Friday, March 8, 2013

And the band played on.

I "lucked out" and received a grant with the important "you must take an ethics course" clause for this academic year...  (keep in mind, other clauses for student grants around the lab are "you must spend $2000 on something that assists you in your research" ---also known as the "woo new laptop" grants).

But I have to admit, even though it pains me, and even though I leave these ethics courses on Wednesday evenings simultaneously saddened and angry, I am most certainly learning something from these classes.

Last week's discussion centered around the ethics covered in the movie "And the Band Played On" - a docu-drama about the discovery of AIDS in the early 1980s.  The movie is available in full on youtube:

Now, I consider myself to be a fair hand at history.  I remember obscure facts easily, I love watching movies set in other time periods, and I studied a good deal of history in high school and college.

But this documentary made me feel so, so, ignorant.  I was raised to be tolerant, so the attitudes towards gays in the 1980s, wow, I just can't even fathom.  I mean, I do see bigotry today, but not the same sort of outright hatred that was portrayed in the movie.  Our generation is going to be the one that didn't grow up with instant disapproval and vitriol for one particular group just because of whom they decide to love.  And thank goodness for that.

(And yes, there is a fair amount of science ethics in the film, but a response to that would take me days to write...literally)

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