FOF #800 – We Are All Hussein

Jul 16, 2008 · 1985 views

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Happy 800 shows everyone! Love to watch that odometer of podcasting turn. Today we’re thrilled to have our good friend, writer and health advocate Jim Pickett joining us to dispel some rumors, conspiracies and misconception […]


  1. Hmmmm, within the first 5 minutes there is a slam against all the nameless, faceless, but nonetheless not-in-our-best-interests pharmaceutical companies.

    Near the end there was an almost-slam against “the South”, and it’s supposed lack of infrastructure and education and gosh aren’t there a lot of STIs there… but thankfully it was danced around like a drunken gay bar patron.

    And lo and behold it’s one of the episodes with Jim on it.

    I think I finally managed to precipitate why a lot of what Jim says bugs me. It’s not because what he says is wrong or inaccurate, or even mean-spirited… but it’s because a lot of the time he personifies things to vilify them… and eschews the need to at least give the faint praise he would afford other humans and human-like things. He’ll take a company like Merck or Kaiser-Permanente and slap a face on it… and more often than not it is the face of Snidely Whiplash. Thus it is assumed that that no good can come from that company that is not over-weighted by this massive evil streak.

    It’s not an entirely unconventional way of framing a negative opinion… but it is rather insidious.
    Namely because it frames a personal bias as some sort of expert analysis. He’s also very polite about it and has a whole pundit/expert air about him. How ironic that the things that bothered me bookended a discussion about whether an unflattering portrayal of Obama would breed ignorance and unjustified doubt.

    Oh well, I enjoyed the show and Jim regardless. The entire point of these discussions are to get me to think and this is just some of the resulting thought-cud and the root of what will probably be a few more provocations.

  2. jimberly says:

    Big Pharma is indeed NOT funding research and development into new prevention technoloigies – this is not an opinion, this is a fact. It is not in their interest , and that is proven by the lack of investment. While companies like Gilead (how is that for a face and a name) are allowing some of their products – such as Tenofovir – to be used in pre-exposure prophylaxis trials and topical microbicide trials – by and large no one else is kicking in with anything, namely cold hard cash, to find ways to protect ourselves from HIV. This is fact – not opinion.

    As for an “almost slam” against the south – I was attempting to dispel the notion that there is more HIV/AIDS prevalence down there because the natives are just getting jiggy with it much more frequently. In FACT, that is not the case. And it is a FACT to say that a big reason there is higher prevalence of HIV in some populations in the south is because of lack of access to healthcare. This is not opinion – and you may not like it. But it is a fact that many, many vulnerable folks – from all over the country – access healthcare by going to the ER only when they are very very sick. Many of them don’t find out they have HIV in the ER, they find out they have AIDS. This is not a moral faling of these people – it is a moral failing of our healthcare infrastructure that allows about 49 million people to be uninsured, and millions more to be under-insured.

    I am not attempting to “vilify” anyone or anything – my words and actions are about speaking the truth I know , speaking it loudly, frequently, and to power – and working to affect change every single day. The world I envision is one where all people have equal access to quality healthcare (it is my view that this is a universal human right) and where we stop blaming individuals and groups of people (like black gay men, for instance) for high rates of HIV and other STDs and truly address the syndemic, structural issues that put into place the toxic ingredients that cause such disparities.

    Homophobia, racism, poverty, mental health and substance abuse problems, childhood sexual abuse, partner violence, lack of access to health care – these are some of the syndemic issues that help HIV continue to destroy lives in gay communities in this country – and among gay and other men who have sex with men around the world. According to UNAIDS – only 10% of the world’s gay and MSM population received HIV prevention services in 2006 – yet in much of the world, it is our populations who are bearing the brunt of this nasty, brutish disease.

