Postscript: David Rakoff
Posted by Hilton Als [New Yorker]
"Sometimes culture doesn’t help. Just as I sat down to write a few notes about something else, I learned that the writer and performer David Rakoff died last night, after a long struggle with cancer. I only knew David in the way some writers know one another in New York: at parties, across lecture halls. Our lengthiest conversations took place at a New Year’s party we attended each year. Once I ran into him at a performance of “Other Desert Cities,” and his e-mail to me about the production made me laugh so hard that there was no point in reviewing it.
But before all that, I met David at Columbia, when it was an all-boys school. We were both students then. This was in the early-to-mid nineteen-eighties, and to say that gay men were interested in, and terrified of, one another back then is to reduce the horror of the time: AIDS, parents checking out on their ill children, fear and loathing of other male bodies mixed in with desire. Back then, I stayed away from David, because of the sadness I saw in his eyes; I didn’t think I could take it. His sadness felt like the sadness I felt wandering through a world of broken bodies, dashed hopes, possibilities extinguished. ....."