Rabelais writes for the convivial, and consequently for those who must have poisoned their livers and contracted the pox, because syph
was the New World's swap with Europe in their exchange of epidemics; it was the six teenth century's AIDS, heedless pleasure's penance.
MacGillivray, presumably on missionary authority, did allow a modicum of female agency in explaining the 'paucity of children': as the 'effects of syph
ilis', introduced by traders but less evident in the vicinity of the mission, due to 'the protection' afforded women and their 'greater inclination.
On this last hot-button satirical target, A Man in Full is even worse than The Bonfire of the Vanities, featuring a nasty sendup of Robert Mapplethorpe as Wilson Lapeth (photos of gay sex on a chain gang) and a series of contemptible jokes about AIDS benefits ("Let's Rap for Clap," "Let's Riff for Syph
," "Let's Go Hug a Dyin' Bugger," "Glory Me--I Got da HIV" and "Let's Pay Our Dues to the Pustular Ooze").
I think that no one ever made a poem as powerful as AIDS, or plagues that may in summer kill half the bishops in Brazil and share the good Lord's Final Answer with clots and cholera and cancer - for God concocted pox to mock us, staph and syph
and streptococcus: poems are made by bards or hacks, but only God makes cardiacs.