By George Iles (editor)
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Extra resources for Library of Little Masterpieces in Forty-four Volumes: Autobiography (Volume 34 only)
The talk show has the title Thriving with AIDS, and consists of a staged interview between the host and Bordowitz, who here takes on the persona of Alter Allesman (Yiddish for ‘Old Everyman’), a PWA. Given the title of the show, and the introduction of Allesman as a “long-term survivor of AIDS,” viewers are led to expect that Allesman will charm us with his story of “surviving and thriving’ with AIDS; we are ready for a positive and uplifting narrative, filled with hope and determination. Instead, Allesman morbidly declares, “I'm sick and I don't want a cure.
At least in my ungoverned imagination I can fuck somebody without a rubber, or I can, in the privacy of my own skull, douse Helms with a bucket of gasoline and set his putrid ass on fire … These fantasies give me distance from my outrage for a few seconds” (qtd in Meyer 2002, 245). , 246). For Bordowitz, within the context of FTLD, this fantasy, which he expresses with anger, also forms part of his resistance to the need to self-censor for the greater good of the AIDS activist movement. The creation of Allesman was extremely significant for Bordowitz, who explains, “Splitting myself into two characters enabled me to act out versions of myself that I was afraid to show.
Egan agrees that this is important, “Because these genres foreground the plurality and processes of identity and of autobiography, they are also transformative; neither the person nor the text can reveal any single or final truth, but both can provide activities of interpretation, in which the reader is compelled to join” (1999, 226). ). For Bordowitz, however, both time and space are valuable in their own ways, and inform each other. While FTLD, for example, relies on the to and fro between past and present to reveal Bordowitz's staging of the multiple aspects of identity, it also creates a kind of map, or series of spatial intersections between them.