No Ding-a-Ling For Mary

LONDON: The BBC has broken with tradition by ignoring a call from Mrs Mary Whitehouse who wants Chuck Berry’s hit record My Ding-a-Ling banned from radio and television.

When the BBC went on playing the record on Radio-1 and television’s Top of the Pops, Mrs Whitehouse packed her bags and set off to Washington to start cleaning up television in the USA.

Despite Mrs Whitehouse’s letters of protest to the BBC and Sir John Eden, the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, the BBC went on playing Chuck’s record and a spokesman said: “We’ve still had no complaints.”

Mary Whitehouse wants the record banned because, she says, it is meant to encourage masturbation.

Phonogram, the record company that releases the Chuck Berry record in this country, described Mrs Whitehouse’s criticisms as “ridiculous” and added that there was a longer version of the song on Chuck’s LP which had been available since July.

The company said a cinema manager in the North of England had phoned to say how popular the record was at his Saturday morning childrens’ matinees. The children sang along with it and even made their own ding-a-lings.

To the children a ding-a-ling is a piece of string with a bell on the end. Only Mary Whitehouse had thought it had anything to do with masturbation.

And the BBC went on playing the record on Radio-1. When it came to Top of the Pops they played the record, but showed no film of Chuck performing. Instead there were a series of stills of Chuck Berry, drawings, and a dance by Pan’s People, the show’s resident gymnasts.

Within days Mrs Whitehouse, who is secretary of the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association – which she formed herself – was off to take on the job of cleaning up the USA at the request of President Nixon’s adviser on pornography, Mr Charles Keeting.

As she left Heathrow Ariport, London, Mrs Whitehouse, who was clutching a copy of the report on pornography by Lord Longford’s self-appointed committee on the subject said: “We are hoping to co-operate with an American society with the same aims as our own to try to reach a better understanding of the way violence and sexual permissiveness can be reduced in broadcasting.”

Mrs Whitehouse will make a coast-to-coast tour of the United States looking for dirty meanings in television and radio shows.

U.S. Gays And Elections Fight

Gays have entered the National Political arena this American election year of ’72. Five explicit homosexuals successfully captured delegate and/or alternate delegate seats to the Democratic National Convention. They were chosen by their electorates in New York City and Buffalo, New York; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and San Fransisco, California. Our gay delegates addressed the United States Government, the people of America and the World in twenty minutes of International TV network time. In stirring rhetoric they told of the denial of civil liberties exercised at all levels of government and business against twenty million homosexuals here and urged the passage of their Gay Rights Plank. The proposed plank fell to the voice “No” vote, but Gay History had been made and Homosexuals had now become a visible minority.

They became so visible that when a Gay Activist came to the Republican Platform Committee some months later, with a small group of gay lobbyists, they were greeted with the sight of a vicious caricature of a homosexual, a black welfare woman and a woman for abortion, an American Indian and others depicted on the cover of the Republican Party’s official magazine, First Monday. It was the Party’s blatant message to all its members and especially to their platform committee, which was meeting that week, to ‘hands off’ sensitive issues.

Gays burned some fifty copies of First Monday gleefully and furiously, in turns, in front of the Fountainbleau Hotel, used as Republican Headquarters. The demonstrators were a small but extremely vocal group of gay non-delegates from all over the US. They were subjected to covert police brutality but continued cheering and jeering. ‘Gay is angry! Gay is proud! …’ brandishing flaming magazines in the air before adding them to the sidewalk bonfire. It was a very hot day. Over twenty police cars carrying tour pigs each arrived. Added to the fifty already present, gays were outnumbered six to one, but kept right on burning, chanting and making speeches.

As the Republican Convention Week progressed it became apparent that the Nixon Administration, unlike the McGovern group, exercised media blackout of gay activities and just about the only ‘gays’ to get coverage were the known CIA agents in our midst.

