Page 193 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 7                        175


             a scripted Hollywood film, such as Casablanca, as opposed to the outlaw
             literary genre, such as Drummer, which is akin to “being and becoming” in
             a passionate, spontaneous indie film that has the audience cuming in their
             brain and in their pants. Isn’t art about interaction? And shouldn’t erotic
             interaction be addressed now and again, especially in gay literature?
                Well into his seventies, Edmund White, bragged he had “written some
             of the strangest pages anyone’s ever typed out about sex.” He told  The
             Guardian newspaper (6 December 2012), that he judged “conventional sex
             writing” to be variously in his words: “comic,” “tacky,” “hackneyed,” “ludi-
             crous,” “stale,” “lurid,” “bleak,” “seedy,” and “impossible to visualize.”
                Was he patronizing the reporter who happened to be female, when he
             added: “It seems to me that gay sex writing is a major test for the typical
             reader, who is a middle-aged woman [sic].” A middle-aged woman? Was he
             born on Planet Absurd? He seemed oblivious of the popular culture of the
             literary canon of gay male magazine writing written by gay men for gay
             men who, by the millions over the years, read a thousand gay male stories
             in Drummer. Finally, he grandly credited a few “great sex writers,” like D.
             H. Lawrence and Robert Gluck of the New Narrative movement, for “doing
             what the Russian formalists said was the secret of all good fiction—making
             the familiar strange....”
                At Drummer, introducing stories of sadomasochism to the masses, we
             made the strange familiar. In this reverse-engineering, many of our authors,
             skilled participants in the “role of the author” within the New Journalism,
             could artfully thread the helix of the classic “familiar strange” and spin it
             to the alternative “strange familiar” for the total intellectual seduction and
             erotic success of sex stories that, like my own eyewitness New Narrative
             feature articles and fiction in Drummer, purposely started in the head and
             worked their way down.
                Perhaps it’s time for this cap-a-pie crew of New York seniors to saddle
             up, pop a Viagra, and pay their erotic dues as responsible gay elders. The
             older dancer, Margot Fonteyn, was rejuvenated by the wildly sexy younger
             dancer from the dance, Rudolf Nureyev who extended her career. Perhaps,
             thus re-juiced, they’ll find themselves triumphantly censored in some fabu-
             lous obscenity trial ala Mapplethorpe who succeeded in being both epicu-
             rean and arousing.
                After all, erotica is the fundamental element of beauty that makes gay
             literature gay. Otherwise, queer writing is just another polite niche genre.
             If writers cannot pen erotica, and by that I mean literary porn that indeed
             “starts in the head and works its way down,” those un-licentious writers
             should lose their license.


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