I want to like Larry Kramer. I really do. I know and like other people who are even more aggressively misanthropic than even he can be.
I’ve decided that my big problem with Kramer isn’t that he seems to hate everyone. It’s that he seems to think that he’s the only one who speaks and writes the truth, which only proves how either deluded or self-promotional he really is.
Take this excerpt from a Chris Geidner interview with Kramer that ran in Metro Weekly:
At the height of the Holocaust, when Jews were being shoveled into the ovens by the trainload, a great woman by the name of Hannah Arendt, who was a political philosopher – Jewish, obviously, and German – said, in essence, to all of the Jews in the world, ”Why are you allowing this to happen? Where is your army?” She thought the Jews should actually have their own army, which was an unbelievable thing for a woman to say. And, in essence, she was saying, ”You brought all this on yourselves. You get what you deserve. You’re not fighting back. And you’ve never fought back, ever, in your whole history.” And I say that about us, too. People don’t want to hear it.
Where are the ACT UPs today? Where are the anti-Vietnam [War] demonstrations of such amazing numbers today? This business with Wall Street is fine. I view it as rather disorganized, and I’m glad they’re able to keep it together for so long. I don’t hear what the demands are that are being met. The banks aren’t folding up and going out of business.
For a guy who claims to be a historian of sorts, he certainly doesn’t understand the history of our people, nor the history of other civil rights movements. We didn’t just wake up one day and find that Jews had to be admitted to Harvard. Or that blacks could sit in the front of the bus and couldn’t be (outwardly) denied housing simply because they were black.
Progress for women, blacks and everyone else came in fits and starts. Two steps forward and one back. And that is how it has ALWAYS been in civil rights movements. We don’t get special treatment simply because Larry Kramer is angry and selling the same awful play over and over and over again.
Boring and not at all trenchant, which is why I stopped reading him a very long time ago.