Larry Kramer: It’s Complicated

All of the tributes to Larry Kramer act as if his abrasiveness were practically part of his charm. Or at least that without it he couldn’t have been an effective activist. What’s more, we’re told that Larry’s abrasiveness harmed no one more than himself. I wish I could agree. There were too many times over the years when to me, and to many others, he was just plain rude. I got so used to him calling me up and screaming into the phone that I learned to put the receiver down and finish whatever else I was doing until Larry had expended himself. I didn’t like this necessarily abrasive side of Larry. I liked one of Larry’s other sides: a man who loved literature. When I was a fresh face in New York Larry would go out of his way to offer me encouragement when I was publishing first in small magazines and then regularly in The New Yorker. Thank you, Larry. I was — I am — grateful.

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