Page 445 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 445

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 17                       427

                quiet satisfaction that comes from having learned real dominance.
                Drummer was redefining who we were with words, photographs,
                with ideas, with images, with metaphors, with flesh and blood.
                NONE OF IT had been done before. It was truly an exciting, alive,
                vibrant, flawed place.....I may not be gay but I understand how
                privileged I was to be published in the company of those men. It
                actually hurts to read the magazine today. [1980-1990s] Drummer
                takes no risks. And yet it whines constantly that the forces of repres-
                sion...are everywhere....It no longer has that snarly fuck-you atti-
                tude. It’s tired. It bitches....It reads like a clubby newsletter. A rich
                boys’ clique. [The second Drummer owners DeBlase and Andrew
                Charles were, like real-estate mogul Embry with his mink-dragging
                Mario Simon, ostentatiously rich.] It is no longer unique. It has
                become like the rest of gay sex...totally meaningless....Drummer was
                starting to make me throw up when I read it and I was the one [as
                editor!] responsible for what was being published....There I was a
                whore and an editor. I was giving them what they wanted and it
                was all my fault. Blame the editors. [For the bad, and credit them
                for the good] Which is why so much of gay publishing is so fucking
                colorless and impotent. Gay publishing should be more like rock-
                and-roll and less like Edmund Fucking White.

                Two years later, in August 1994, Barrus, exercising his right to rebut
             Embry’s lies, excoriated Embry in another “open letter” addressed to “Dear
             John.” The gorgeously shameless Barrus mailed multiple copies of this letter,
             tossing pages from the open cockpit of his biplane strafing Gay Metropolis.
             Never embarrassed even by Barrus, Embry, who sucked up free column
             inches anywhere he could to fill his pages, published most of Barrus’ open
             letter in his column, “Roses and Brickbats from All Over,” in  Manifest
             Reader (October 1994), pages 5 and 15. Embry liked getting a rise out of
             Barrus whom he provoked, as he had also manhandled Jeanne Barney, in
             order to inject controversy and gossip into his magazines. He had severely
             trashed, slandered, and shamed Barney as early as Drummer 30 (June 1979).
             As editor-in-chief of that issue, I was an eyewitness to the war. It’s not my
             opinion about Embry attacking allies. It’s fact. Embry liked the vigor of
             fighting in print.

               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-14-2017
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