Thursday, August 31, 2023

Now that is one ugly drag queen

by Rod Williams, August 31, 2023-
The New Republic today had an article about how Republicans are passing all of these anti-drag queen laws and how they are being struck down in the courts. That pretty much sums up the content of the article. In fact, the title of the piece encapsulates the whole thing, "The GOP’s Drag Bans Aren’t Meant to Be Good Laws. They’re Meant to Cause Chaos." I think there is some truth to what the article says. 

It seems to me cultural liberals want to push the envelope of acceptable contemporary community standards of normality and decency and move the nation toward a more libertine society and acceptance of deviancy, and conservatives push back and resist. Also, however, it seems conservatives keep trying to get people riled up and keep them sending in the campaign contributions.  Both sides want to keep stirring the pot.

I find the chemical castration of children and genital mutilation abhorrent. Call it "gender affirmation care" all you want; it should not be permitted. Also, I am annoyed by a person using the plural pronoun "they."  A person can refer to himself with that pronoun all he wants, I won't. One single person is not "they." That being said however, I just can't get too upset about some things that rile a lot of conservatives. I wish Republicans were talking more about the national debt and less about drag queens. 

It seems to me cultural conservatives could let some things slide instead of always ready to fight.  America is still more puritanical than most of the Western world and the tide is running against that puritanism. Anyone who has visited Europe and seen topless women featured in advertisements on the side of buses or visited a beach realizes America is an outlier. I am not really alarmed or frightened by the change. We have been slowly moving in a more libertine direction for decades. The way women dress would have gotten them arrested in previous decades; now no one bats an eye.  I understand the desire to hang on to the old morality, but I am not necessarily on board. This brings us to drag shows.

When states starting passing laws to regulate drag shows, I doubted they would pass legal muster.  After all, it took years and years to make strip clubs boring and it has been a very long time since a book was banned. The First Amendment's freedom of expression makes regulating public morality very difficult. Also, drag is an ancient art form. From Milton Berle and Bob Hope in drag in the 50's to Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire, drag has been part of contemporary entertainment. And, quite frankly, I see nothing alarming about some guy dressed up like Dolly Parton and lip-syncing. And, when I have seen it, it was not lewd. Weird, but not lewd. 

Liberal critics mischaracterized the law in Tennessee from the very first.  We never "banned" drag shows.  The Tennessee law prohibiting drag performances in public spaces if the performances were sexually suggestive. Drag shows in nightclubs were never threatened.  "Sexually suggestive," is hard to define, however. I have seen some drag shows and I don't get it. Mostly, I find them a drag.

I do have concern about "drag queen story time" in public libraries and if it happened in a city where I served in the local city council, I would vote to cut funding for the libraries and let it be known that our city will not permit such. I don't like adults normalizing their deviancy among children. Really, however, drag queen story hour in public libraries is still quite rare. 

Look at the above picture of a story-time drag queen. The caption says, "A child listens as drag queen Brigitte Bandit reads a book during a drag time story hour at the Little Gay Shop fashion accessories store in Austin, Texas, on August 26." This is in a public space, open and accessible to the general public, I assume, but it is not a publicly operated space; it is not a library. I doubt any parents just wonders into Little Gay Shop with their child and does not know what they are doing. I am for trusting parents to make decisions for their child.  If parents want to let their child listen to a drag queen read a story, then that should be their prerogative. While we as a society need to protect children from exploitation and abuse, parents are the ones primarily responsible for relaying values to children. I doubt many people go to a Pride parade not knowing what it is and if they take their child and some guy is dressed like Dolly Parton lip-synching, I doubt it harms the child. In any event, it should be up to the parent to decide if that is appropriate entertainment.  Some parents monitor what movies their children watch on Netflix; some don't.  I don't want to make that the government's job. 

In looking at the picture above, the first thing I thought was, damn, that is one ugly drag queen; the child we be traumatized. 

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

No comments:

Post a Comment