Page 114 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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96       Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999


                   Let them also explain why a large number of members received
               their ballots too late to vote and some not at all. Let them explain
               why they have used the confidential H.E.L.P. membership list [as
               Embry would later use the “Leather Fraternity” list] for their own
               personal  use  in  promoting  mail-order  sales!!!  (John  Embry  aka
               Robert Payne) And why does Larry hide behind that name when
               his real name is Irvin Bernhard. This is liberation?
                   ...I feel the future of H.E.L.P. and what it has done and can still
               do for the Gay Community is far too important to keep quiet....
               Let’s clean up this mess. I feel that together we can overcome this
               incompetency and gross neglect of your interest. How? Under the
               By-Laws, we can force a new election and make a clean sweep of the
               despots who hold power.


            The editor of Action magazine made a point in ALL CAPS: “THE ENTIRE
            CONTENTS OF THIS LETTER ARE THE EXPRESSED OPINION OF
            STEVE SCHOCH AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE
            OPINIONS OF ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL OR ORGANIZATION.”

               In the 1970s “Los Angeles Party Game of Gay Cannibalism,” Embry,
            in the next issue of H.E.L.P./Drummer, published a letter rebutting Schoch.
            In the anonymous fashion that would become typical of John Embry aka
            Robert Payne in “Letters to the Editor” in Drummer, the style and content
            of the letter, signed only as “J. R. Santa Monica (H.E.L.P. Member),” would
            fairly much have fingered the name-changing Embry as the author.
               However, in this instance, because the nine-paragraph letter was indig-
            nantly specific in defending Townsend without ever mentioning Embry, its
            author may well have been Townsend himself.
               The caustic letter drips with the writer’s intimate access to biographi-
            cal details and inner thoughts of a “noble” Townsend who refuses to lower
            himself to rebut Schoch. It even directly quotes Townsend with a warm and
            fuzzy sentence that Larry, lit up or sober, would not likely have said, except
            for the dig that Schoch was mentally ill. “[Schoch]...has done some good
            things in the past. I think he’s just going through a little emotional problem.
            It’ll all work out.” This early-days version of a “proto” Drummer, published
            monthly by Embry via H.E.L.P./Drummer, listed a “Ron Harris” as the edi-
            tor who titled the response: “Bullshit Is Not the Truth.” J. R. wrote:

               I am sending this to H.E.L.P./Drummer because I am not saying
               things which the Action [magazine] people want to hear, and thus


              ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-14-2017
                  HOW TO LEGALLY QUOTE FROM THIS BOOK
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