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Sat May 12, 2012, 12:15 AM

I just saw a picture of the new anti-HIV drug

It's called Truvada, and it's being prescribed off-label to prevent HIV infection. All well and good.

But having read The Handmaid's Tale, I find it more than a bit creepy that this drug has "Gilead" written on the side of the tablets.

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Reply I just saw a picture of the new anti-HIV drug (Original post)
jmowreader May 2012 OP
Duer 157099 May 2012 #1
jmowreader May 2012 #6
SwampG8r May 2012 #2
Kaite12 May 2012 #3
xchrom May 2012 #4
Bluenorthwest May 2012 #5

Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 12:18 AM

1. Having not read The Handmaid's Tale

I'm not sure why Gilead is so sinister.

It is the name of a biotech company, presumably that developed the drug. Gilead Biosciences. Or at least it used to be called that.

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Response to Duer 157099 (Reply #1)

Sat May 12, 2012, 06:34 PM

6. Gilead is the name of the country in The Handmaid's Tale

Very short synopsis: The United States had fought a nuclear war that destroyed the government and, in the process, made all the rich and powerful men sterile. These men gathered together to form a theocracy, and their first act was to rename the United States after the Gilead region in the Bible. Apparently the war wiped out most of the workers and peasants, so the ruling class decided to repopulate their country with the seed of their loins. Since none of the ruling class men's dicks worked anymore, their wives were not able to get pregnant. But since these men couldn't come to terms with the fact their dicks didn't work, they decided the only solution was to enslave all the young women of childbearing age because, obviously, their wives not being able to get pregnant by sterile men was their wives' fault. Each ruling class man, who was called a Commander, was issued a young woman of childbearing age, who was called a Handmaid. And of course they had to be fucked once a month in this big elaborate ceremony where the Commander's wife sat on the bed, the Handmaid lay on the bed with her head in the Commander's wife's lap, and the Commander in the expected place. The Handmaids had to live according to this rigid prescribed lifestyle that dictated the activities they could do, the food they could eat and probably the air they could breathe.

If the Handmaids didn't get pregnant from this they were banished to a prison camp, or executed (which one I'm not really sure of, Margaret Atwood, the author, kinda left this to the imagination)
If they used a fertile man, like a doctor (doctors seemed to all be fertile) to get pregnant they were banished or executed AND the guy who fathered the child was beaten to death by other Handmaids at the direction of female Gestapo agents called Marthas.
If they got pregnant by the Commander and it was not perfect, the child was killed (the term in the book for a child with birth defects was a "shredder" so you figure out what happened) and the Handmaid was banished or executed.

I think the fundamentalists we have to put up with read The Handmaid's Tale and The Jungle and decided those were models for a great society instead of works of warning.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 12:19 AM

2. there are no coincidences

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 04:14 AM

3. Spam deleted by Violet_Crumble (MIR Team)

 

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 05:55 AM

4. It's not new. It's part of the cocktail for folk w/ HIV.

It has an added benefit - if 1 uses it correctly.

If you're uninflected it can really help you stay that way.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 07:06 AM

5. Before I read Atwood, I knew the word 'Gilead' from such literary sorces as the Bible,

 

Edgar Allen Poe, Stephen King, Lanford Wilson.....Atwood was just yet another to make use of the allusion, in her case she did take a traditional Spiritual about 'Balm In Gilead' and change 'balm' to 'bomb' and if you ask me, that's why she, like many others, called her fictional land by that name. 'Balm In Gilead' is a Biblical phrase, the title of Wilson's play and the title of a Riki Lee Jones Album.
Not sure if that de-creeps the word, but there sure is a reading list that goes with it!

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