    Back in the land of freedom, milk and honey – It is a GD crime that so many gay men (black gay men, white gay men, latino gay men, API gay men, native gay men) are infected with HIV in our country- and the fault is not so simple as pointing at their individual weaknesses as human beings. The CDC has 49 approved and recommended evidence-based interventions for HIV prevention targeted at different communities/populations. Guess how many are specifically designed for gay men? 4. Guess how many are specifically designed for black gay men? 0.

    What’s wrong with this picture?

    What’s wrong with a picture in which folks are encouraged ad nauseum to be tested for HIV and know their status – but there are a lack of services for those that find out they have HIV? What’s wrong with a picture that is all too happy to provide prevention services to those who have acquired HIV – to stem the tide – but ignores the HIV negative people at highest risk?

    What is the overall percentage of gay men in our country? Maybe 3 or 4 percent? And yet we make up about 50% of the epidemic. This disparity is what I vilify – it is this lack that I want to call to attention and make some change happen around. It is absolutely not acceptable. In some cities, one in two black gay men are infected with HIV – [see the recent CDC study of MSM in 5 urban areas] – it is this startling, horrifying statistic – one of the very worst stats in the global HIV epidemic, rivaling the very worst in Southern Africa – which I vilify. And which I am committed to change.

    None of this has to do with my personal bias.

    If all populations in this country had equal, unfettered access to good, quality healthcare – if our systems were not absolutely controlled by insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies – we would be in a much better place.

    If you would like to continue your learning – please join me in reading the excellent book called “Unequal Opportunity – Health Disparities Affecting Gay and Bisexual Men in the United States.” And you may also be interested in Elizabeth Pisani’s book – “The Wisdom of Whores – Brothels, Bureaucrats and the Business of AIDS” – which critically analyzes the billions of dollars poured into the global – and finds some serious deficits in the accounting and allocation.


    And to the “sexual diversity community” in Chicago – I hope to see you all at Sidetrack next week to talk about the powerful role of alcohol in all our lives – for good and for not so good – and how we all can have a healthier engagement with it – as individuals, as community members, as organizations, as businesses. The Windy City Times did a fantastic story on this very topic in this week’s issue – which, alas, is not yet online. Title is “”Alcohol – Use or Abuse” and the writer Amy Wooten interviews a whole host of folks, including Sidetrack owner Art Johnston, substance abuse and mental health professionals from Howard Brown, Center on Halsted, Valeo – really good stuff. And a really great way to kick off a discussion this community has never had – and will need to continue having over the coming months and years if it is going to be more than “just talk.”


  3. Teddy says:

    I can’t wait for the forum!

    With regards to the cover of the New Yorker, I actually wasn’t really offended. I do understand why it has upset people and why the Obama campaign had to come out against it. I hope people understand that it’s meant to point out how completely ridiculous the lies and rumors that have surrounded Barack Obama really are. I really think this thing is going to fizzle out and not have any effect at all. I do enjoy Obama’s response on Larry King yesterday.

    Anyway, great show guys!

    -Teddy Hussein Jay (I changed mine on facebook weeks ago)

  4. *The fact:* some “large” pharmaceutical companies aren’t funding/following prevention/cures and instead funding/following detection/treatment of AIDS
    *The opinion:* That this makes them negligent, profiteering, “evil”, and people who question this notion are undereducated about AIDS prevention efforts and the challenges they face.
    *My thoughts:* I’m sorry that you aren’t getting the money you want, I appreciate what you are trying to do, but still I don’t think that big pharma is “at fault” rather than just “not interested”. Furthermore… I don’t think “throw money at it” is the solution to the problem, at least not pharma money. The government definitely needs to re-up and over-up the amount of funding going to universities and independent clinics for aids research (all the great vaccines and medical discoveries were from little shops that just happened to discover something by accident)… but ultimately the Big Pharma companies are going to be the one to turn one cure into a billion when it comes about, and that’s what they are better at.

