early epidemic

rogue one: headcanon: chirrut imwe

WRITING THIS BEFORE IT ALL GETS JOSSED NEXT MONTH.

this was originally supposed to be, like, two paragaphs max. um.


I’ve always imagined that Chirrut had been brought to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant as a baby or toddler. He grew up in the creche and trained with other younglings. (Canonically, Obi-wan is five years older than Chirrut, so maybe he had to help babysit him at some point.) He liked trying to prank Yoda, lbr.

But when he went to the Gathering - the ritual for all Jedi younglings where they travel to the Crystal Cave of Ilum and earn their own personal kyber crystal - he does not pass, technically. He conquers his fears, his failings, but… the crystals won’t shine for him. He can feel them - oh, how he can feel them! He’s always had a knack for that. But not a single one sings to say, “You are mine, and I am yours.”

He leaves, shame-faced, among his exuberant creche-mates

(He goes again and again every year, but the results are the same. Conquering his fears becomes harder.)

I don’t know if failing to find your crystal equals automatic failure in the Initiate Trials, but in any case, no one chooses Chirrut as a Padawan. He’s given a choice: serve the Jedi by joining the Service Corps, or leave the Order and, we ask, help others with what you’ve been taught.

“I will go home, Master Yoda,” says Chirrut, “to Jedha.”

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The Black Death Is Older Than We Thought

A recent study analyzed DNA from the teeth of Bronze Age people who lived in Europe and Asia. It found evidence of plague infection, from the Yersinia pestis bacterium, dating to 6,000 years ago! What later became the Black Plague was, 6,000 years ago, spread only through contaminated food or human-to-human contact. It was later that a genetic mutation in the bacterium allowed them to survive in the guts of fleas – researchers estimate around the turn of the 1st century BCE.

The black death’s early co-existence with humans, and its ability to pass person-to-person, also suggests an interesting new avenue for forensic diagnosing. The yersinia pestis bacterium may have been responsible for early epidemics, such as the plague of Athens. Many early plagues are known to have passed person-to-person so scientists previously discounted yersinia pestis from the running. But proving which ancient plagues were really the Black Death in an earlier form is a subject for another study.

In the early years of the epidemic many of us read accounts by American gay men about the scale of loss in their personal lives. Such accounts often seemed almost embarrassing, because they were seemingly exaggerated, and at the same time lacking in affectivity — the deaths were described flatly, almost without an emotional response. Indeed, I well remember running into a well known gay activist in a clothes shop on Christopher Street in New York in the late 1980s. He poured out the story of how he’d set out to go to the funeral of an ex-lover, but instead had gone shopping, unable to face yet another funeral. ‘You haven’t lived’, he explained, ‘until you get used to not going to your best friends’ funerals.’ Five years later I understand his words and actions only too well. Writing now in the summer of 1994 in London, where the epidemic is running approximately five years behind the time-scale of mass infection and rate of disease progression in the US, I also understand something of the inner conflicts he must have been experiencing. There are only so many funerals one can attend in a month.
—  Simon Watney, Imagine Hope: AIDS and Gay Identity.

One of the first visitors to my new flat was Mark. He had been picketing the printers’ dispute in Wapping and I had joined him a couple of times … Unlike me, Mark had been there day in, day out, standing in the cold and rain, and had caught a cold and developed a bad cough that no medicine could shift. He stood hacking in my kitchen, almost bent double, feeling so ill that instead of going on to Wapping he went home to Elephant and Castle and took to his bed.

A few days later, as we were getting ready to leave for a week’s worth of TV, radio and press in Spain, a friend rang with the news that Mark had been admitted to Guy’s for observation. After a rehearsal the next day, I got to the hospital in the early evening carrying, incongruously , a cased soprano saxophone. I took a lift up to a high floor in Guy’s grim concrete tower. Great view, I thought, and was shown into the private room where Mark was being observed. His mother was there – she and his father had flown to London from Africa, where they lived. This was not good. She said hello and then said, ‘I’ll leave you two alone.’ Dreading what was to come, I wanted to leave too, but I sat on the bed and Mark, exhausted, took off the oxygen mask. ‘How are you?’ I said, hopelessly, and he said, ‘Not very well. Auntie Ada’s come to call.’

