Page 259 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                239
                            “Whoever did not live in the years
                               neighboring the revolution
                      does not know what the pleasure of living means.”
                             — Charles Maurice de Talleyrand

                The 1990s exploded academically around queer, but  queer differ-
             entiation and revolt in pop culture predates even 1978 when a tagger
             spray-painted the ruined Falstaff Brewery in San Francisco with the arma-
             geddon graffiti, “Queers against Gays.”2 The minute that Bruce Rodgers
             published his 1973 thesaurus, The Queens’ Vernacular: A Gay Lexicon,
             many masculine-identified gays judged his book a rather dangerous little
             dictionary of oppression because they were, as was Sontag, both drawn
             to camp and offended by it. In the straightstream media, Time magazine
             dared two very “out” latchkey covers: the gay-soldier shocker “I Am a
             Homosexual,” September 8, 1975, featuring the sentence, “Like most sub-
             cultures, the homosexual world has its own language,” and “How Gay Is
             Gay?” on April 23, 1979. The June 25, 1979, cover of New York magazine
             declared the headline promise to define “The Meaning of Gay.”
                The article “How Gay Is Gay” foreshadowed by twenty years Presi-
             dent Clinton’s re-framing oral/anal sex by declaring, “It all depends on
             what the definition of is is.” The Southern Baptist Clinton, perhaps influ-
             enced by the Old Testament stricture against saying the name of “G-d,”
             was also the defining censor of “g-y” and “homos-xuality” authoring
             “Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell.”
                Because masculinity in queer men is even more vexing than effemi-
             nacy in queer men, the rise of masculine-identified gay men took hetero-
             normative men and women aback, causing mainstream magazines to run
             cover stories rethinking the nature of masculinity: e.g., “Masculinity: 60
             Points of View,” Harper’s Magazine, July 1975.
                The mantra of power is embedded in the book title of George
             Lakoff’s Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the
             Debate, The Essential Guide for Progressives. Hi-jacking language is as
             easy as reframing ego as self-esteem. The Religious Right has reframed
             its off-center puritan fundamentalism by dropping the adjective religious
             for faith-based, and by grabbing hold of keywords like family, values, and
             marriage in coined phrases such as “heterosexuals hold the ‘patent’ on the
             word marriage.”3 Just so, because the American Psychiatric Association
             reframed homosexuality, and because gay activists reframed gay lib into the
             gay politics of civil rights, and because queers have extended — not nar-
             rowed — the definition of family, so might homosexuality reframe itself
             as a worldwide, “intuitive religion” predating the revealed religions of

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