Everyone knows what happens if you’re a gay man and you do crystal meth. It’s all nonstop bareback gangbangs with random Internet crackheads, and then you lose your job and your friends, and then you get AIDS. The latest fan on the flame of meth hysteria is the documentary Rock Bottom. Clever title, meager movie. Filmmaker Jay Corcoran sets out to show that, as Mr. Mackey puts it, drugs are bad, mmm’kay? Talking heads include CJ, an HIV-positive barebacker with a thing for neg bottoms; Eric, in and out of rehab; Scott who can’t fuck sober; and J, a bright-eyed meth newbie who attempts to balance a musical career with a sideline in porn and drug-fueled good times. Rock Bottom touches on the critical issue of “fear fatigue” over HIV and doesn’t shy away from the immense pleasure to be had from crystal sex. What it doesn’t acknowledge is what’s missing from the meth discourse at large: a discussion of underground “party-and-play” culture as one of the last refuges of Dionysian sexual inhibition in a successfully mainstreaming gay culture, and the threat this poses to social identity as well as individual health.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 20, 2007