One of the acronyms that we all became familiar with early on in the epidemic was PCP, pneumocystis pneumonia, a form of yeast infection that attacked the lungs of people with failing immune systems. Mark had it, the cause of his unbudging cough, and he told me that, if the doctors couldn’t halt it, ‘it’s curtains’. I didn’t believe him. He was in his twenties, young and fit, and a golden boy, full of promise, precious to so many – surely nothing could hurt him? I sat beside him and he talked about his life, about its great regret, a relationship that had failed, and he tried to say goodbye, but I wouldn’t have it, and stood miserably at the door, saxophone in hand, and said I would see him when we got back from Spain.

—  Reverend Richard Coles on Mark Ashton’s diagnosis, from Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went From Pop to Pulpit, pp. 118 - 119 (x)
X-Men: Days of Future Past Moments Which Led to the Events of Days of Future Past

1962 – CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS

Secret government department responsible for conflict. During a pivotal moment in the Cold War, missiles launched near Cuba allegedly malfunction due to an unidentified group with unexplained powers.

1963 – ERIK LEHNSHERR IS IMPLICATED IN MURDER

The JFK assassination sparks a mutant controversy. The mutant known as Magneto is implicated in the assassination of John F. Kennedy by a witness on the grassy knoll. Magneto denies direct involvement, sparking the “Free Magneto” movement.

1965 – CHARLES XAVIER OPENS THE SCHOOL FOR GIFTED YOUNGSTERS

Xavier’s school is a safe place for mutant education. Xavier opens a private boarding school with a hidden agenda: to ensure young mutants have a safe haven to study and safely develop their powers.

1967 – TRASK INDUSTRIES DEVELOPS ARTIFICIAL LIMBS

Trask Industries’ revolutionary prosthetics change the lives of millions. Bolivar Trask revolutionizes the world of prosthetics through DNA-generated artificial limbs.

1972 – PROLONGED SILENCE ON NIXON WHITE HOUSE TAPES POINTS TO SCANDAL

Trask and Nixon take a secret meeting. Conveniently erased from the tapes. Congressional investigators seeking evidence of an improper relationship between Trask Industries and the Nixon White House are stymied when they discover that 18½ minutes of a meeting between Bolivar Trask and President Nixon have been completely erased.

1973 – TRASK ANNOUNCES THE SENTINEL MARK I PROGRAM

President Nixon welcomes the Sentinels with open arms. Through a defense contract with the Nixon administration, Trask Industries begins production and deployment of the Sentinel Mark I. While the heavily funded project raised the level of national security capabilities, it also resulted in America moving away from the Gold Standard.

1975 – XAVIER GOES TO WASHINGTON

Professor makes a closed door plea to U.S. politicians for basic rights. Charles Xavier appears before the U.S. House of Representatives in a private closed session, asking for mutant freedoms including integration and privacy.

1977 – WORLD RECORD SCANDAL

Pietro Maximoff breaks 8 world records, sparking review of mutant participation in athletics. Athletics officials adopt a genetic testing policy in partnership with Trask Industries in which no athletes carrying the mutant X-gene can compete in professional sporting events. This occurs following the investigation of Pietro Maximoff, Quicksilver, who broke 8 world records in track and field events.

1984 – MINISTER DUBS MUTANTS “GOD’S CURSE”

“The Human Majority” targets Mutants as God’s curse. Popular televangelist minister, Bob Bell, and his organization, “The Human Majority,” champion a strong anti-mutant movement. Among their principles is the belief that disease is God’s curse for mutant integration.

1986 – CHERNOBYL NUCLEAR DISASTER

Soviet Union sees a rash of “mutant infants” (младенцы-мутанты). The Chernobyl nuclear power plant melts down, causing a spike in premature mutant expressions for generations.

1988 – BERLIN WALL PROTESTS

Germany is the first nation to adopt mutant segregation policies. A few renegade mutants knock down a mile-long section of the Berlin wall in an act of protest, killing 23 people and injuring over 200. The protest alarmed citizens of West Germany, sparking anti-mutant policies. The Berlin Wall stands today and East Germany has been designated as a mutant zone.

1989 – DNA EVIDENCE

The FBI cracks down on criminals and mutants. In partnership with Trask Industries, the FBI unveils a method of using DNA evidence at crime scenes to identify criminals. Off the record, Trask Industries also begins building a private Mutant Registry from this database of DNA, with plans to sell the information to wealthy world governments.

1991 – SOUTH AFRICAN REFORM

South Africa ushers in an era of acceptance and equality, becoming a safe haven for mutants. As the global conversation on mutant-human relations grows, South Africa proudly declares their country a unified and united refuge for all.

