Eric Leven

Do Not Doubt the Dangerousness of the 12-inch Politician

Filed By Eric Leven | December 01, 2008 7:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Living
Tags: AIDS literature, David Wojnarowicz, HIV/AIDS, World AIDS Day

One of my favorite pieces of writing from the 1980's AIDS crisis is entitled "Do Not Doubt the Dangerousness of the 12-inch Politician" and can be found in David Wojnarowicz's book Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration.

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Writer, activist and performer David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992)

Excerpt after the jump.

Do Not Doubt the Dangerousness of the 12-inch Politician

"If I had a dollar for health care I'd rather spend it on a baby or innocent person with some defect or illness not of their own responsibility; not some person with AIDS" says the health-care official on national television and this is in the middle of an hour-long video of people dying on camera because they can't afford the limited drugs available that might extend their lives and I can't even remember what this official looked like because I reached in through the tv screen and ripped his face in half and I was diagnosed with AIDS recently and this was after the last few years of losing count of the friends and neighbors who have been dying slow vicious and unnecessary deaths because fags and dykes and junkies are expendable in this country. "If you want to stop AIDS shoot the queers..." says a politician in Texas on the radio and his press secretary later claims that the politician was only joking and didn't know the microphone was turned on and besides they didn't think it would hurt his chances for reelection anyways and I wake up every morning in this killing machine called america and I'm carrying this rage like a blood-filled egg and there's a thin line between the inside and the outside a thin line between thought and action and that line is simply made up of blood and muscle and bone and I'm waking up more and more from daydreams of tipping amazonian blow darts in "infected blood" and spitting them at the exposed necklines of certain politicians or government health-care officials or those thinly disguised walking swastikas that wear religious garments over their murderous intentions or those rabid strangers parading against AIDS clinics in the nightly news suburbs there's a thin line a very thin line between the inside and the outside and I've been looking all my life at the signs surrounding us in the media or on peoples' lips; the religious types outside st. patrick's cathedral shouting to the men and women in the gay parade, "You won't be here next year-you'll get AIDS and die ha ha..." and the areas of the u.s.a. where it is possible to murder a man and when brought to trial one only has to say that the victim was a queer and that he tried to touch you and the courts will set you free and the difficulties that a bunch of republican senators have in albany with supporting an antiviolence bill that includes "sexual orientation" as a category of crime victims there's a thin line a very thin line and as each T-cell disappears from my body it's replaced by ten pounds of pressure ten pounds of rage and I focus that rage into nonviolent resistance but that focus is starting to slip my hands are beginning to move independent of self-restraint and the egg is starting to crack america america america seems to understand and accept murder as a self-defense against those who would murder other people and it's been murder on a daily basis for nine count then nine long years and we're expected to pay taxes to support this public and social murder and we're expected to quietly and politely make house in this windstorm of murder but I say there's certain politicians that had better increase their security forces and there's religious leaders and health-care officials that had better get bigger fucking dogs and higher fucking fences and more complex security alarms for their homes and queer-bashers better start doing their work from inside howitzer tanks because the thin line between the inside and the outside is beginning to erode and at the moment I'm a thirty-seven-foot-tall one-thousand-one-hundred-and-seventy-two-pound man inside this six-foot body and all I can feel is the pressure all I can feel is the pressure and the need for release.

David Wojnarowicz DO NOT DOUBT THE DANGEROUSNESS OF THE 12-INCHPOLITICIAN, Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration, pp. 160-162, excerpt from. (The full essay was derived from talks delivered at Illinois State University at Normal, Illinois, and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1990.)

Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration, David Wojnarowicz, copyright 1991 Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc, New York, ISBN 0-679-73227-6.

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Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 1, 2008 8:45 PM

Wow. What a terrible loss that he's gone.

Silence=Death. It's as true now as it was then.