Jon, I'm speechless.

I know that the words "thank you" are almost beside the point, as you didn't write this to be nice. Yet the gratitude on my end is profound. I've gotten by without "confidence" but with a kind of blind compulsion. You raise many difficult and important issues: What happens to a writer who becomes an object of derision? They're supposed to admit defeat and stop writing.

I have spent most of my career, since late 80s, ducking and shielding from blows aimed at my worthiness as a journalist, and being a target for fear and loathing. From intra-office coup attempts, to pharma paid (I am certain) federal court cases, to occult blood rituals placed online to death and murder fantasies, to a 20 year stalker campaign from "our" side seeking to punish any *other* journalist who takes me seriously at all. (They hear from him in all caps, screaming his head off.)

This person, around 2007, aimed shrapnel at me in a public forum with words that almost did cause me to quit. "Atrocious" on "the science," an "embarrassment to all HIV dissidents," and "embarrassment" to the gay community, and my Harper's article 2006 an abysmal failure, not even fish wrap. Not only because it didn't include The Perth Group. A little bit of minutae: It DID. They requested to be removed from the article. You get my point: I could NOT WIN. I was never "safe," never skidding into home base, with a "good enough" feeling of any kind. I should "get the hell out," of the arena. I was making everything worse for the ones who were smart, could think, were good on "the science." It was to be a matter of the Grand Prize being carried off by people who can with Talmudic accuracy describe shadows of shadows of the shadow virus HIV and detail precisely HOW that which does not exist does not exist.

When I could breathe and see the screen through tears of humiliation, I defended myself on grounds I am not competing as a science writer. I said I am trying to be a writer-writer, and tell human stories. Tell of scientist's lamentations and mother's losses and whistleblower's shocks. The Gallo/Fauci AIDS Inc landscape.

Silence. I literally stumbled away from the screen, thinking I might fall dead.

I lit a candle, and called Robert Crumb, who sat with me on the phone until I could speak in coherent sentences again. But a major series of living wounds had been inflicted, regardless of how I might try to intellectualize or "consider the source." Elias Canetti calls this "the sting," and he describes, in "Crowds and Power" how it becomes a living thing, with a memory, trying to "reverse" itself and exit the flesh.

Every time I try to write about the extreme bullying, I delete it. I may even delete this comment.

Self pity is the worst. How to avoid it and be true to the record? Never mention it? I wanted to *understand* it.

But the thing is, Jon, you are not ever just writing about what you seem to be writing about. The light comes out from dimensions not so apparent at first glance.

The world is consumed with psychosis about "gender." I arrived in the US from Sweden in 1984, "gender leveled," by the social engineers over there. Neither male nor female. Only when the blows landed did I ponder the possibility that I was not the right thing.

But today you have allowed me to swim to the surface, like the Japanese goldfish 10 years ago who hid in an aquarium filter since it was thrown into the tank as pirhana food as a baby, and fed on falling scraps. When it was rescued, it had no "gold." The gold on the scales develops from sunlight.

Japanese tourists came to visit the pale fish, it became a symbol of something everybody understood. I wrote about the Japanese fish, in yet another passage I hid or deleted.

As for the boys club of media, truth is I was never truly invited, not even after OJ, except briefly. Esquire asked me for one more piece after that. Would I be willing to write a tortured essay about my body—kid you not. I'll spare you further details, and I was never one to whine about misogyny. I just wanted to work.

And finally, finally, Substack arrived like the cavalry. I found my readers, my exodus from the sunless filter, all the hiding and surviving. We meet here, around this campfire, and all our intermediaries are elsewhere.

Sunlight still feels uncomfortable. Praise and attack can feel the same—one should believe neither. But to have one of the greatest living writers describe what he sees in my work, this feels like an antidote to all of it, a way to shed it all, and move forward, and close the portals with all the screeching gargoyles. Maybe even laugh.

Thank you, Jon. You didn't need to do this but you did.

