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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 57

                   Drummer-ing up the Zeitgeist
                                  by david stein

             As editor in chief and principal feature writer of Drummer during the crit-
             ical early years of 1977-79 (Drummer 19-30, plus ghost-editor of Drum-
             mer 14-18, 31, 32, 33), Jack Fritscher was both chronicler and instigator
             of what he was the first to call gay America’s “Second Coming Out.” The
             first coming out is when a guy discovers that what gets his dick hard and
             makes it shoot is, well, dick. The second coming out is when he moves
             beyond dick and ass to discover (“total body sensuality,” as Jack called
             it, which leads to a desire “to play and to please itself in true S and M
             (Sensuality and Mutuality) with other men.”
                During the nearly quarter century of Drummer’s run, the ruthless
             logic of that desire, colliding with the even more ruthless imperatives
             of post-industrial capitalism, enabled leathersex to spread for better or
             worse from the back alleys and waterfront dives of America to its shop-
             ping malls, theaters, campuses, living rooms, and Internet chat rooms.
             Practices that seemed thrillingly outré when the magazine began are now
             considered suitable for jokes on prime-time sitcoms. What was still a cot-
             tage industry of individual craftsmen making custom leather-wear and
             unique “toys” back then has become serious business today, employing
             thousands of people and generating many millions of dollars in revenues.
             A community that was virtually invisible to “civilians” before Stonewall
             has spilled so far out of the closet that we’ve become the latest target for
             the religious extremists who seek to shut down our ever-larger events and
             ever-glitzier meeting places.
                The butt end of the 1970s laid the foundations for the leather popula-
             tion/popularity explosion to come, and Jack’s Drummer was a big part of
             that pop-culture process. In the ensuing decades after Jack, often recy-
             cling Jack, Drummer’s publishers and editors kept trying to harness and
             direct the waves of New Leather (both men and ideas) that kept pouring
             into the scene, with decreasing success, until finally the magazine was left
             behind by the dot-com generation at the turn of the new century.


             To write about the new state of sexuality writers had to corral concepts.
             Before I coined the phrase “Safe, Sane, and Consensual” in the 1980s,

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