"Rushdie has said that one of his aims in writing Joseph Anton was to be ‘tougher’ on himself ‘than on anybody else.’ This is a steep ambition for any memoirist and quite possibly an unrealistic one for a man as tenacious in his grudges as Rushdie. When faced with a choice between exercising magnanimity and exacting long-awaited revenge, the author of Joseph Anton almost invariably opts for the latter.

"Some of his most egregiously uncharitable moments occur when writing about his four marriages. Rushdie has a habit of excusing his own fairly frequent infidelities and betrayals with reference to the imperative nature of his own desires. The various failings of the wives—their money-grubbing and nagging, their jealousy of his talent, and so on—are not so readily excused."

Zoë Heller on Salman Rushdie’s memoir

Photo: Salman Rushdie, Brick Lane, London, 1988 (Gilles Peress/Magnum Photos)

"Rushdie has said that one of his aims in writing Joseph Anton was to be ‘tougher’ on himself ‘than on anybody else.’ This is a steep ambition for any memoirist and quite possibly an unrealistic one for a man as tenacious in his grudges as Rushdie. When faced with a choice between exercising magnanimity and exacting long-awaited revenge, the author of Joseph Anton almost invariably opts for the latter.

"Some of his most egregiously uncharitable moments occur when writing about his four marriages. Rushdie has a habit of excusing his own fairly frequent infidelities and betrayals with reference to the imperative nature of his own desires. The various failings of the wives—their money-grubbing and nagging, their jealousy of his talent, and so on—are not so readily excused."

Zoë Heller on Salman Rushdie’s memoir

Photo: Salman Rushdie, Brick Lane, London, 1988 (Gilles Peress/Magnum Photos)

Bill Hayes, AIDS at 30: A Time Capsule

In the late eighties, coworkers and I at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation came up with an idea to get people—gay men, in particular—thinking about the future. We decided to create a time capsule. But it would not contain kitschy souvenirs—gadgets and record albums and the like. Instead, the AIDS Time Capsule would house answers to a simple question:

What message would you send to people 50 years from now about your experiences during the epidemic?

In June of 1990, we set up a booth at the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade. Crowds cheered marchers nearby on Market Street, yet the mood was somber within our humid vinyl tent. Whenever I looked up from our table, arrayed with pencils and paper, I saw a steady flow of men waiting patiently in a line that did not shorten until the parade ended and the fog rolled in. Single men, couples, and groups of friends, pumped-up, sun-burned, half-undressed, young men propped on canes and leather-daddies in wheelchairs: all waiting to send a note to the future.

I left the AIDS Foundation well over a dozen years ago, and I moved from San Francisco to New York two years back. I have no idea whether the AIDS Time Capsule has survived safely someplace; our idea of a “capsule” was a taped-up cardboard box. Fortunately, however, before we packed up the more than 500 messages, I made Xerox copies of a number of them. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of AIDS on June 5, I pulled them out for the first time in two decades and took a look at them.

Photo: Hospice of Marin County, 1982 (Paul Fusco/Magnum Photos)

Bill Hayes, AIDS at 30: A Time Capsule

In the late eighties, coworkers and I at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation came up with an idea to get people—gay men, in particular—thinking about the future. We decided to create a time capsule. But it would not contain kitschy souvenirs—gadgets and record albums and the like. Instead, the AIDS Time Capsule would house answers to a simple question:

What message would you send to people 50 years from now about your experiences during the epidemic?

In June of 1990, we set up a booth at the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade. Crowds cheered marchers nearby on Market Street, yet the mood was somber within our humid vinyl tent. Whenever I looked up from our table, arrayed with pencils and paper, I saw a steady flow of men waiting patiently in a line that did not shorten until the parade ended and the fog rolled in. Single men, couples, and groups of friends, pumped-up, sun-burned, half-undressed, young men propped on canes and leather-daddies in wheelchairs: all waiting to send a note to the future.

I left the AIDS Foundation well over a dozen years ago, and I moved from San Francisco to New York two years back. I have no idea whether the AIDS Time Capsule has survived safely someplace; our idea of a “capsule” was a taped-up cardboard box. Fortunately, however, before we packed up the more than 500 messages, I made Xerox copies of a number of them. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of AIDS on June 5, I pulled them out for the first time in two decades and took a look at them.

Photo: Hospice of Marin County, 1982 (Paul Fusco/Magnum Photos)