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Aaron Rodgers RFK Jr X Twitter.jpg

RFK Jr and Aaron Rodgers Should Shut Up About AIDS

By Chris Revelle | Politics | April 19, 2024 |

By Chris Revelle | Politics | April 19, 2024 |

Aaron Rodgers RFK Jr X Twitter.jpg

HIV and AIDS are not mysteries. We know what they are and we know how to treat them. Once considered a death sentence diagnosis, HIV/AIDS is not only treatable, but it’s possible to make it undetectable and therefore untransmissable. Preventative prescription medications such as Prep are commercially available and help people living with HIV/AIDS enjoy a sex life (if they so choose) without the specter of transmission hanging over them. While the topic of HIV/AIDS is an extremely charged one, understandably so, it is not a mystery.

We know how HIV is contracted and spread and we know the disease jumped from primates to humans in the early-to-mid 20th century. We also know how and why it spread and how it led to a crisis in America that raged throughout the 1980s and beyond, claiming the lives of millions of people: Reagan-led America ignored HIV/AIDS as an epidemic until many, many people died and then, when HIV/AIDS was taken seriously, it was with the caveat that there would be no genuine accountability and this situation birthed a slew of misguided and untrue myths about the whole terrible crisis. Add it to the list of terrible sins America has committed, but historically refused to reckon with in any comprehensive or meaningful way.

RFK Jr. is a melted action figure saved too late from the microwave and a spoiler presidential candidate running as a Democrat, despite being a raving lunatic with rather conservative values. Cheryl Hines’ husband is a real piece of work: he’s anti-vax, he’s a COVID-19 denialist/conspiracist, and he also believes that poppers caused the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Poppers, for any who don’t know, is an inhalant that makes you light-headed and loosens you up, usually for sex. It’s associated most commonly with gay men and poppers were most recently celebrated by Troye Sivan’s pop song “Rush.” I’m still side-eyeing Hines, especially now that she hosted a fundraiser for her anti-vax, Covid-denying, AIDS disinformation-spewing husband.

I’m sure some would prefer to split hairs over whether or not RFK Jr. is engaging in homophobia by blaming the spread of AIDS on “gay sex,” but I prefer to practice parsimony; to blame poppers for AIDS is to tacitly blame queer people for AIDS. RFK Jr. is as unserious a politician as Marjorie Taylor Greene, a muppet cursed with equal parts evil and foolishness. There is no cohesive body politick to be found with them, only a lamentable pile of rambles and shouts.

Speaking of sound and fury signifying nothing, Aaron Rodgers opened his big dumb mouth and wedded together AIDS conspiracism with Covid-19 conspiracism to bring us this whopper: Anthony Fauci colluded with big pharma to create HIV/AIDS so that they could make lots of money off treatments and he’s done it again with COVID-19. The hatred for Fauci as some kind of Covid-era boogeyman is so fucking tiresome, isn’t it? The man did his very difficult job of tackling and addressing Covid only to be vilified for it. All that because the idea of masking or getting a vaccine for the safety and well-being of the larger community was so threatening to Trumpers.

As Dustin said, shut up and dribble, but I don’t get the impression Rodgers is as invested in football as he is in celebrity. He was in the running to host Jeopardy (a bullet dodged) and appears to put more time into blathering harmful nonsense on podcasts than anything else. And why not? When you’re rich and over-validated, you probably notice that it’s way easier to just say whatever bullshit comes to mind, so that’s just what it seems like he’ll do.

If you asked each of these public dolts why they’re broadcasting harmful and untrue conspiracy theories, you’d probably get two different answers. As is the way of such deeply pathetic people who will do or say anything to be loved by conservative edgelords on the internet (see also: Elon Musk, Donald Trump), they both likely have some internal narrative that justifies this bullshit. While the impact of sharing this disinformation is harmful, I think these two public figures are disseminating these absurd “theories” because of the potent lure of the conspiracy theory. There’s a certain intoxicating allure to them: they can be one of the few who know the truth. They cast themselves as martyrs in a persecution fantasy in which they are Cassandras shouting the truth from the rooftops to keep it from falling under the heel of the new world order. It’s also telling that neither man can accept the simple truth of things and understand it was not some sexy shadowy conspiracy that allowed the AIDS epidemic, but human cruelty. It is not difficult to imagine either small-minded man seeking a more lurid and fanciful reality where they’re like Prometheus, bringing fire to mortals, consequences be damned. But trite, shallow-pool, weak-tea fantasy is all they have to offer.

For all these reasons, both men need to shut the fuck up about AIDS. There’s enough misinformation and stigma out there without them adding more to it and that damage is not worth two bored rich men playing their cops-and-robbers games.