1994 – ZAPATISTAS ALLY WITH MUTANT SUPPORTERS

The Zapatista resistance militia enlists the help of mutant soldiers. The Zapatista resistance, aided by mutant freedom fighters, engages in armed conflict against the Mexican government in Southern Mexico.

1996 – MAD COW DISEASE OUTBREAK

X-Gene testing at Trask Industries leads to global epidemic. An early attempt at the cure for the x-gene fails when animal testing goes awry, causing widespread sickness commonly referred to as Mad Cow Disease.

2001 – GUANTANAMO BAY MUTANT DETENTION CENTER

Trask Industries is integral in the construction and secret management of Guantanamo Bay detention center. The U.S. Government contracts Trask Industries to build Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Camp is a detention center for mutants dangerous enough to be deemed national security threats.

2006 – WARRING MUTANT FACTIONS DESTROY THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE

President works with X-Men to rebuild bridge and relations with mutants. Worthington Labs introduces a vaccine that claims to eradicate the X-gene, leading to violent uprisings from mutant factions that resulted in the destruction of the Golden Gate Bridge. Recognizing the need to improve human-mutant relations, the President appoints Beast as ambassador to the UN.

2008 – U.S. ERECTS WALL TO STRENGTHEN BORDER

“Mutant Wall” hinders movement of mutants across the U.S. border. The U.S. erects a 2,000 mile long wall along the Mexican border. Politicians maintain that the structure is a necessary measure for the prevention of illegal immigration. Others contend that the wall is a last-ditch effort to contain Mexico’s growing population of mutant rebels.

2009 – MUTANT INHIBITOR COLLAR

Revolutionary collar proves that mutant abilities can be suppressed. After a string of breakouts from Camp X-Ray by high-powered mutants, Trask Industries develops a collar to inhibit mutant abilities.

2010 – TRASK INDUSTRIES ACQUIRES XAVIER’S SCHOOL FOR GIFTED YOUNGSTERS

The mutant safe-haven becomes testing lab for Trask Industries. Xavier’s School for Gifted youngsters closes. Trask Industries renovates the mansion into a research facility.

2011 – MARCH ON X-MANSION

Mutants protest, claiming that they don’t need a cure. To protest the billion dollar “mutant cure” arms race led by Trask industries, Yashida Corp and other multinational pharmaceutical companies, Occupy Wall Street marches from the X-Mansion to Zuccotti Park. Sentinels attack the peaceful mutant demonstration. In the ensuing chaos, Warren Worthington III, the mutant known as “Angel,” is killed.

2012 – MUTANTS ESCAPE TRASK PRISON CAMPS

30 mutants are rescued from Trask mutant prison camps. Clarice Ferguson, Blink, is instrumental in smuggling 30 detained mutants out of Trask prison camps.

2013 – TRASK ANNOUNCES MARK X

The next generation of the Sentinel program promises a definitive containment of the mutant threat. Responding to the rise of mutant rebels, Trask Laboratories unveils the next generation in its Sentinel line — the Sentinel Mark X. Among the new model’s many upgrades is its ability to shape shift and physically adapt to environments.

2015 – DEATH OF HANK MCCOY

Mutant most famous for successfully integrating with human population is murdered. Hank McCoy is dragged from his home and murdered by an angry mob of Human Majority protesters outside his home in upstate New York.

2018 – BISHOP FORMS THE FREE MUTANTS

Bishop forms the first militant mutant organization. Bishop, a Camp X-Ray escapee, builds a global network of mutant resistance dubbed the “Free Mutants.”

Everybody (White, Male & Entitled) Wants Some!!

Okay, so let me start by saying that despite the title (maybe even because of it): I liked this movie!  Quite a bit, in fact.  I thought the cast had an amazing symmetry despite their disparate backgrounds and the script, though meandering at times, did show a delightful glimpse into the life of our protagonist.  

(this is long, but there’s a picspam at the end so be sure to clickthrough and scrolldown if you want!)

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Why Scottie is crucial

I can’t be the only one, but I feel we are in the minority, viewers of London Spy who don’t think of Scottie as a bad person, and a bad friend to Danny.

I think Scottie’s story is key to what Tom Rob Smith is doing with this story about a spy and the man who loved him.  

Scottie represents the past – specifically, what it meant to be a gay man when that was still illegal.

(Spoilers ahead, don’t read if you haven’t yet watched episode 4.)

