Page 178 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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160      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            witch Gerald Gardner did it in the 1950s declaring in Britain that wicca was
            in fact the Old Religion thereby ending all the UK laws against witchcraft
            and the women and gay men who practice it. Patrick Califia, that immortal
            changeling, mentioned me in one of his books as a “prophet of homomascu-
            linity” which seems, although I am not a prophet of anything, a cool poetic
            metaphor in an age when gender identity and queer spirit are hot topics in
            gay theology.
               Pioneer leather author William Carney shocked the 1960s when he
            advanced the idea of spiritual orders of gay men in his epistolary novel
            The Real Thing (1968) whose mystic leather rituals I analyzed in Popular
            Witchcraft (1972). Then, funny enough, I was censored. I was not allowed
            to mention the charismatic Carney during my editorial run at Drummer
            because John Embry from LA, wary of anything transcendental, had grown
            wary of the successful and challenging Bill Carney of San Francisco—
            which, Embry implied, was not a big enough town for the two of them.
            Just as Embry had damned his Los Angeles rival Larry Townsend with
            a scathing review of his novel Chains in the very first issue of Drummer,
            Embry also blacklisted Carney and his esoteric book, especially after long-
            time Drummer reviewer Ed Franklin had given The Real Thing an abso-
            lutely glowing review in Drummer 7 which made novelist Embry jealous.
            Characteristic of his Imperial Majesty, Embry famously neglected to read
            copy we writers gave him, and as editor I took positive advantage of that
            freedom to shape what I wanted Drummer to say. Even so, Embry’s pique
            kept certain authors and a certain mysticism out of Drummer. I lamented
            that. I was a Catholic until history caught up with me and I evolved like a
            sensible human from the revealed religion of Catholicism to a more natural,
            intuitive religion free of institutional hierarchy and especially free of ter-
            rorizing children with threats of hell. (In August 1989, after Embry sold
            Drummer to Anthony DeBlase, William Carney was finally cited in the
            pages of Drummer 132.)

                                 The Square Root of Embry

               John Embry was a stocky, red-faced, belligerent man, a Protestant
               always looking for a fight. When he was frustrated by not being able
               to get political traction in Los Angeles from the Slave Auction arrests
               or any literary credential in San Francisco with his own novels, he
               took his aggressions out on his friends and associates in the arts in
               both cities. Hardly any employee, freelance writer, artist, or photog-
               rapher escaped his jealous meanness in his Drummer soap opera

              ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-16-2017
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