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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 251
             beard” to include avoirdupois because, I think, weight seemed a marker
             of virus-free health. Again, flesh becomes word. Time magazine writer,
             Andrew Sullivan, declared himself a bear August 1, 2003, on
             In writing about the keyword bear, Sullivan rather much repeated Wil-
             liams “inextricable” syndrome: “Every time I try and write a semi-serious
             sociological assessment of the bear phenomenon, I find myself erasing
             large amounts of text.” That’s because bear is a huge, receptive, inclusive,
             wonderful, humorous blank. In my “Foreword” to Les Wright’s Bear Book
             II (2001), my definition of the incredible lightness of being bear had been:
             “The concept of bear is blank enough to absorb countless male identities
             and fantasies.” In Ron Suresha’s Bears on Bears: Interviews and Discussions
             (2002), I specified: “Bear is a concept so receptively blank that as a label
             it welcomes and absorbs all masculine fantasies, fetishes, identities, and
             body types. Bear is all inclusive.”6
                When publisher Anthony F. DeBlase, Ph.D., bought Drummer, he
             wrote an editorial in Drummer 100 (October 1986) acknowledging that
             my 1970s Drummer focused on masculinity and then on the subcategories
             of leather, western, and fetishes. Leather was the keyword for masculine
             bonding beginning in California with motorcycle-riding ex-soldiers after
             1945 up through Marlon Brando’s subversive hetero-seeming masculinity
             in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and homo-seeming masculinity in The
             Wild One (1953) which James Dean queered in his homoerotic coming-
             out film Rebel without a Cause (1955), and occult magus Kenneth Anger
             made startlingly homomasculine in his Christ-queering religious epic of
             gay leather ritual, Scorpio Rising (1963); this homo Christ worship became
             central sex act in Some Dance to Remember.
                Leather defines a masculine way of being homosexual as in Larry
             Townsend’s pioneering  work,  The  Leatherman’s Handbook  (1972)  for
             whose Silver Anniversary Edition (1997) I wrote an introduction:

                By the time of the rip-roaring counter-culture of the 60s, the
                specific word leather, transcending literal meaning as clothing,
                surfaced from the underground subculture redefined to mean a
                specific psycho-drama sex-style. Leather, along with 60s peace,
                love, sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll, arrived to name a way of being
                and becoming, of ritualizing and actualizing, of creation and
                recreation, of politicizing and marketing . . . . Leather — barbaric,
                medieval, industrial — is the flesh become word.  Leather  is
                the conjure amulet . . . . the fetish to which a certain erotic drive
                attaches itself and through which a certain erotic desire com-
                mands its visible incarnation . . . . Foucault twisted S&M leather

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