I wrote before about South African HIV/AIDS activists’ concerns that FIFA would block condom distribution at the World Cup. Today, as the the first match started, The Washington Post reported that FIFA has responded to the outcry and reiterated its support of efforts to distribute 1 million condoms during the tournament, although on Tuesday the groups on the ground were still dissatisfied with FIFA’s policies.
In my efforts to find the latest news, I came across this little, dismissive blog on NewsBusters (the folks taking on the Herculean job of “documenting, exposing and neutralizing” a “liberal media bias” that doesn’t actually exist) about how silly and “interesting” it is that the WaPo article called condoms “the tournament’s most essential accessory.”
Writer Tim Graham begins with:
Thursday’s Washington Post Express tabloid carried the headline “Health Activists Eye World Cup.” When the world “health” breaks in before “activist,” sadly, you can often define that as a sly euphemism you could replace more accurately with “sex.”
“Health activists” in this case refers to an alliance of 10 leading South African HIV/AIDS groups, including the South African National AIDS Council, which is chaired by the Deputy President of South Africa. These groups work in a country where 5.7 million of its 49.1 million residents, or 12 percent of the population, is HIV-positive. In some regions, one in five adults is infected. Maybe Tim Graham should go talk to one of those 5.7 million people about what it’s like to live with AIDS before dismissing the health effects of the worst pandemic in modern history with a cheap joke about—wink, wink—sex. I’m guessing they could tell him in pretty stark terms—without relying on “sly euphemisms.”
He continues (emphasis his):
Post reporter Liz Clarke offered an interesting definition of the tournament’s most essential accessory, which isn’t cleats or Gatorade or even sunscreen:
“Slathered in face paint, toting samba drums and waving national flags, the world’s most ardent soccer fans are streaming into South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. And they’re being met by a host of reminders not to forget the tournament’s most essential accessory: a condom.”
I think this is supposed to funny or something? Like, it’s totally ludicrous that in a country with the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world, condoms might beat out sunscreen on the list of “Things To Not Forget”?
Tim ends with the real kicker (emphasis mine):
She forwarded how AIDS activists pressured FIFA, the World Cup organizers, of being “half-hearted” in condom promotion, and noted Cape Town hoteliers are offering condoms with the slogan “Play It Safe in Cape Town.” Then Clarke offered an update. FIFA bowed to the sexual entitlement mentality: free condoms have now been offered in eight-packs for women (do they each have a day of the week inscribed?)
Tim, I’m gonna edit you a little bit based on reality. “FIFA bowed to
the sexual entitlement mentality pressure by local activists and public health experts to do their small part to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS at a huge sporting event that has brought hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world to South Africa: free condoms have now been offered in eight-packs for women (do they each have a day of the week inscribed?) (and that’s probably the least they could do.)”
In my opinion, people like Tim Graham—people who can’t write about condoms (even in the context of the goddamn AIDS epidemic) without jumping to “sex” instead of “health”, people who hear “free condoms” and think “sexual entitlement mentality” instead of “access to life-saving protection for some of the world’s poorest people”—represent all that is wrong in the world.
Tim, you and your ilk’s backward attitude towards safe sex has contributed to a crisis that these health (sorry, I mean, “sex”) activists are desperately to address 8 fucking days a week. You should be ashamed.