In this Book

The Nearness of Others
summary


“Funny how a gay man’s hand resting heavily on your shoulder used to say let’s fuck but now means let’s not. Funny how ostensible nearness really betrays distance sometimes.” —from The Nearness of Others



In 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’s 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.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Quote
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-xii
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  1. Diagnosis
  2. pp. 1-2
  1. I Got Slim
  2. pp. 3-5
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  1. Footnotes
  2. pp. 6-6
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  1. RB on TB
  2. pp. 7-7
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  1. All AIDS, All the Time!
  2. pp. 8-8
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  1. It Is Tempting to Forget
  2. pp. 9-10
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  1. Nights You Can’t Sleep
  2. pp. 11-11
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  1. Depression Is Crazy
  2. pp. 12-13
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  1. Depression and Life
  2. pp. 14-14
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  1. Depression and Metaphor
  2. pp. 15-15
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  1. Passing
  2. pp. 16-16
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  1. Depression and Incongruity
  2. pp. 17-17
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  1. Depressed Thinking
  2. pp. 18-18
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  1. Making Sense
  2. pp. 19-20
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  1. Political Discomfort
  2. pp. 21-24
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  1. Thinking of Bleeding
  2. pp. 25-25
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  1. Kids Say the Darndest Things
  2. pp. 26-26
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  1. Negative Logic and a Positive Point of View
  2. pp. 27-28
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  1. “How Can Plain Curiosity Be Unkind? ”
  2. pp. 29-29
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  1. Towel Stories (I)
  2. pp. 30-30
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  1. Diabetes? Cholesterol? Something Else?
  2. pp. 31-32
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  1. The AIDS Crisis Is Not Over
  2. pp. 33-33
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  1. Speaking of HIV
  2. pp. 34-37
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  1. Old Friends, New Friends
  2. pp. 38-38
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  1. Famous Last Words
  2. pp. 39-39
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  1. Tough as Nail Polish
  2. pp. 40-40
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  1. No Therapy
  2. pp. 41-41
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  1. Unspoken Knowledge
  2. pp. 42-42
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  1. From Hervé Guibert’s Hospital Diary (I)
  2. pp. 43-43
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  1. Hospital Visits
  2. pp. 44-46
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  1. From Hervé Guibert’s Hospital Diary (II)
  2. pp. 47-47
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  1. Star Entrance
  2. pp. 48-48
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  1. Star Exit
  2. pp. 49-49
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  1. The Dream Sequence
  2. pp. 50-51
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  1. I Died a Thousand Deaths (All of Them Gorgeous)
  2. pp. 52-52
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  1. Others
  2. pp. 53-54
  1. The New World
  2. pp. 55-55
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  1. Three Thousand Deaths in One Day
  2. pp. 56-56
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  1. Waiting
  2. pp. 57-58
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  1. Nearness and Neighborliness
  2. pp. 59-62
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  1. Beckoning and Appealing
  2. pp. 63-66
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  1. Incomplete Strangers
  2. pp. 67-67
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  1. Ground Zero
  2. pp. 68-68
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  1. “I’m Going to Die, Aren’t I?”
  2. pp. 69-69
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  1. Happy Hour at the Cox
  2. pp. 70-71
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  1. Naked Arab Bodies
  2. pp. 72-73
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  1. S- 21
  2. pp. 74-75
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  1. The Modernity of Torture
  2. pp. 76-76
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  1. The E.R. Episode
  2. pp. 77-77
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  1. Truth and Torture
  2. pp. 78-79
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  1. Dining with French People
  2. pp. 80-86
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  1. Encountering the Strange
  2. pp. 87-89
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  1. Times Square Lost
  2. pp. 90-90
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  1. In the City and Out
  2. pp. 91-91
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  1. From Public Schools to Public Pools
  2. pp. 92-93
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  1. Particular Bodies
  2. pp. 94-96
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  1. The Falling Man
  2. pp. 97-99
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  1. Towel Stories (II)
  2. pp. 100-100
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  1. One Drop of Blood
  2. pp. 101-106
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  1. Disclosure
  2. pp. 107-108
  1. Shame and Experience
  2. pp. 109-109
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  1. The Doorstep of Shame
  2. pp. 110-110
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  1. Forget Your Health
  2. pp. 111-113
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  1. Disclosures and Surfaces
  2. pp. 114-114
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  1. Obama’s Disclosures, Forever Deferred
  2. pp. 115-116
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  1. Chat (I)
