Page 243 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 9                        225


             education. When the October 17, 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake stopped
             the live telecast of the World Series in San Francisco, knocked down the
             Bay Bridge, and destroyed the Drummer office, DeBlase became so per-
             sonally desperate that in December 1989—years before charity schemes
             like GoFundMe—I wrote a fund-raising letter requesting kink community
             support of Drummer, “the leather people’s magazine,” because Drummer, to
             me, was never about who owned it, so much as it was about the institution
             and force and voice that Drummer proved itself to be in the evolution of gay
             liberation and leather identity. That authentic Drummer voice needed res-
             cue. The open letter was to have been signed by a dozen leather luminaries.
                My full text contained this excerpt:


                    We, the writers, artists, photographers, and videographers
                who supply  Drummer  magazine, ask you to join up in the res-
                cue of a magazine fighting for survival. After the October 1989
                earthquake, Mother Jones magazine petitioned its readers to help
                it recover from its severe loss. The MJ readers responded nobly.
                As you may know, the Drummer office building was completely
                destroyed by the quake. This loss was injury on top of insult—the
                insult being the censorship rampant in the US [by right-wingnut
                Republican Senator Jesse Helms and the US Senate]. Both events...
                have forced Drummer to its present shape. The earthquake disaster
                is in recovery.... The censorship battles are still to be fought. If you
                compare a 1989 Drummer to a 1979 Drummer, you will see in the
                1979 issues what you can no longer see in the 1989/1990 issues.
                Bookstore owners across the US tremble when religious fundamen-
                talists come into their stores to censor everything from Catcher in
                the Rye to Drummer.... First they come for your magazines, then
                for your VCRs, then for you. If this sounds alarmist, it is. We are
                sounding the alarm, because we live in alarming times. We are
                fast sliding into 1950s McCarthyism which can slide into 1930s
                Fascism, ironically, while, in other countries, walls [the Berlin Wall
                had just fallen that November 1989] crumble as individual humans
                reach for freedom of the self.... —Best regards, Jack Fritscher

                The draft of the letter sought the signatures of creatives such as Mikal
             Bales, Rex, the Hun, Domino, Mark I. Chester, Terry LeGrand, Roger Earl,
             Mister Marcus, Mark Thompson, Pat Califia, Elizabeth Gershman, Brian
             Dawson, Richard Bulger, Trent Dunphy, Alan Selby, and Judith Tallwing-
             McCarthy, among others.


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