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TIME Magazine Ruined Herpes Journalism. Here’s How To Fix It.


My business is generally pleasurable.

coverIn 1982, TIME Magazine published a very special cover story: “The New Scarlet Letter.” In five dense pages full of salacious personal anecdotes and some incredibly horrifying doctoral testimonies, TIME set the standard for herpes journalism. I read the entire piece with my friend (and this site’s editor) Gabe Rosenberg so that you don’t have to. Because you shouldn’t. It’s really bad.

Special shoutout to my dad, who found an original copy of the publication on eBay for my birthday. The article is available online behind a paywall here. I’m including scans of sections of the article to provide context.

Ella: What’s your initial reaction to this bad boy?

Gabe: That whoever wrote and researched this piece (COUGH MAUREEN DOWD COUGH) has some great hatred for the “sexual revolution” and wanted to make it seem like herpes was God’s great reckoning for women’s sexual freedom. You see that in the…

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