  2. pp. 117-117
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  1. Chat (II)
  2. pp. 118-118
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  1. Adventures in Online Cruising
  2. pp. 119-126
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  1. On the Question of Barebacking, Very Briefly
  2. pp. 127-128
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  1. Coda to the Story of k***
  2. pp. 129-130
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  1. Touchiness
  2. pp. 131-131
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  1. Reason to Exclude
  2. pp. 132-132
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  1. The Stories of AIDS
  2. pp. 133-134
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  1. Academic Talk
  2. pp. 135-136
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  1. A Brief History of HIV/AIDS Disclosure
  2. pp. 137-140
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  1. Founding Mothers
  2. pp. 141-142
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  1. Look Back in Anger (When AIDS Was All the Rage)
  2. pp. 143-143
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  1. Uttering AIDS
  2. pp. 144-147
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  1. Where’s the Police When You Need ’Em?
  2. pp. 148-149
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  1. What I Said and How I Said It
  2. pp. 150-156
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  1. The Purloined Letter
  2. pp. 157-157
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  1. So Am I
  2. pp. 158-160
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  1. Small Talk
  2. pp. 161-161
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  1. The Story of the Raconteurs
  2. pp. 162-163
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  1. Compatible Discordance
  2. pp. 164-170
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  1. The Battlefield of the Body
  2. pp. 171-180
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  1. Dysclosure
  2. pp. 181-186
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  1. Towel Stories (III)
  2. pp. 187-188
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  1. Taste
  2. pp. 189-190
  1. Intimacy in Public
  2. pp. 191-192
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  1. Accounting for Taste
  2. pp. 193-196
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  1. Reembodiment and Discomfort
  2. pp. 197-199
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  1. Reentering the Movie Theater
  2. pp. 200-208
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  1. Moving in Queer Circles
  2. pp. 209-215
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  1. Spaces, People, and Actions (I)
  2. pp. 216-217
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  1. The Return of Tosca (Entr’acte)
  2. pp. 218-219
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  1. Spaces, People, and Actions (II)
  2. pp. 220-224
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  1. Again, Where Are the Police?
  2. pp. 225-232
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  1. Tact
  2. pp. 233-234
  1. My Contact in the Underground
  2. pp. 235-238
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  1. Hostile Bodies (and the People Who Love Them)
  2. pp. 239-241
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  1. Sharing: From Disclosure to Tact
  2. pp. 242-243
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  1. Tact and Delicacy (I)
  2. pp. 244-244
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  1. Tactlessness
  2. pp. 245-245
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  1. Tactful Encounters
  2. pp. 246-251
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  1. Tact and Delicacy (II)
  2. pp. 252-255
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  1. The Shower Scene
  2. pp. 256-256
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  1. Tact and Delicacy (III)
  2. pp. 257-258
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  1. Tact, Power, and the Police (I)
  2. pp. 259-265
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  1. Tact, Power, and the Police (II)
  2. pp. 266-270
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  1. Tact and Contamination
  2. pp. 271-273
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  1. Tact and Silence
  2. pp. 274-277
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  1. Tact and Failure
  2. pp. 278-279
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  1. Tact and Unreason
  2. pp. 280-280
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  1. The Kindness of Strangers
  2. pp. 281-282
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  1. Sunday in the Park with . . . ?
  2. pp. 283-284
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  1. The Yellow Star
  2. pp. 285-290
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  1. Tact as Social Music Making
  2. pp. 291-296
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  1. A Fart Joke from Proust
  2. pp. 297-298
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  1. Touch and Other Senses
  2. pp. 299-299
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  1. Immodesty
  2. pp. 300-302
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  1. Reentering the Movie Theater’s Restroom
  2. pp. 303-304
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  1. Tact and Intimation
  2. pp. 305-305
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  1. Found Objects (I): Tact and Bearing Witness as Forms of Bricolage
  2. pp. 306-308
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  1. Tactfulness to the Dead
  2. pp. 309-309
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  1. Found Objects (II): Some Beauty
  2. pp. 310-312
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  1. Contact
  2. pp. 313-314
  1. Leaving the Door Open
  2. pp. 315-315
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  1. The Unexpected Coda: May 24, 2011
  2. pp. 316-318
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  1. Names
  2. pp. 319-322
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 323-334
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 335-342
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  1. About the Author
  2. pp. 343-343
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