Page 40 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
P. 40

20                                      Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
            politics, gender, race, and the prevailing zeitgeist. Drummer — the first
            GLBT magazine to fight the culture war — should not be seen as an erotic
            embarrassment of pre-historic male-driven sex. Exclusionary puritan his-
            tory should not pin a huge Scarlet Letter on Drummer’s chest.
               Fleck suggested that all links to our past “survive in accepted con-
            cepts [accepted being the operative discriminatory word]…in everyday life
            as well as in . . . language and . . . institutions.” Any concept or way of view-
            ing things and ideas, Fleck argued, does not spring fully grown, like Venus
            from the sea, but rather is determined by its “ancestors.” The “proto-ideas”
            (such as found in the gay roots of Drummer and its salon) on which con-
            temporary ideas are built, he maintained, must not be “taken out of their
            chronological context, because they correspond to a different thought
            collective and a different thought style…one their originators certainly
            considered [in their day] . . . to be correct.” (Ibid, p. 25). In precisely this
            way does Fritscher in Gay San Francisco try to resurrect chronological
            context of Drummer’s ancestral and proto-ideas.
               Fleck also maintained that each “thought collective” is developed
            within a discipline by a Vanguard, usually working within a specific situ-
            ation — such as the first post-Stonewall generation of liberated gay men
            creating the demotic Drummer and living in the SoMa subculture. This
            first-wave proto-activity by the Vanguard is then followed by the second-
            wave “official community” that determines the “official canon” of the
            discipline. Fritscher is in the unique position of being both a Vanguard
            participant and a surviving analyst of the Vanguard.
               Unfortunately for gay history, as the 1970s became the 1980s, AIDS
            and the gender wars virtually destroyed the first-wave proto-activity of the
            Vanguard pioneers, and enabled the second-wave to commit that fallacy
            of logic that because something follows something, the thing it follows
            caused it.
               The main body, Fleck argued, “adjusts its advance according to
            reports received from the Vanguard, but maintains a certain indepen-
            dence.” In short, Drummer existed in a creative reciprocity with its read-
            ers and reported actual gay life as lived. Readers independently chose to
            construct their behavior accordingly. Another stage is reached when the
            idea becomes “everyday popular knowledge,” and “the fact [for instance,
            the  Drummer  leather lifestyle] becomes incarnated as an immediately
            perceptible object of reality.” (Ibid, pp. 124-5). Throughout its life (1975-
            1999) Drummer was a pop-culture perfect circle that, distinct from other
            magazines, actually created the global leather lifestyle that it reported on.
            Readers followed its descriptions (not prescriptions) and sent in personal
            requests and personal ads that shaped the upcoming issues.

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