Page 192 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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174      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

               Why wouldn’t such frisson apply to writing as well?
               We’ve all read the calla-lily literature penned by writers in the hot-
            house of New York. On September 10, 2015, The New York Times Style
            Magazine published a feature, “They Made New York,” with a kind of “Sgt.
            Pepper cover” group photo of twenty-eight celebrities including Edmund
            White and Larry Kramer whose faces under the high-concept title rather
            much italicized their insular regionalism which is a bit different than San
            Francisco’s peninsular regionalism because the San Francisco peninsula,
            unlike the margins of Manhattan Island, is actually connected to the rest
            of the continent. So, where is that island clique’s erotica? Ed White is six
            months younger than I, and six years younger than Larry Kramer, but that
            self-titled City Boy, posing with cane in hand, has vaporized out loud that
            he is the last of his generation. In his My Lives, as Ed grows older and more
            Falstaff-ian, he might regret a certain Midwest Ohio self-censorship that
            kept his youthful Id from writing a porno masterwork after his soft-core
            striptease The Joy of Gay Sex which he worried, actually worried, would kill
            his reputation.
               Crown, his publisher, took out a full-page ad in Drummer 18 (August
            1977) to sell that book by the chummy-named “Ed White.” White claims he
            rescued Foucault, but Foucault should have rescued him. Foucault, at least,
            sexed around at night in the bars and baths of Drummer territory on Folsom
            Street in San Francisco where we took turns sizing him up with our fists
            confirmed by our glove size. If it was good enough for DeSade and Pasolini,
            where is White’s 120 Days of Sodom? Why has no editor like New York
            anthologists Michael Denneny and John Preston ever gathered together a
            certain best-seller: a collection of erotic fiction written by Edmund White,
            Tony Kushner, Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano, and even Larry Kramer, the
            scourge and Scrooge of 1970s free love, as well as the other usual suspects
            who maybe wish they could unbutton themselves and cut to the radical
            masturbation heart of what makes gay literature gay: sex. Appreciating the
            talents of these writers, I hope that hidden novels by some of these cautious
            men will eventually be published posthumously like E. M. Forster’s Maurice.
            Readers also hope that in a kind of “White 2.0” or “Kramer 2.0,” some of
            their existing novels be republished in years to come with the sex passages
            restored as happened in 2011 with Oscar Wilde’s Portrait of Dorian Gray
            (1890) and James Jones’ From Here to Eternity (1951). Both were republished
            in unexpurgated editions, with the censored sentences of Wilde inserted,
            and the four-letter words and gay sex of Jones’s original manuscript restored.
               There is no begrudging the dandy-in-aspic New York establishment
            their local color performing within their gay genre, which is like acting in

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