Page 448 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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430      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999


               with such a small present-day staff, and the abundance of calamities
               that have befallen us recently there has been little time to...com-
               municate with our contributors the way we would like.....We felt we
               should [publish this letter]. It is certainly not to ridicule Mr. Barrus,
               whose abilities we often admire.


               In his own patronizing and dismissive words in this quote, Embry gave
            evidence of his emotional problems that ruined him as a businessman.
               He always seemed attracted and repulsed by Barrus and by most other
            contributors in the village it took to create an issue of Drummer. He was
            attracted because he needed writers, artists, and photographers to fill his
            magazine. He was repulsed because they made creative demands and argued
            to be paid. Mostly, he was jealous that many of his contributors were more
            gifted than he, the publisher, whom they made look good. He wanted to be
            “Mr. Drummer,” but he wasn’t loved. He wanted to be one of us boys in the
            Drummer Salon creating the magazine, but even as publisher, he managed
            to cause his own ostracization.
               So he played a tiny thumb-and-forefinger violin, singing his sad story as
            a publisher-saint, beset with calamity, who can’t keep up with “correspon-
            dence”—which meant “payment”—to his contributors. The cynical Embry
            lied when he wrote that he did not wish to “ridicule” Barrus who topped
            his Blacklist.
               Embry’s sadist heart liked ridiculing people. His masochist heart loved
            being ridiculed. He got a cheap thrill publishing readers’ letters bitching
            about him and the trickster way he did business. By issue eleven, Barney
            said, he had earned the nickname “Robert Ripoff” in publishing and mail
            order.
               On December 11, 2008, Tim Barrus wrote to me:


               John Embry always sucked. He made an accounting error once and
               sent me several checks for the same article. Then he saw his error
               and screamed blood he wanted his money back. I was in Key West
               at that time. I cashed every check. Fuck him.


               Embry, as a business man, had a loud stentorian voice in print. The
            power of the press belongs to him who has one, and Embry had platforms.
            From the early 1970s to his death in 2010, he owned nearly a dozen maga-
            zines such as Mach, The Alternate, Manifest Reader, and Super MR. He was
            miles wide, but only an inch deep.
               When he asked me in 1978 to help him create Mach as a Drummer


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