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Fic: Seeing (Kurt/Blaine honeymoon)

Summary: Kurt and Blaine take an art class with a bunch of old folks while honeymooning in Provincetown. Fluffy fluff (with brief allusion to the early AIDS epidemic) by prompt of lishashisha, who is a darling and has great ideas.

~2,300 words | Teen&Up | Episode 6.08 “A Wedding” & 6.09 “Child Star”

Also on AO3.

* * *

Seeing

Sue was lying. Kurt and Blaine get Andrew Sullivan’s summerhouse in Provincetown for a full two weeks, not just a weekend.

Which is good, because it takes at least two full days to get into the routine of not doing or worrying about anything, especially with Rachel texting every half hour with panicked messages about bar mitzvahs and New Directions personality conflicts.

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HBO’s adaptation of The Normal Heart airs tonight. We’ll be watching, and we hope you will be too.

We’ve collected these resources over the last week—with lots of help—in hopes of providing more context to the story of the early AIDS epidemic than what we’ll see on the screen.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Please, help us spread the word about normalheart-history by reblogging this and our other posts.

Encourage anyone who’s watching the movie to ask us anything  about the people and stories portrayed in the film.

And submit your own story about the epidemic so we can post that, too. 

Critics’ Choice Awards: ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘OITNB,’ ‘Fargo,’ ‘Normal Heart’ Among Top Winners

“Normal Heart” won for best movie and supporting actor in a movie/miniseries for Matt Bomer.

Bomer, star of USA Network’s “White Collar” was emotional in his remarks, thanking his husband, PR maven Simon Halls, and “Normal Heart” director Ryan Murphy for helming the long-awaited film adaptation of Larry Kramer’s groundbreaking play chronicling the early days of AIDS epidemic. “To the generation we lost, I just want to say, we remember you and we honor you. This is for you,” Bomer said, his voice breaking.

Murphy was also feted with the Broadcast Television Journalists Assn.’s “Genius” award.

Fore more go to: Variety

Coming this week: Tumblr Teach-In about The Normal Heart

Hello friends, as promised, here are some more details about our planned Tumblr teach-in to accompany HBO’s adaptation of The Normal Heart. This is a group effort, so please feel free to hit the ask box at any time with questions.

As two people who have been active in various AIDS-related organizations and activism, it’s important to us that we help build on the attention and excitement about this powerful film by adding context and encouraging additional discussion. (And we know we can’t do that alone.)

OVERVIEW

Each day this week, we’ll curate/moderate/reblog/post with a focus on one themed topic about the AIDS epidemic, with an emphasis on the early years before and shortly after the era of The Normal Heart. Anyone is welcome to submit posts, or tag posts (see guidelines before) at any time, and we’ll continue the reblogging cycle as new content comes in even if it’s after that theme’s day is over.

THEMES

  • MONDAY MAY 29: INTRO TO THE EARLY AIDS EPIDEMIC
  • TUESDAY MAY 30: WHAT ABOUT WOMEN?
  • WEDNESDAY MAY 31: WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE OF COLOR?
  • THURSDAY JUNE 1: SAFER SEX & SEXUAL POLITICS
  • FRIDAY JUNE 2: ART, LITERATURE & MEDIA RESPONSES
  • SATURDAY JUNE 3: POLICY, ACT UP & AIDS INC.

We’re also planning daily posts about Larry Kramer related to each of those themes.

VOLUNTEER-CURATORS

If you’d like to contribute beyond simply submitting/tagging posts, we’re looking for someone to do a kick-off post for each of the themed days. This could be pretty simple - a particularly strong post you want to reblog plus some additional links/resources - or be more like a background primer if you were so motivated. michelet is handling Saturday’s policy post; shananaomi will head up Wednesday’s safer sex intro.

Here are folks who previously raised their hands to say they might want to help: @sensatesoul, schindermania, @lettersfromtitan, wowbright

TAGS

Please help us find your great submissions either by using the actual submission tool here or by tagging your posts like this:

  1. with our blog name, normalheart-history
  2. with the relevant theme’s tag (suggestions welcome):
  • HIV/AIDS
  • women and HIV/AIDS
  • POC and HIV/AIDS
  • AIDS art
  • safer sex and HIV/AIDS
  • HIV/AIDS activism and policy

QUESTIONS/COMMENTS

Ask us anything. We’re doing this on Tumblr because we love the Tumblr community (and its tools, for the most part!), so more than anything we want to encourage that fuck-yeah enthusiasm and excited piling on.