Page 197 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 197

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 7                        179

             (March 1986). In The Burning Pen: Sex Writers on Sex Writing (2001), edi-
             tor M. Christian included fourteen writers, including himself, Pat Califia,
             Picano, and me. Picano, whom I single out for no reason other than that he
             was cool enough to seek publication in Drummer, seemed willing to be “one
             of the boys” among the hard corps. In The Burning Pen, his auto-bio expla-
             nation of his own sex writing went off-topic and was not about the why and
             how of writing erotica. His accompanying story “Expertise,” while about
             sex, was not sexy. As the editor of Drummer, I would have said his story was
             generically literary, but it was not the distinct genre of gay erotic literature
             that, like jazz and blues music in service to eros, has the requisite “Music
             of the Id” quotient required to make one-handed magazine readers hard.
                Quintessential erotic literature is an act of aggression that gets readers
             off. That is a protean task. Most writers in the GLBT “literary world” are
             incapable of hauling readers’ ashes, and therefore are “above” writing gay
             “erotica” which is as essential to gay popular culture as “blues” and “rap”
             are to Black culture.
                There are all kinds of gay writing, but isn’t there something radical and
             true and authentic in gay writing that so affirms the reader’s sexual identity
             that it causes physical orgasm?

                Tim Barrus, the firebrand editor of Drummer, and the founder of
                the LeatherLit Movement (1997) in San Francisco, wrote scornfully
                about the schism in homosexuality between the East Coast and
                the West Coast, and between elitist gay writers and popular-culture
                gay writers. His clever tirade appeared in the same issue in which
                DeBlase’s partner in Drummer, Andy Charles, always the wealthy
                social climber, wrote an apologetic defense of Edmund White whose
                book, The Beautiful Room Is Empty, Barrus had earlier punctured
                with a bad review. Barrus wrote in Drummer 120 (August 1988),
                page four:

                    ...With our art and our message we are involved, here [at
                    Drummer], in the process of creating our own cultural
                    [leather, masculine, literary]  mythology. Our own heroes.
                    Our own sensibility around who and what matters.
                        I have often wondered just exactly what it is many of
                    the (tasteful) writers in such gay publications as let’s say
                    Christopher Street are trying to say. And I have often won-
                    dered if any of the “Lavender [Violet] Quill” boys could write
                    anything that might actually get my dick hard. It’s somewhat
                    interesting to lay down a gauntlet to them—hey, boys, have

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