A bumbling terrorist or terrorist group in North Carolina went to the trouble last weekend of sabotaging a power station that knocked tens of thousands of their fellow citizens off of the power grid for days. Should they be caught and convicted, they will most likely spend some serious time behind bars. Although it has yet to be verified by law enforcement, there is much to suggest it was the work of some anti-LGBTQ+ group that went to all of this trouble, took this enormous risk, and inconvenienced their neighbors in order to prevent some men from donning women’s clothing as part of a drag show called Downtown Divas. The Boston Tea Party it was not. No modern Patrick Henry has yet to stand up to proclaim, “Give me heteronormativity or give me death!”
Closer to home in Columbus on Saturday, a group of weekend warriors armed with weapons of war and dressed in full combat gear, including mostly-masked members of the Ohio Proud Boys, prevented a “Holi-Drag Storytime” event from taking place at the Red Oak Community School. There’s something ironic, hilarious, but ultimately sad about a mob of mostly white “men” feeling the need to arm themselves to the teeth to “protect” their community against a bunch of storytelling queens, a word I use with the utmost respect.
Both of these somewhat comical acts of intolerance occurred in the wake of the mass shooting inside an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs in which five people were killed and many more wounded, both physically and psychologically. There’s nothing “comical” about that.
I can only imagine the horror these groups in North Carolina and Columbus would have experienced had they been alive to attend the 4th century BCE play Lysistrata, written by the great Greek playwright Aristophanes, in which the actors, playing sexually-frustrated warriors of Sparta due to an anti-war sex strike by their wives, walk around wearing giant erect penises. On second thought, such puritanical-minded folk may just be okay with it since it would be heteronormative behavior. But on third thought, ancient Greece is no place to go to promote or defend heteronormativity. And don’t even get me started on the amount of cross-dressing and gender bending in Shakespeare’s plays.
Pop culture also has a long tradition of drag. I wonder when these anti-drag folks will start calling for the banning of reruns of Milton Berle dressed as Auntie Mildred in the fifties or Flip Wilson dressed as Geraldine in the seventies? What about Tom Hanks’ television show Bosom Buddies from the eighties? Or movies like Some Like it Hot with Tony Curtis or Yentyl with Barbara Streisand or Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire? Will they also demand that the Kinks “Lola “and Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like a Lady” and Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” be banned from the airwaves? Bowie, for God’s sake?!
People, it’s just clothes and boas and a bit of makeup, not the end of civilization for God’s sake.
I once dressed as a cheerleader for a Catholic high school pep rally: wig, balloon boobs, and short skirt. (see embarrassing photos below). I’ve also been to a drag show or two, and for the life of me, I can’t understand how anyone would be offended or consider such entertainment to be a sign of the ruination of the Western World, which was more or less invented by those freaky ancient Greeks. The drag shows I’ve attended possessed a spirit of fun, positivity, and inclusiveness. In fact, by the end of the first one I attended unwittingly as part of a bachelor party, I was beginning to find several of the performers quite attractive. Despite my dressing in drag as a cheerleader and attending these drag shows, I can assure you that my heterosexuality never wavered.
No one is being forced to dress in drag or to attend a drag event. Personally, and call me what you want, I would have rather had my children attend a story time led by a drag queen than a blood-soaked MMA fight or a professional wrestling match, where violence and the objectification of women are not just part of the show but the actual point of the show. I’d suggest that if you find a drag show distasteful, there’s a simple solution: don’t go or take your children.
Heck, if I were of the mind to control other folks’ entertainment options (FYI: I’m not.), I’d ban drag races, not drag shows, for the noise pollution they produce, the gasoline they waste, and the high levels of CO2 and toxic masculinity they emit. However, I have no plans to protest their existence in any way, much less to cut off the power to their racetrack and half of the county. If the spectacle of two vehicles racing side-by-side in a straight line with flames spewing out the back for a quarter mile brings you joy, I say, Good on, ya!” I don’t understand the attraction, but who am I to tell you where to find your entertainment.
“Live and let live.”
If you’re genuinely concerned with moral depravity, there are plenty of other more deserving targets than drag shows, including an American culture rife with corporate greed, conspicuous consumption, food waste, homelessness, chauvinism/misogyny, homophobia, racism, the spurning of refugees, an inhumane incarceration system, etc., etc., etc. In other words, a culture lacking in adherence to the most basic preaching of that Jesus fella.
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One thought on “What a Drag!”
Outstanding Blog Ty. Violence is on an upswing in our country, and many are okay with it.