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22                                      Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
               The student of history should be cognizant of the paradigm or con-
            struct within which such a study takes place. Like the “thought collec-
            tive,” the paradigm can shift in an historically short time span.
               An examination of the “history” of the “Gay Liberation Movement”
            in the United States, for example, can be examined within the paradigm of
            the “birth of a movement,” the “hegemony of a movement,” the “meeting
            of cultures,” or other constructs. Whatever the paradigm, there is bound
            to occur a shifting in the thought collective within the paradigm. This
            flux in the thought collective can often act as a smoke screen to suggest a
            shift in the paradigm. Although there may be either an emphasis on what
            Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. in The Disuniting of America terms “exculpatory”
            (i.e., “top-dog”) history, or “compensatory” (i.e., “underdog”) history, this
            does not necessarily indicate a shift in the paradigm. (NY: Norton, 1992,
            pp. 48-49).
               Jack Fritscher, constructing the  denkkollektiv memoir of  Gay San
            Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer, is a tour guide to the “foreign country”
            of the past, providing his readers with a look at South of Market, San
            Francisco, before it was SoMa, before it became prime real estate, even
            before it was shabby chic, and condo rich. South of Market was once a
            light-industrial skid row where bad-ass boys in leather motorcycle jackets
            hung out in clouds of popper, ether, smoke, and sweat. SoMa was the post-
            Beat bohemian section of the City to which the airlines would not deliver
            lost luggage after dark. I know. I lived there then. I was the carpenter who
            customized Robert Opel’s storefront into Fey-Way Gallery. I constructed
            the inside of the Leatherneck bar. I took photographs. I worked for the
            publisher of Drummer. I took notes for my Clementina Street Tales. For
            years, I was an eyewitness in that strange country, South of Market, when
            we did things differently.
               Jack Fritscher as “eyewitness” in Gay San Francisco is kin to Christo-
            pher Isherwood as “camera” in his Berlin Stories. Climbing the scaffolding
            of the chapter-and-verse structure of Drummer, he unfurls a rainbow flag
            of narrative about the foreign country of our gay past, and of its citizens
            and denizens, living, lost, dead, or forgotten.
               As editor in chief of Drummer, he helped the fledgling Los Ange-
            les publication be born-again in the 1970s freedom of San Francisco.
            Drummer had fled north, followed by its publisher John Embry, to escape
            trumped-up slavery charges from the Los Angeles Police Department.
            Under Jack’s tutelage Drummer became a voice for homomasculine men,
            art, and literature. He did not invent them; he encouraged them. This
            media attention attracted a group of gay, masculine-identified artists,
            graphic designers, cartoonists, writers, and photographers. The fraternity

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