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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                  9
             the vainglorious bonfires of leather “political correctness” ignited around
             Fritscher’s contributions. While one circle of leathermen demanded to
             know, “How could he say that?” another would be shocked into asking,
             “Did you see how he said that?”
                I don’t know about other readers, but Fritscher was an unexpected
             shock for me when he appeared in Drummer. I didn’t really notice the
             byline on the piece about the Leatherneck bar (Drummer 18) before I saw
             his name as editor in chief in Drummer 19. I was not thinking of writing
             for Drummer myself, not by a long shot. Even though I did a lot of writ-
             ing for Drummer, I didn’t do any of it for another ten years. Hey, it was
             just about the time of my thirtieth birthday that I saw this new Fritscher
             phenomenon in print, and my opinion was that the guys who were doing
             this magazine were gods — ageless and eternal if not omniscient. How
             could I have known that Jack Fritscher was only eight years and one day
             older. He was on fire and I was on track to be a late-bloomer (as a writer
             about all this “jazz”), I guess. But, maybe eight years would have seemed
             a lot then.
                In any case, back in the spring of 1977, Fritscher was on a mission
             which others would attempt to join, but only he could perform, pursue,
             posterize, and perfect with such zest and energy. He began reinterpreting
             popular culture in a leather context. This could have been done a million
             ways, and many famous writers and artists before and since have done
             something like it, but Fritscher’s method was perfect for who we were
             and for the time. What’s more, since we learned from Fritscher to think
             in his “language” (as much as that can be done by anyone other than the
             man himself), we “naturally” realized that his views were our views, his
             discoveries our truths. And, to make his dominance perfect, he changed
             as we changed and kept up with the times in a peculiar, all-Fritscher way
             that didn’t involve any unnecessary trendiness.
                The recipe for the emerging leatherman’s point of view is not some-
             thing that can ever be entirely clear, but the list of ingredients had to
             include cynicism and sarcasm along with respect and broad awareness.
             A special flavor of humor was a requirement, and Fritscher put his finger
             on the right one after Drummer had thumbed across humorous options
             unsuccessfully for nearly 20 issues. There had to be a degree of separation,
             even superiority, without the slightest touch of smug condescension. Once
             this blend of secret brotherhood and popular culture was worked out,
             we all knew better than we thought we ever could just who we were and
             where in the Big Picture to “find ourselves.”
                In fictions and fetish features and editorials,  Drummer under
             Fritscher’s guidance became the leatherman’s mind as well as his
             heart —  without letting go of his sex for a second — and it defied us to be

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