    *The fact:” There is a prevalence of HIV/STIs in “the south” compared to “the north”
    *The assumed fact (opinion states as fact):” This is due to the lack of health-care infrastructure in “the south”
    *Possible other facts:* Lots of “down low” due to more oppressive anti-homosexual sentiments in “the south” leading to riskier behaviors; Lack of prevention education (although this may be part of the health-care infrastructure);
    *The opinion:* That global health-care would solve all this.
    My Thoughts: I think global healthcare would make a doctors visit like a DMV visit, and while it may issue some PSA type education about STD prevention, there need to be cultural and educational changes to help fix things and the US government is just not efficient at bringing those things around. I’d wager that most gay black men aren’t even willing to admit they are gay until HIV or some other STI forces them to.

    *The opinion*: None of this has to do with my personal bias.
    *My Thoughts*: You’ve just described a crusade, that has everything to do with personal bias.

    I appreciate your message but your semantics are muddled. That’s what bugs me, you tend to throw out the evidence that supports your opinion and then label it as some sort of self evident reality when I know (and you probably do to) there are other factors. They are over-simplifications held with zeal run-amok and any other opinions or facts are thrown out because they don’t support the theory you hold dear.

    It’s the closed minded preaching for open-mindedness. It’s the cemented demanding flexibility.

  5. Pete says:

    yeah, the new yorker cover is completely satirical and most people will probably never read the insightful article. it’s the new yorker, for god’s sake. they know what they are doing.

    i can’t wait for the forum too, teddy! we should booze it up and whore it up. but it sounds like the forum will have serious tones, which is amazing to pull off considering the subject and it taking place at sidetrack. i guess not everybody can handle the destructive nature of alcohol. what a buzzkill.

    also, i was at the windy city black pride event with a co-worker who also won an award. it was a pleasant surprise to see FOF on the program. i accepted the award on your behalf and made a drunken acceptance speech to the peeps in the audience. that’s how i represent, bitch.

  6. Thanks Pete!

    epolonius, you sound like your suffering from AIDS hysteria. Get over it and move on.

  7. jimberly says:

    Here is the link to the Windy City Times article I mentioned above –

    Alcohol – Use of Abuse?

    An excellent launching pad for our discussion next week – and for LGBT folks all over to consider.

  8. jimberly says:

    It is endlessly fascinating how a stranger can read my mind – and ascribe all kinds of bullshit to what I say and write. Hear hear for the Second Amendment – and the right to be nuts!

  9. Teddy says:

    Jim, Thanks for the link!

    Pete, we’ll tear it up after the forum, as it is my birthday. Maybe we’ll just wait until post forum to go crazy! 馃槈

  10. valhum says:

    Oh lord and here i was thinking to come here and say that i find Pickett so handsome and i read all the drama, lol……oh well, some crush for u Pickett :oP

  11. valhum says:

    Oh Fausto, i have the same prob as you. My head is sooo big and i cannot ever find a damn hat that i can wear :o( lol.

  12. *sigh*

    It’s endlessly fascinating how people on this site assume I am attacking them and not their opinions.

    It’s endlessly fascinating that by the second round, people on this site start ignoring what I said and start attacking me personally, after saying I attacked them personally.

    IEF that I always manage to ferret out the one thing people hate to hear, and more often than not no-one can refute what I’m saying… only repeat what I originally questioned, louder.

  13. jimberly says:

    SIGH is right!

    I encourage all of us to re-read what we write and think about this attack issue…. How are our words coming across?

  14. jimberly says:

    Thx Valhum! It’s nice to feel good energy…

  15. Congratulation ! 800 shows. 馃檪
    (Chinese consider 8 as the lucky number. That’s why the Olympic games start on August 8th at 8 pm 2008)

    Alcohol should not be banned. If you want to ban alcohol then you have to ban fat food too. There are always people who don’t know wheat moderation means or just cannot take care for themselves and harm themselves.
    I like to drink from time to time a glass of wine, sparkling wine, gin tonic or a delicious cocktail. If you go out just don’t drink different stuff, stay with one kind of drink and don’t drink too much. Everyone should know how much he can drink.

