Occasion: Movie, "Longtime Companion"
As good as I thought the movie was, I didn't find it especialy compelling as far as a truth in society goes.
What I did find interesting, however, was something I observed in the audience (particularly two people who sat
beside me and shall remain anonymous).
At the beginning of the movie there was a lot of open homosexual intimacy, and the anonymous movigoers beside me kept making rude, obnoxious noises whenever two men were seen so much as touching each other. Over the course of the movie, however, as more people became sick and died, the obnoxious noises gradually stopped. It led me to re-think an idea I kicked around a while back, that people, whatever their feelings or prejudices toward a given group may be, can develop empathy even for that group. Whatever you may think of gay people, so long as you have a shred of humanity and decency and compassion in you, when you watch them suffer and die at the hands of a relentless disease you can't helpt but accept them, at the very least in the sense that 'they're just as vulnerable and capable of suffering as anyone else.'
No matter the differences that divide us, one thing can and almost certainly will always serve to unite us: our capacity for pain, to inflict it, and to suffer it. As a people, we can be incredibly hurtful, but I can't help but admire and wonder at how tragedy can bring us together. It's unfortunate that it often takes shared suffering to bring together the ever diverging factions of our society, but at least SOMETHING can do it. And if a common pain can bring us together long enough, who knows, we might just get to know each other again and start seeing what we have in common before we see the stupid, meaningless little differences that set us apart.