Trash & Treasures – Angels in America

There was no way we could pass over the first and biggest work about AIDS — a work of art that’s also damned funny in the midst of the bleakness.

Two couples face crises: Prior tells his boyfriend about his recent AIDS diagnosis, while Mormon Joe struggles within a failing marriage and ever more transparent closet. As both relationships break apart, the world goes on turning, and Prior is visited by the supposed Angel of America, who tells him he is a prophet.

Oral History of Angels in America

Angels on Broadway

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3 replies »

  1. Hi! I firstly wanted to say I absolutely loved this episode and this podcast as a whole is one of my all time favourites, and Angels in America is one of my favourite works of any media. However, there was just one little issue I had with a bit of the analysis in it. Namely, towards the end when discussing Prior’s rejection of the Gospel of Stasis, you guys referred to his actions as being Satanic in nature (with Satanic referring to simply Going Against God and Conventional Religion in favour of Total Free Will). And while I think there is some merit to that, I also found as a Jew, that it was a rather Christian-centric approach to the issue (which is understandable that this would be the case). I think it is important to consider Kushner’s own Judaism in this scene, since while it may seem highly atheistic or maltheistic, Prior’s actions are very much in line with the general belief in most forms of Judaism that it is necessary to question God and traditions. After all, Israel essentialy translates to “One Who Struggles with God” (which is why the constant use of Jacob and the Angel imagery is so super important to AiA as a text). In this way, his actions can be seen less as “Satanic” but firmly as Jewish (which is ironic given Prior is Anglican). I apologize for this, and I once again need to say that I loved the episode and this podcast, it is just that this one comment slightly erked me while listening (though I do understand and sympathize with where it came from). Keep up the amazing work, and as always- The Great Work Begins!

    • A fair point! Dorothy was speaking from a knowledge and respect for Satanism as a protest movement (and one she’s studied a fair bit about) rather than the kind of Satanism one would look at with say, the OTO etc. Basically, she didn’t mean it as a knock. But you’re right, we definitely failed to consider Judaism’s critical approach to texts with that discussion. We both definitely appreciate you bringing it up.

      • Do not worry! I know it was not meant as a knock and it was meant as a more reference to Satanism as a protest movement. Again, even with that more positive approach, it still was initially odd for me as a Jewish person but I do know it was a point of respect. Though it also goes to show just how many ways and approaches you can take to study AiA as a work of fiction and especially its theology.

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