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24                                      Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
            again to other men in that long lost leather community South of Market.
            “As high as passions, fun, creativity, and sex always surged around Drum-
            mer, it was not the worst of times,” Fritscher writes in Gay San Francisco,
            “but the best . . . ”
               As in the study of Native American culture, there are a couple of
            obstacles for some historians delving into the study of homomasculinity.
            One is the concept of the cosmos. In the study of both, the historian must
            not only engage in time travel but must — existentially — also be able to
            view the order of the universe from a different angle. Back in the day, the
            order of the cosmos looked far different through a bohemian-homomas-
            culine “SoMa70s” lens than it does through a latter-day feminist lens or a
            bourgeois hetero lens. Drummer itself viewed the universe from a different
            underground-undersea angle, and Fritscher’s “periscope up” through both
            Drummer and Gay San Francisco is the lens whose cross hairs accurately
            target that angle we, or at least I, saw. Though forgotten, ignored, or
            denied by some, that angle through that lens is for this Stewart more than
            auld lang syne.
               Another obstacle faced by many historians is the method of record
            keeping. (Fritscher has famously been a diarist and a journalist and an
            archivist of graphics, letters, and taped interviews for years.) Authentic-
            ity of experience is placed on the written primary document which is
            frequently venerated as an icon. When documentation is something other
            than written, other steps must be taken to verify its authenticity. Discuss-
            ing the oral testimony of Native Americans, Daniel Richter argued, “Oral
            genres,” and here one might include the Old Testament and its campfire
            tales, “require unfeigned belief in the immutability of the message in
            the same way that written scholarly genres require implicit confidence in
            the accuracy of footnotes — as a validation of the historian’s authority to
            interpret the past.” (“Who’s Written History?” William and Mary Quarterly
            50:2, April 1993: 385.) Hertha Dawn Wong, in Sending My Heart Back
            Across the Years: Tradition and Innovation in Native American Autobiogra-
            phy, proposes that not only oral tradition, but also songs, chants, clothing
            and other remnants of the past are legitimate fields to be mined for histori-
            cal information. (NY: Oxford University Press, 1992.)
               Fritscher, who earned his academic credentials with his 1968 PhD,
            long ago earned the authority to mine and interpret the leather past
            because of his role in editing Drummer, and in writing his historical novel-
            memoir, Some Dance to Remember. When I first met him in 1974, he had
            written four books and had been writing for the Journal of Popular Culture
            since 1968. He knows what he is doing; and, almost as an object lesson
            to some GLBT historians, it seems that everywhere possible in Gay San
            Francisco, he cites sources to support his text.

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