Riot Wednesday came and about two hundred gays cast their lot with radical groups to demonstrate against the war and to smear the Nixon image. They were maced, gassed and roughed up along with SDS, VVAW, etc, and tourists and old-people bystanders. Demonstrators were finally beaten back to Flamingo Park after some four hours of street battle, only to have their Medic Hospital thoroughly gassed and their camp guards maced under the glare and rumble of the State helicopters.

The Nixon overkill, so evident in Vietnam, was activated against America. Over 1000 nondelegates were arrested, about fifty of them explicit homosexuals certified by their gay buttons. (They were treated beautifully by their straight cellmates those two days in jail.) Most of the non-delegates elected to stay in jail and were released to get rid of them without posting their assigned bond.

It is noteworthy that a national gay effort by various groups has taken place in this immense and diverse country. Our Convention Summer of ’72 portends an additional directioning in America which is viable and national and which can effectively augment the mighty efforts of regional and/or factional groups.

Edda Cimino Female co-ordinator of National Coalition of Gay Organisations for the Republican National Convention

Friends in High Places

19720901-05John Edgar “Mother” Hoover is dead at 77. Although Mother was much maligned in recent years by radicals — both Gay and straight — Hoover will probably be remembered in history as one of the great heroes of Gay history.

His critics said he was a master of the queenly arts; that he maintained his power by cunning conivery; that he was a master of deceit, that he used his dossiers on the sex lives of politicians to get his way. All of these techniques are the skills of the old-time queen; the things that queens had to do to survive in a hostile world.

In spite of his right wing political views, in spite of his practice of using his sex files against his enemies, not once in his 48 years in office did he use his files against a Gay brother. Undoubtedly, his files had the dope on many secret homosexuals in high and low places, but to Hoover, this secret was a confidence, a holy trust which he never betrayed.

During the McCarthy-Nixon anti-homosexual witchhunts, Hoover refused to turn over his vast files on homosexual employees to the Unamerican Activities Committee.

When McCarthy and Nixon equated homosexuals with communists. Hoover wrote a best selling book, “The Masters of Deceit”, in which he said that while communism is a conspirital political movement, it has no connection with homosexuality, and, in fact, communists are vehement in their persecution of homosexuals.

When President Johnson’s chief aid, Walter Jenkins, was arrested for sucking cocks in the YMCA toilet, Hoover sent Jenkins a bouquet of roses. Hoover and Jenkins had been close friends for many years. When Hoover was summoned to court to explain why he gave a top security clearance to a man with a long record of arrests for homosexuality. Hoover told them it was none of their business, and refused to turn over his file on Jenkins.

The evil things they say about the viciousness and treachery of Hoover may be true, but he didn’t cooperate in the purges and persecution of homosexuals. In fact, Hoover often used the prestige and power of his office to protect homosexuals from the witchhunters.

Some radicals used to start of discussions of the F.B.I. by saying “Did you know the director is a fag?”. Gay Liberationists often used Hoover as the horrible example of the closet queen. But Hoover could not come-out as a self-declared homosexual. To have done so would have destroyed his effectiveness.

Hoover is survived by Clyde Tolson, his constant companion during the last 44 years of his life. Tolson, now 70 years old, was very close to Hoover. The two bachelors lunched and dined together almost every day and had dinner together in Tolson’s home the night Hoover died. Every day. Hoover would pick up Tolson on his way to work, and drop him off again after dinner in the evening. They spent their vacations together. They worked together in the same office.

Hoover left his entire estate of $551,000 to Tolson, who now lives alone in Hoover’s $100,000 antique filled mansion in Washington D.C.

Most Gays are still hostile to Hoover because of his conservative political views, but in time, Hoover may come to be recognised as the great benefactor of the Gay Community, a man who was loyal to his friends, and never did wrong to a fellow homosexual. The status of homosexuals in America today would be a lot worse than it is were it not for the protecting hand of Hoover.

The story of the 44 years of mutual love and devotion between Edgar and Clyde may become a classic story of Gay love, and rank with the stories of David and Jonathan and Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.

Reprinted with love from the Bay Area Reporter (BAR), May 31, 1972.