May 1966 • Vol. 1 No. 8
Originally published in the May 1966 issue of Tangents
Enjoyed your recent essay on the Gay Joke. I am sure you are going to be deluged with favorites. Here’s one: Two Jew-mommas meet: Nu, says one, What’s new by you? Oy, good news and bad news. So tell first the bad news. My son Oiving is a fairy. Tsk-tsk, such a tsurris; so tell now the good news. Ah, he’s going out with a nice Jewish docteh! Donald Webster Cory told that when he gave the Matties Probably the NY Mattachinos an idea of what makes a gay joke tick. In this time of leniency, I don’t know why an all-gay joke book is not compiled. Hell, if PLAYBOY can print cartoons on the subject, I’ll bet such a book would make a mint. Do you remember PB’s cartoon of one caveman dragging another to his cave by the hair and one gal bystander says to another: “I don’t like the looks of this…?”
Thanks to Tangents for reminding us that the gay life can really be gay!
I was watching a couple of persons from your organization on the tv the other day. They were speaking mainly about the draft situation. I wonder how many persons who have gotten bad discharges from the military service came forward to help you in your campaign? I would imagine very few. Once a homosexual has been burned and goes into hiding (much like a Negro who passes), he seldom comes out again. But I have great faith in the younger generation of homosexuals. I see evidence they are willing to stand up for their civil rights. The general interest in the question of sexual freedom on our campuses is the sign I find encouraging. You must attract these younger people to your work. They are far less fearful than those of the generations I know. Good luck with Tangents.
I read of the homosexual protest with sorrow, and some sense of feeling that the homosexual leadership has abdicated from the human race. At a time when conscientious youth are marching the picket lines asking justice for the Negro, and an end to the war in Vietnam, the homosexual is asking for equal participation in murder. Consider the war in Vietnam: an enterprise led by a Hitlerite; a war wherein two civilians die for every Viet-Cong; a war whose methods are predominately torture, and bombings with white phosphorus and napalm. Must I explain that napalm burns people alive—that Vietnamese are people—they suffer as you and I…? Hasn’t the homosexual the imagination, the empathy, or human decency to know what this means? I appeal to all homosexuals and heterosexuals to speak out against war, the draft, and against all inhumanity of man to man. I appeal for all to rejoin the human race.
Regarding the Los Angeles motorcade Armed Forces Day. Someone who saw it and spoke to me said that the signs were not quite legible enough and each one should have been just merely an individual message. Many of them needed a sense of continuity in order to be fully understood. A gaudier paint and larger letters would have helped people read them more easily too. Otherwise, I would say bravo for a job well done. I believe the general public was sympathetic to your stand, and I feel that they may be more ready than we think they are for general acceptance of the homosexual, However, I guess as we try the ventures in the future we will all discover what the general public really thinks.
I received my April copy of Tangents together with a notice of expiration. My magazine had apparently been held up because of a Seamen’s strike which we had in England for some weeks.
I certainly wish to continue to subscribe to your excellent publication; I consider the April issue one of the best ever. However, since I am unable to get American dollars, I do not know how I can renew my subscription. I used to be able to pay in Sterling to an address in London. Is this means still available? I have not seen the announcement to this effect in your pages for some time.
It is unfortunate that I have no source for dollars over here as I would also like to buy books from your Bookservice. Wishing you the very best of good fortune with Tangents and your efforts for the homophile.
Editor’s Note: January Tangents carried a Sterling Area Announcement. B. F. Stevens & Brown, Ltd., Arden House, Mill Lane, Godalming, Surrey, England, continues to receive sterling funds credited to Tangents’ acct. Make all cheeks and m.o. in favor of the above company. Your orders and all other correspondence should be sent to Tangents’ office in Hollywood as usual.
I write with reference to an article in Tangents a few months back in which you speak of the “extensive propaganda favoring heterosexual love.” Propaganda is right. And it is of almost manic proportions. Everywhere, in magazine articles, on TV shows, in the movies, the propagandists push boy-girl relationships. The problem is that most boys would actually rather be with other boys. Boys too do not naturally want to be with girls any more than girls naturally want to be with boys. The picture is false. It attempts to deprive children of their natural attraction for members of the same sex. Michael Monahan, the journalist, once wrote that any boy who had passed through his youth and early manhood who had never fallen in love with another boy had really missed something—something irreplaceable. I don’t believe there is such a boy myself.
It is the hypocrisy of our society to deny that this interest exists between persons of the same sex. Too bad. The relationship can be a beautiful thing. Thank goodness for publications like your own. You are a small answer to this indoctrination.
The arrival the other day of what I am informed is the expiration issue of my current subscription has provided sufficient motivation for my atrophied and apathetic fingers to attempt to process a few flickering thoughts gleaned from my enfeebled brain.
Even though Tangents is a necessity and not a luxury, I must regrettably forego renewing my subscription. I have been unemployed for several months, and I have actually, seriously tried to find some kind of job, but with no luck whatever. Even those bloodsucking Agencies with which I have reluctantly be driven to consort have been unable to force my services on anybody, much to their greedy dismay. It’s quite inexplicable. I use the right soap, the right breath sweeteners, the right toothpaste, the right douches, and the right depilatories, and I have taped the corners of my rosy mouth into a 24-hour smile. I even wear tight jockey shorts in order to keep even a hint of the male animal from showing through and giving offense to the sex-sensitive eyes of fastidious ladies and gentlemen in Personnel.
But no—the simple fact is that once you are past 35 in this disneyland of the free you have had it. Fortunately, unlike some, I am not foolish enough to connect this pariah-like state with the results of mishaps in my sex life. Not at all; in such cases as mine one can only fix the blame on that vast insurance racket with dominates the “fringe benefits” end of American business, for this economic caste system that makes maturity a liability in the labor market. Well, I can always go down in front of the Bureau of Employment an soak myself in gasoline (forgetting to take along a packet of matches, of course.)
But enough of these gross physical difficulties. We all know, don’t we, that only things of the spirit matter? Just want to assure you that it’s not the quality of the magazine that leads me to desert you at this time. I have indeed been delighted with your new look, your new tone, your increasing sophistication, and some of the really good things you have been giving us: Leo MacAlbert—a real find, totally non-sentimental and hard; beyond flipness, beyond camp, into the real, awful, comic, non-casual heart of things. Other good items include: the fiction of Francis Sandiford, the one poem by Cyril Peters, Brooke Whitney’s covers, Mr. Waltrip’s embarrassingly honest and lacerated “Valse Triste,” and always, of course, the excellent reviews by Kepner, Bullough, Martin, and Damon—the latter a real gifted girl. Oh, and yes, yes, of course, the poem by Paul Cordell. God! I can’t fail to include that.
Once again, my apologies for not resubscribing.
I am a homosexual. I live in New York, and I am too young to be a member of your group. I am having a great deal of trouble getting together with other homosexuals, partly because I am still afraid of disclosing myself to people right now.
I know of a bachelor around town, about 40 years old, and he has young men in his house all the time. I have heard that be runs around his house in the nude. On the strength of this news, I began to think he was a homosexual. So I told him I was. He asked me why I thought that, and I said because I had no desire to be with women. He told me that he didn’t either, but that be didn’t consider himself homosexual. I was embarrassed and discouraged by this reply. I think you see my problem.
It’s too bad I can’t give you my address so you can write me back, but if I ever come to California I’ll be sure to come and see you.
©1966, 2017 by The Tangent Group. All rights reserved.