Page 81 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                  61
             Jack’s overall catechism of leather, that bondage promotes whole-body
             sensuality instead of genital-centered sexuality. Then there are the ideas
             that you entrust yourself to the bondage master’s care, giving yourself to
             him, and he gives you back to yourself, unharmed but not unchanged, at
             the end. And that he takes you on a trip and returns you safely again. It’s
             all there, explicitly or implicitly.
                Another, rather curious theme pops out if you quickly scan through
             Jack’s Drummer bibliography; the man had a recurrent case of the blues.
             There’s “Prison Blues” (Drummer  21), “Cigar Blues” (Drummer  22),
             “Castro Street Blues” (Drummer 24), “Tit Torture Blues” (Drummer 30),
             “Foreskin Prison Blues” (Drummer 186), and his wonderful short novel
             I am Curious (Leather) aka Leather Blues. Maybe it was just a catchy tag
             word; or maybe he was riffing like a jazz stylist on a theme trying to signal
             something about how to read them? Maybe he meant us to infer that in
             these pieces, especially, he was testifying, telling us truths that might be
             painful to hear? Or, as a reporter, enabling others to testify through him?
             But Drummer’s about S&M, right? Pain is pleasure, right? So it’s all really
             about pleasure, right? Yeah, right; not.
                As a masochist of long standing myself, allow me to testify that the
             pain is real, and the greatest endorphin rush in the world doesn’t make
             it any less real. It just helps you accept it, embrace it, and transmute it
             into an equally real pleasure. Jack discovered sadomasochists are practical
             alchemists, and he figured if we can transmute raw pain into ecstasy, then
             by God, we can pretty much transmute anything into anything we want.
             Whatever fetish he chose to write about, in the end it came down to some
             form of alchemy, just as he wrote about leather magic and leather ritual
             in his book, Popular Witchcraft, written at the same time as Leather Blues
             (during 1968-1972) and published at the same time as Larry Townsend’s
             The Leatherman’s Handbook. How boring it would be if a cigar had to stay
             just a cigar!


             Like most fetishists, however, Jack is obsessed with “authenticity.” And
             like a great many highly introspective intellectuals, including Henry
             David Thoreau who is quoted on nearly every masthead of Drummer,
             he tends to locate human authenticity in the unreflective, the “natural
             man” untainted by societal repression and superficiality. (See especially
             his “authenticity” editorial, “Getting Off,” in Drummer 24.) That may
             explain his fascination not only with such iconic figures as athletes, cow-
             boys, cops, and soldiers, but also with such less bourgeois characters as
             convicts, hustlers, outlaw bikers, and rednecks. Throw in his reportage

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