Page 223 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                203
             glove) the way hysterical twits in movies are always slapped to get a grip!
             Actually, The Leatherman’s Handbook, which has sold thousands of cop-
             ies, thrives on this new brush-fire of controversy!
                 Youth needs the wisdom of the established, and the established need
             the energy of the young. The present usually takes a dim view of the past.
             This attitude is attractive to the naive who often think that the whole wide
             world began the day they first noticed it. Sometimes, too, people with
             some mileage wrongly dismiss the younger because the young weren’t
             present at the past.
                If people — for instance, artists, writers, leather players — are alive,
             working, and creating at the same time on the same clock and the same
             calendar, no matter what their individual ages, they are all contemporary,
             because they work in the “Culture of Here and Now.”
                Larry Townsend is as pertinent as the boy he beats, and the boy he
             beats is as pertinent as Larry Townsend.
                If this principle attacks some dogmatist dragmatist’s Inner Bette
             Davis, I make no apology for myself or for Larry, or for the very leathery
             Golden Age of the Titanic 70s whose celebratory sex-style has taken an
             unfair beating, as if “those ignorant leathermen at that decade’s party”
             and not a virus caused the plague.
                Once the plague is conquered, or at least controlled, the gay press will
             be driven to invent new material, and gay men will want their publishing
             jobs back. Before AIDS, the gay press featured news of tricycle races and
             show biz. Once the plague is controlled, will Tony Kushner be permitted
             to write the third act of Angels in America, or will he be dismissed as Old
             Guard, the way ACT UP discarded Larry Kramer, and OutWrite actually
             booed Edward Albee.

             So, in the parallax view of 20/20 hindsight, what appears in The Leather-
             man’s Handbook to be familiar, well, uh, “old guard” may in fact be very
             “new guard.” What appears to be new may in fact, in this folk document,
             be familiar. So question what you know. Be your own best critic. Do
             penance and self-flagellation if you wish, but let no one unworthy teach
             you or top you.
                Be skeptical of historical revisionists of any gender — especially the
             co-optations by post-AIDS non-males who, with unmitigated gall, fancy
             themselves  saviorettes  who  will  write  the  history  of  gay  male  culture
             and gay male leather culture as if Larry Townsend and fifty other living
             authors — and about 100 recently dead ones — haven’t been writing this

           ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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