Page 626 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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606                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
               This feature essay appeared soon after the first American release of
            Salo, less than two years after Pasolini’s shocking death, and, since then,
            films about Pasolini have become numerous if not definitive: Paesi Bassi’s
            Whoever Says the Truth Shall Die (1981); Aurelio Grimaldi’s Un Mondo d’
            Amore (2002); Marco Tullio Giordana’s Who Killed Pasolini? which Mark
            Hemry and I viewed at its premiere screening in Paris at a small Left Bank
            movie house in May 1995. Abel Ferrara, the director of the mortally sinful
            Bad Lieutenant (1992), has announced plans for a feature film about the
            life and death of the Italian icon whose mystique so captivated the fancy
            of intellectuals and straights. Besides Pasolini’s own novels, poetry, and
            film scripts, the book to read is Pasolini Requiem, the definitive biography
            by Barth David Schwartz (1992).
               In the Dumbing of America, which has taken its toll even among
            homosexuals, there is no artist of recent memory, and certainly no gay
            artist, who like Pasolini, transcends his politics, his art, and his own faulty
            self to become an icon of art, intellect, and politics. Italians mention Paso-
            lini’s name with reverence; and, while the “S&M philosopher,” Michel
            Foucault is worshiped by the French, his world-class intellectual body
            of work does not have the populist diversity of Pasolini’s films, fiction,
            poetry, and political theory.
               Pasolini’s “death by rough trade” is perfect archetype of gay bashing
            from Saint Sebastian to Saint Matthew Shepard.
               Apropos  Drummer: Pasolini’s taste helped shape Drummer because
            his hustlers whom he cast on screen prompted me to be the first editor to
            dare publish the street hustler photographs of the American photographer
            most like Pasolini, Old Reliable (David Hurles). That was in Drummer 21
            (March 1978) when every other gay mag had rejected Old Reliable’s gritty
            erotic aggro photos that were too scary for the vanillarinas, but not for the
            leatherstream. In the late 1970s, David Hurles and I thought the death
            of the bashed Pasolini — as most likely engineered by politicians — was
            a warning shot to gay culture at the time when ever-onward-marching
            Christian soldier-homophobes like pop-singer Anita Bryant, California
            politician John Briggs, and comedian Richard Pryor were waging war
            against gay liberation. (Pryor’s nasty gay jibes were particularly offensive
            to me because we had both grown up in Peoria which wasn’t too fond of
            either one of us. So we should have stuck together.)
               In Florida, former Miss America Bryant who was the TV advertising
            “spokeswoman” for the Florida Orange Juice Commission campaigned
            with her “Save Our Children” group to get the then just-passed 1977
            Dade County Human Rights Ordinance repealed. As a result, even to
            this 21 -century day in Florida, GLBT people may not adopt. However,
            as certainly as a tornado dropped Dorothy’s house on the Wicked Witch

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