’m getting at is, this is hope, this is a piece of the whole, this is a seeker, this is a calling, these are wishes granted.

Of course I’m also saying the same thing each time.

“This is power. This is power. This is power.”

I knew that all these pieces I had made fit together, and I understood they were all just different facets of the same whole practice, the same whole worldview, simply broken down into the media that best expressed their individual function.

I didn’t realize how connected they were to each other and to me until I realized that I was playing out the same cycle in my own life that I had put into theirs. 

Originally posted by mrtykom

Each part of my aesthetic filled a slot on a wheel and then I realized, oh. I’m on that wheel. I’m in that cycle

I suppose my aesthetic actually created a kind of personal mythology for me, and that allowed me to see where I was in my life and what role I was playing, and where I needed to go.

Not only did this give me a deeper understanding of my own aesthetic, but relating to it in that way gave me the tools and the steps that I needed in order to begin healing myself.

In other words, my aesthetic directly led to the creation of new mechanics in my practice and my life.

This is power.