If I don't use it as a healing moment, I'm only helping our shared opposition.

ps. I might delete this. This isn't how a winning Boxer speaks. Or is it?

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when one has the chance to join the "private club" that George Carlin often referred to, but turns it down flat, that is something to be admired. kudos to both you and to Celia.

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I'm reading her Serious Adverse Book, An Uncensored History of Aids and enjoying reading on such a topic. Very descriptive and she's magical in her dealings. I bought 10 extra copies and like handing them out to bring folks up to speed.

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I whole-heartedly and whole-mindedly agree Jon. Celia is the real deal. Her writing is brilliant but not tidy, precise but not cautious, provocative but not salacious. Everything she investigates she absorbs not just into her mind but into the whole of her bodily humanity. I love her writing for the same reason I love yours: it's always a full throttle, deep dive, dot-connecting, thought provoking ride. She doesn't know how to betray herself and for that she has my utmost respect. She may not see it this way but my observation is that when she walks into a room, the men-mites start shaking in their boots. They see her intelligence. It's hard to miss. I've witnessed it at various events. It shows up in how she listens when people speak to her. She listens with her eyes, not just her ears. Her presence is disarming. She radiates intelligence, warmth and a quiet strength. And she also happens to be a naturally beautiful woman (who doesn't flaunt or abuse her beauty) so all those lesser men you call men-mites want to either take her down or take her out... on a date that is. She's a jewel amongst investigative journalists. She can't be boxed. She can't be bought. She can't be modified. When she kicks ass there's an elegance to it. She dances in that boxing ring, like in that Saley brothers post. I'm reading her book now. I mean who titles a chapter "The Passion of Peter Duesberg"? That's just cinematic storytelling - unpredictable, unexpected and engaging. Makes me think of everything you teach in the Matrix series. Okay, I'm done, this was my Tuesday homage to my two favorite Writer Boxers who inspire me to step into the ring every day.

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Great post.

I recommend Chapter 12 "Out of control" of her book Serious Adverse Events.

The analogy with a boxer is ultra-precise.

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The fact that somebody like you whom I admire and have followed for a long time speaks so highly of Celia is what led me to discover her, and I have come to love and admire her and feel as though I know her like a sister, so thank you Jon❤️

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PS. Jon, one more thing: Substack algorithm will not let me "like" this piece!

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"she had other fish to fry, in a kitchen where the heat was high" , nice line Jon , may have to 'borrow' that for a song ...

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Celia Farber symbolizes my avatar - Roberto Duran !!!

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Celia is a wonder. Her heart is gold and her writing is 🔥🔥🔥.

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beautiful. that piece was/is remarkable from my limited view - thanks for fleshing it out

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I love the fact that you, Jon, are a writer in your own right and a man to boot, and are not intimidated by this woman and her talent. In fact, you celebrate it. Thank you for that. Well done.

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Great and true tribute. Spot on.

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Thank you for putting out the link to Celia Farber's great work. You both are much more than investigative reporters. You are truth-telling artists of the written word.

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I read the whole piece, and so right you are about Celia Farber's skill to tell a major House of Cards story. I am wondering where Bill Barr is these days. Don't know if he was a good buddy of Epstein, but they certainly knew each other for decades starting when Epstein was hired to teach at Barr's daddy's private school. Then BArr visited Jeffrey in jail shortly before the alleged suicide. So much Chaos going on, it's hard to keep up.

At any rate, Jon's book, AIDS, Inc. opened my eyes forever on the AIDS Playbook -- Here's a link that blew the Covid Scamarama in Jan.2020 just before the Public Health Emergency was declared. No one has an excuse for still being so [willfully] ignorant.


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Nice accolades John 👍👍...but I would like to know if Celia believes that SARS-CoV-2 has never been isolated or purified, i.e., NEVER proven to exist? I'm still unclear on that point. Perhaps, you can let me and us know...thank you😊

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