Page 472 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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454      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            or Robert Opel’s to trash John Embry. He did, by my measure, all of us
            wrong. Did he cause actual professional harm that cost us all money for
            which damages and reparation could be sought? No one can prove that
            intuition any more than Dick Saunders in 2006 “knew,” but could not
            prove, who it was who burgled Probe disco in LA and set it ablaze in 1981.
               Was there glee in Embry’s trying to contaminate us through his Leather
            Mafia puppets? Some of the brainwashed who drank his Godfather Kool-
            Aid continued to do his bidding. They perpetuated his Blacklist even post-
            Drummer when they went out for coffee or a symposium; or, worse, when
            they—as accomplices after the fact, or as infected victims of Embry’s disin-
            formation—carried his defamations to work as “background noise” at book
            and magazine publishers other than Drummer.
               Preston, Rowberry, and the rest of Embry’s chain-gang staff of “leath-
            erboys” might have recalled the puppet Pinocchio: “To become a real boy,
            you must be brave, truthful, and unselfish.” The first line in Some Dance
            to Remember is a warning about the dangers of living with only a gay heart:
            “In the end, he could not deny his human heart.” In all my writing—in my
            constant theme of surviving in a fallen and lost gay Eden, there exists an
            archetypal, lubricious, viral, and disingenuous queer snake just as dangerous
            as the serpent that curls around straight hearts and minds.
               An x-ray of Embry’s Blacklist revisionism can be read in Manifest Reader
            22 (1994) where he lied, and I select that word purposely, in his obituary
            for John Rowberry who died December 4, 1993. Embry’s eulogy was propa-
            ganda and lies of both omission and commission. Methodist Embry broke
            the Protestant Ninth Commandment when he bore false witness that my
            “Tough Customers” was a “Rowberry concept.” He also lied in Manifest
            Reader 26, January 1996, when he wrote that John Rowberry had been
            “editor-in-chief.” In truth, there were only two editors-in-chief of Drummer:
            Jeanne Barney and I. Barney told me that she, not claimant Embry, invented
            the “Getting Off” title for the Drummer editorial column, and “Dear Sir”
            for “Letters to the Editor.” Thirty years on, she remained adamant about
            Embry stealing her history of her origination of her own concept titles for
            columns inside Drummer.
               When I invented my column, “Tough Customers,” for Drummer 25
            (December 1978), I did it alone. In Drummer 188 (September 1995), page
            23, and in Manifest Reader 26 (January 1996), page 47, Embry claimed the
            creation of Drummer was his solo act: “It was,” he wrote, “a solitary, if not
            immaculate, conception.” He had no problem staking his claim, nor should
            the other founders of Drummer because it took a village to create its evolving
            identity, content, and aura.

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