\u201cFunny how a gay man\u2019s hand resting heavily on your shoulder used to say let\u2019s fuck but now means let\u2019s not. Funny how ostensible nearness really betrays distance sometimes.\u201d -from The Nearness of OthersIn this radical, genre-bending narrative, David Caron tells the story of his 2006 HIV diagnosis and its aftermath. On one level, The Nearness of Others is a personal account of his struggle as a gay, HIV-positive man with the constant issue of if, how, and when to disclose his status. But searching for various forms of contact eventually leads to a profound reassessment of tact as a way to live and a way to think, with our bodies and with the bodies of others.In a series of brief, compulsively readable sections that are by turns moving and witty, Caron recounts his wary yet curious exploration of an unfamiliar medical universe at once hostile and protective as he embarks on a new life of treatment without end. He describes what it is like to live with a disease that is no longer a death sentence but continues to terrify many people as if it were. In particular, living with HIV provides an unexpected opportunity to reflect on an age of terror and war, when fear and suspicion have become the order of the day. Most of all, Caron reminds us that disclosing HIV-positive status is still far from easy, least of all in one of the many states-such as his own-that have criminalized nondisclosure and/or exposure.Going well beyond Caron\u2019s personal experience, The Nearness of Others examines popular culture and politics as well as literary memoirs and film to ask deeper philosophical questions about our relationships with others. Ultimately, Caron eloquently demonstrates a form of disclosure, sharing, and contact that stands against the forces working to separate us.
David Caron is professor of French and women's studies at the University of Michigan. He is the author of AIDS in French Culture: Social Ills, Literary Cures and My Father and I: The Marais and the Queerness of Community.
Contents Diagnosis I Got Slim Footnotes RB on TB All AIDS, All the Time! It Is Tempting to Forget Nights You Can't Sleep Depression Is Crazy Depression and Life Depression and Metaphor Passing Depression and Incongruity Depressed Thinking Making Sense Political Discomfort Thinking of Bleeding Kids Say the Darndest Things Negative Logic and a Positive Point of View "How Can Plain Curiosity Be Unkind?" Towel Stories (I) Diabetes? Cholesterol? Something Else? The AIDS Crisis Is Not Over Speaking of HIV Old Friends, New Friends Famous Last Words Tough as Nail Polish No Therapy Unspoken Knowledge From Herve Guibert's Hospital Diary (I) Hospital Visits From Herve Guibert's Hospital Diary (II) Star Entrance Star Exit The Dream Sequence I Died a Thousand Deaths (All of Them Gorgeous) Others The New World Three Thousand Deaths in One Day Waiting Nearness and Neighborliness Beckoning and Appealing Incomplete Strangers Ground Zero "I'm Going to Die, Aren't I?" Happy Hour at the Cox Naked Arab Bodies S-21 Shaming the Torturers The Modernity of Torture The E.R. Episode Truth and Torture Dining with French People Encountering the Strange Times Square Lost In the City and Out From Public Schools to Public Pools Particular Bodies The Falling Man Towel Stories (II) One Drop of Blood Disclosure Shame and Experience The Doorstep of Shame Forget Your Health Disclosures and Surfaces Obama's Disclosures, Forever Deferred Chat (I) Chat (II) Adventures in Online Cruising On the Question of Barebacking, Very Briefly Coda to the Story of K*** Touchiness Reason to Exclude The Stories of AIDS Academic Talk A Brief History of HIV/AIDS Disclosure Founding Mothers Look Back in Anger (When AIDS Was All the Rage) Uttering AIDS Where's the Police When You Need 'Em? What I Said and How I Said It The Purloined Letter So Am I Small Talk I Know, It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, But . . . Compatible Discordance The Battlefield of the Body Dysclosure Towel Stories (III) Taste Intimacy in Public Accounting for Taste Reembodiment and Discomfort Reentering the Movie Theater Moving in Queer Circles Spaces, People, and Actions (I) The Return of Tosca (Entr'acte) Spaces, People, and Actions (II) Again, Where's the Police? Tact My Contact in the Underground Hostile Bodies (and the People Who Love Them) Sharing: From Disclosure to Tact Tact and Delicacy (I) Tactlessness Tactful Encounters Tact and Delicacy (II) The Shower Scene Tact and Delicacy (III) Tact, Power, and the Police (I) Tact, Power, and the Police (II) Tact and Contamination Tact and Silence Tact and Failure Tact and Unreason The Kindness of Strangers Sunday in the Park with . . . ? The Yellow Star Tact as Social Musicmaking A Fart Joke from Proust Touch and Other Senses Immodesty Reentering the Movie Theater's Restroom Tact and Intimation Found Objects (I): Tact and Bearing Witness as Forms of Bricolage Tactfulness to the Dead Found Objects (II): Some Beauty Contact Leaving the Door Open The Unexpected Coda: May 24, 2011 Acknowledgments Notes Bibli