    I still think it should be GLBT ! 馃槈

  16. valhum says:

    Anytime Jim 馃榾

  17. Matt says:

    Congrats on 800!!! Whoo hooo!! I think the communtity should either be referenced as the “Sexual Diversity Community” or “GLBT” the “G” should be first in the title “GLBT” b/c it can be a stand in for more then one sexual preference. Like what Ellen does, she says she is “Gay’ not a “Lesbian” although obviously she is either. I asked my boyfriend if he would be my “magical mexican” and he said, “No, I am to str8ish to be ‘magical” how about ‘magnificent’?” lol so I guess my boyfriend Gonzalo is my “Magnificent Mexican.” Great show guys!

  18. UiBriain says:

    I just got back from a concert where they played music out of his bell tower (carillon) and you sit on the grass around it and listen. Most of it sounds pretty atrocious, but then I heard a familiar tune.
    It was that Robert Schumann song that you made your own words to, the whole time I just kept thinking :
    Wake up
    Wake up
    Wake up wake up wake up
    get out of bed you sleepy head
    get up get upp

    all rise all rise
    and rub your weary eyes


    I still have the episode where you sang that on my ipod and listen to the first few minutes just for that song : )

  19. RcktMan says:

    Matty, what is your boyfriend’s name again? I’m not sure we all got that. Could you repeat it for us… Again?

    Oh I’m sorry… Great show guys. Jim, don’t listen to the haters. We’ve got your back. You present everything in such an interesting and entertaining way, and we love you for it.

    See you guys at the forum!

  20. Matt says:

    Gonzalo Lopez. My magnificant mexican. 馃檪 Why do you ask? lol

  21. RcktMan says:

    No particular reason.

  22. LOL! Maybe cuz you mention him in every post?

  23. I wrote the lyrics to bother my sister when we were teens… ah the cleverness of a young persons mind!

    We TORTURED each other with it.

    Pass on the love-

    Alternate Lyrics to “The Happy Farmer” by Robert Schuman
    by Fausto Fern贸s, age 12 (estimated age)

    Wake up! Wake up!
    Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!
    Get out of bed, you sleepy head,
    get up, get up!

    Arise, arise,
    and rub those weary eyes!

    Wake up! Wake up!
    Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!
    Get out of bed, you sleepy head,
    Get upppppppppp (scream real loud here)
    Get up!

  24. Today I torure marc with the song, I think he loves it.

  25. jimberly says:

    Big MWAH to you RCKTMAN! Glad you will be at the forum next week We would love to put some ofy your pics on LifeLube – that is, if you are planning to bring your Instamatic…

  26. Michael says:

    Congratulations on 800 shows, WHAT A MILESTONE!

  27. *huggles teh hedgehog*

    I love how in the New Yorker picture there is bacon cooking in the background

  28. I will have to say that one of Faulstos comments disturbed me a little. “And we know how white suburban males are just so exploded and abused in this world”

    That might have been the single most racist thing I’ve ever heard on this site…wait you where bashing whites so its not racist. A book like “things white people like” or whatever its called comes out and its funny,if a book called “things black people like” came out, it be racist. A white cop beats a black man and its racist, a black cop beats a white man and its justice. I’m sorry but thats the single most hypacritical thing I’ve ever heard.

  29. Google “hypacritical”, the first find is a Latino Pride site. I rest my case.

  30. Pp Nut- You don’t understand what racism is. Please refer to racism by the definition in the dictionary and not by what you infer it to mean.

    1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
    2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
    3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

  31. I know exactly what racism is. I think you misunderstand my point.

    I’m not calling Faulsto racist, just a ill thought out comment. I doubt he is capable of that. Think about it: If you pull a black man aside to see if his pants are hanging off his butt its likely seen as racist by the black man. But if it was done to the white man, its not.

    My point more is: Non white ethnicities can do something, and get away with it, but if a white person did that same thing, its racist.

