Globalizing AIDS

Globalizing AIDS

Globalizing AIDS

Globalizing AIDS

Synopsis

Pioneering cultural critic Cindy Patton looks at the complex interaction between modern science, media coverage, and local activism during the first decade of the epidemic.

Excerpt

In the late 1960s, Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan popularized the phrase “global village, ” which captured the growing perception that for many people, mass media and transportation technologies had effectively reduced the size of the globe, irrevocably altering their sense of where they lived. Asserted at the height of the Vietnam War, the idea that the wonders of technology could transform the planet into a cozy village offered a less paranoid vision of Americans' place on spaceship earth than the images of secret invasion that had characterized Cold War ideology. Although the image of the global village ignored the political and economic differences among nations and cultures, it nevertheless suggested that the world's most powerful countries had a brotherly obligation to people who were, after all, really not all that different. This idea of harmony worked because the global village existed primarily as an imaginary hyperspace. Despite the myriad ways in which global travel concretely altered labor, tourism, defense, and domestic practices, it was the global news, entertainment, and information media, eventually including the Internet, that were crucial for conveying ideas about social and cultural similarity and difference. In the imagined space of the global village, we Baby Boomers were next to, but not actually touching, the many peoples and places we had, during our paranoid Cold War childhood, discovered in our Weekly Reader.

Imagine our surprise when our Age of Aquarius ended with a frightening new disease. The hyperspace of the . . .

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