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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 43

                   Jack Fritscher’s American Men
                             by Edward Lucie-Smith

             Jack Fritscher has been many things: tenured university professor, novel-
             ist, writer of short stories, biographer, magazine editor, maker of more
             than two hundred erotic videos, chronicler and critic of American pop
             culture — also (as this book demonstrates) skilled photographer. Many
             of these activities have been linked to an exploration of eroticism, which
             is, for Fritscher, an arena of masculine-identified sexuality. His approach
             is twofold. On the one hand he is the formally trained critic and eth-
             nologist, curious about all aspects of human behaviour. On the other, he
             is the writer-artist dramatizing a personal vision — the vision expressed
             for example in his ambitious novel, Some Dance to Remember. There, as
             here in these photographs, his focus is on what he calls “homomasculin-
             ity” — less the act of sex itself, more a complete state of being.
                He sees in the very male males who attract him — bodybuilders,
             cowboys, cops, men in various kinds of sports gear, men wearing military
             uniform — ritualized totems of the potent American Dream, taken from
             his own dream visions, as well as from the dreams of the intense cult
             following whose tastes he has recorded and reflected for many years on
             page and screen. He believes that, just as some women now legitimately
             investigate their own gender, so too many men have become increasingly
             curious about their own gender identification. In his view, true homo-
             masculinity, far from cancelling out the female principle, offers the valid
             gender  balance of  male animus that  the female  anima demands and
             deserves. He notes that there is in male-to-male sex an underlying current
             of violence — that sexual relationships between grown-up men, the bulls
             of the herd, often veer towards displays of brute strength, and even beyond
             this, to episodes of direct physical competition. He also perceives that this
             kind of physical competition, these outbursts of destructive energy, are
             all intrinsic to the nature of American life — part and parcel of what was
             once, and not so very long ago, a lawless frontier society.
                Though Fritscher was in fact one of the early generation of social
             humanists working on various frontiers of the American conscience — the
             Civil Rights Movement (beginning in 1961), the Peace Movement (1965),
             Gay Liberation (1967), these perceptions, feelings and preferences have
             increasingly tended to get him into hot water with the “politically cor-
             rect.” The politically correct point of view is that feelings of the kind he

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