    A Polynesian choir is diverse and a celebration of culture. A caucasian choir would be seen as racist. I know what racist is, a lot of people don’t. Understand what I am saying?

  32. You need to think about more about this part “the idea that one鈥檚 own race is superior and has the right to rule others.”

    These minority choirs motivation is not to keep the white man out but to build community among those who have cultural ties. They aren’t viewing the white man as a lesser human being and thereby excluding them from the choir. The motivation is completely different.

    The saggy pants dilemma is criticized because it targets young African American men- and practically nobody else.

  33. Spelling…errors…………destroying credibility. Must….proofread………!!

  34. My comment “we all know how white suburban males are so exploited and abused in this world” is meant to be ironic, because a lot of these guys have it good. Not everyone does, but a lot do.

    How’s that bigoted of me to point out (in sarcasm) the comfort and affluence of a certain demographic group?

  35. RcktMan says:

    I totally got the sarcasm and I think I even laughed out loud (literally) when you said it, Fausto. I don’t understand what the big deal is.

  36. Aw, probably because some peeps get screwed with, no matter who you are.

  37. Congratulations on winning the Black Pride Award!
    lol you don’t have to be African American to win the award, i’m glad you guys won, you are def. more deserving then some black queens I know!

  38. Thanks barbieboy07. We’re proud to get it!

  39. jimberly says:

    barbieboy07 – darling, are you old enough to come to our booze forum on wednesday?

  40. Jim-
    Sadly no, despite my years of experience drinking alcohol and seeing friends struggle with alcoholism, my age restricts me from bars.
    Sounds like a great discussion and i’d love to put in my two cents! I can’t wait for the podcast!

  41. jimberly says:

    That’s a damn shame. So yeah, put in your two cents on the podcast – and anytime you want on LifeLube’s comments as well. There is a post up right now promoting the forum – you could share a cent or two right there right now if you wanted….Your perspective as a young person is really important.

  42. I think maybe I snapped a bit quickly. I was just trying to point out the irony of how many people think. It’s really not a big deal. I didn’t mean to cause any problems, honestly. Life has just been suck tastic right now and I think I snapped at something I normally wouldn’t have cared about at all. Sorry Faulsto. I love you all!

    And P.S. Y’all should know by now I can’t spell, even when I proof read and use firefox.


  43. input your comment here…

  44. Whoops…I seem to be having issues. Ignore that 馃槢

  45. Marc – I agree with you about 95%. I do think my beef is with a specific minority of people who are racist on whites and feel everything done to them is racist. Which is no one on this podcast. Honestly, it’s only a problem I have REALLY seen in Utah. And a little bit in the rap music world. But I greatly dislike rap music. Anyway, no harm no foul.

  46. All drugs should be contraindicated for those diagnosed as hypochondriacs (and that should be disclosed in consumer advertising). LOL – could you see the commercials!

    Big PHARMA has never been interested in basic research for a host of disease states (beyond AIDS). Their role is to conduct final clinical trials and seek marketing rights. That is how the business structure has always worked and will for the foreseeable future. Indirectly, big PHARMA will fund promising treatments through corporate acquisition.

    My beef is with PHARMA is the orphan drugs that save lives but are not profitable for their portfolio. I just dealt with drug discontinuation where 1500 lives were put at risk for cardiovascular issues (King Pharmaceutical’s Procainbid). Think about those that have had lasting treatment for the last 20 years of their lives and then the unique compound being pulled due to “market issues” (not safety, efficacy). That’s pure evil!

    As to CDC recommendations not being implemented into the general population, that is the failure of the CDC (and Health and Human Services) to generate concepts without an implementation plan. CDC is a failure to the United States and it’s shown on many frontiers.

  47. Re: Baggy Pants and the Police, Words can’t begin to describe this situation:

  48. BrettC says:

    This episode PISSED me off….
    There was no SHOWGIRLS reference.

  49. jimberly says:

    And I LOVE doggy chow!

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