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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 27

                          Coaching Drummer:
                           How Jack Fritscher Survived
                        Every Owner, Publisher, and Editor
                             by Harold E. Cox, Ph.D.

             The history of Drummer is closely tied to the liberation history of mascu-
             line-identified gay male sex in the United States and there is no one alive
             today better qualified to write this history than Jack Fritscher. Associated
             with the legendary magazine as editor, writer, and photographer for some
             twenty-plus years, Fritscher is the keeper of the institutional memory of
             Drummer. In the confusion that followed the Stonewall Riot in New
             York, it was clear to Fritscher that the macho male community was a dif-
             ferent breed from the drag queens of the Village, the two groups having
             stylistically little in common beyond basic same-sex drives. While the
             fight for freedom may have been the same for both (or perhaps not — you
             decide), the route to be traveled to gender identity was far different. This
             difference was explained to me some years ago by an observer who had
             watched the police and the drag queens fight for a while, decided that the
             screaming was boring, and went down to the Trucks for some real action.
                Jack Fritscher, born in the 1930s, recognized through boyhood
             epiphanies that masculine erotic culture was rooted in the heroic military
             men of World War II. As a teenager seeing magazines and movies, he
             responded to the alienated veterans’ banding into the motorcycle gangs
             which evolved with their male-male rituals in the 1950s and 1960s. This
             was something new because prior to WWII, traditional S&M relations
             were — and still are — hide bound in the set formulas of Victorian English
             “games.” Our modern macho male colors are black leather, blue denim,
             and prison orange. The modern “Victorian” gays following Oscar Wilde
             tend more to lavender and pinks. Think Shiites and Sunnis.
                The roots of gay male S&M in America are to be found in the week-
             end sex games played by rugged young military men in the sand dunes
             at Virginia Beach during the 1940s, a time when the immediate vicin-
             ity contained the largest aggregation in the world of soldiers, sailors, air
             corps, and Marines who mustered out and disseminated throughout the
             US. In his war stories and military photography in Drummer, editor in
             chief Fritscher knew that Drummer’s 1970s demographic was readers who
             grew up during WWII in erotic awe of soldiers who were their fathers,
             uncles, brothers, and the older “boy next door.”

           ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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