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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                245
                To write is to conceptualize topic words for topic sentences to col-
             lapse huge concepts into one syllable for use by the writer and reader
             of academic and pop culture. In this instance, the uncloseting of butch
             queers was a striking reveal of homosexuality’s most invisible population:
             the masculine-identified. Driving Drummer, I toyed with words on an
             abacus wire to make neologisms add up to something intelligent and
             hot — coining words that start in the reader’s head and work their way
             down. I was a writer/editor/photographer into “the scene.”
                When the American Popular Culture Association (founded 1968)
             changed the character of American Studies by introducing diversity, race,
             sex, and gender, I immediately, as a charter member, penned gay-themed
             articles for the Journal of Popular Culture (“Gay Incest in The Boys in the
             Band”) and wrote Popular Witchcraft (begun 1969; published 1972 by
             Citadel Press, and 2005 by University of Wisconsin Press), one of the first
             books for the Bowling Green University Popular Culture Press. Back then
             I was stuck with words like homophile and invert even as the 1968 pop-
             culture mandate was to examine culture as it happened rather than wait
             fifty years for historians to comment. Thus stuck as the Titanic 70s began,
             it was necessary to name, label, and conceptualize words that organized
             deviant identity, sexuality, and politics.
                In terms of how on-the-spot coinages help us rethink the past, the
             GLBT Historical Society, San Francisco, kindly assessed that my writing
             “pioneering since the late sixties has helped document the gay world and
             the changes it has undergone.” In my 1968 novel, I Am Curious (Leather),
             written while I was a tenured university professor, an experienced biker
             teaches a young man (and therefore the pre-Stonewall reader, and then,
             when serialized in 1978, the Drummer reader) a list of primer words which
             clue him into S&M sex and define his innate behavior as a masculine
             man. (In 1989, Thomas E. Murray and Thomas R. Murrell surveyed
             S&M personals ads and listed 800 words coined by specific-use necessity
             in The Language of Sadomasochism: A Glossary and Linguistic Analysis.)
                Because the neologisms and sex-narrative news features worked, the
             Bay Area Reporter observed that my 1970s “writing created the leather
             prose style and its magazines” meaning directly Man2Man Quarterly, the
             California Action Guide, and Drummer whose “groundbreaking editor,”
             so mentioned, I had the good luck to be. (The “leather
             prose style” was my introducing, by spinning off Hunter Thompson, an
             erotic participatory element into journalistic news stories as well as Joy-
             cean wordplay and stream of consciousness into erotic fiction to make it
             “literary.” Michael Bronski wrote that my participatory eyewitness style
             from the 1970s was about “ideas” and represented the then new wave
             of “masculine romance”5 which, I find, was made new again by Annie

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