Apocalyptic vs. Millennial

In an apocalyptical viewing society the positive figures are looked at to be wishing for the millennium. A millennium is a span of thousands of years, can be related to a new start, whereas an apocalyptical time can be related to disaster and cut offs. Throughout the HBO movie Angeles In America, and the chapter on “The Millennium and Postmodern Memory” in the book Approaching the Millennium, you see a ton of different altercations with characters and their viewpoints towards the future that branch off from their present situations.

One of the main characters throughout the movie is a man named Roy. He is a very highly known political figure who is close with Joe. Roy has a hard time with coming out of the closet and accepting the person he truly is. During the scene when he is meeting with his doctor, the doctor has some bad news. The news shocks Roy and he immediately says his diagnosis, Aids, was absurdly chosen. He confesses that he is heterosexual, not homosexual, and the disease Aids is only linked to the gay community, which would exclude him.

Roy explains to the doctor that, “ [I am a] heterosexual who fucks with guys” (HBO Film; Angles In America). Overall, this is his initial fighting case to ride himself of the threat of having picked up Aids. He comes back with the fighting idea that his disease is not Aids at all, but a form of liver cancer. Seeing his reaction you can point out his insecurities, hopelessness of being himself, and overall fear of viewpoints that would be directed to him for choosing same sex relations as his sexual choice.

Roy overrules his case, and does not connect his illness to Aids. This is a way of rejection, eliminating the bad out of your life and seeing towards a brighter future. Roy, on one hand is dabbling into the millennial point of view of better days to come instead of counting the days you have left. Neglect and cutting of a disease that he says he would never contract is his way of saying my body is healthy and I will not be labeled to lower my social standing in the public eye. On the other hand neglecting who he actual is, a homosexual with a serious case of Aids is a way to shut off positivity. Deep down, without accepting ones being, you constantly fear for what is going to happen next. Non-acceptance in oneself and non-acceptance in a disease you most definitely carry is overall a way of oneself shying away for what is coming next—apocalypse. Destruction as you know it, death.

“Gays, of course, have formed a particular and recurrent target of apocalyptic discourse: sex between men has long been associated with end times” (Kruger, 179). End times are the cut off of continuation, death. Aids, being an immune system killer and rapidly spreading disease that has formed first within the gay community, they have been known to face apocalyptic experiences. Not only with being an outcast in society, a person known to carry a dreadful disease, but also a humiliation which makes them feel non confident. All these sectors in the gay community limit them to deep down feel acceptance, which is why apocalyptical occurrences are numerous in their lives. Dreading, fear, and being unsure are all key to describing an apocalypse, there terms can also be used towards homosexuals who are not fully confident with their life choice because in many eyes it’s a sin.

Overall the movie and the book connect with the viewpoints and life choice of many of the characters. Facing hard times such as figuring one self out, Aids, and or separation in a relationship are present throughout the movie. These situations are highlighted with ideas that the future looks dreadful and lonely which leads to an apocalyptic view, end times. On the positive side Harper sees it as “When the Millennium comes…the fountain of Bethesda will flow again…we will bathe ourselves clean” (Kruger, 182). This positivity in a brighter future leaves Harper to move on, to want a new star at a new life. Ultimately eliminating the end times, because in her mind those are not considered a part of new life, but a wall in the wall of discovering happiness on the other side.

 Work Cited

  • Geis, Deborah R., and Steven F. Kruger. “The Millenium and Postmodern Memory.” Approaching the Millenniums: Essays on Angels in America. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan, 1997. 151-69. Print.
  • Mike Nichols. Dir. Perf. Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeffrey Wright, Justin Kirk, Ben Shenkman, Patrick Wilson. Angels in America. New York, NY: HBO Video, 2003.
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One Response to Apocalyptic vs. Millennial

  1. Hi Delaney,
    You brought up a lot of interesting ideas in your paper. I liked how you analyzed Roy’s struggle with his acceptance of his sexual orientation and his illness. You further develop this thought about how Roy tries to face the millenium by talking about how his past still haunts him.

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