Saturday, September 12, 2015

Dragging Minstrels

Which is the more smarter? I saw another drag show, so I was thinking of doing a post about a future history, written from the perspective of, you know, 2115, or something, using a now-article about minstrel shows as a model except exchanging "drag" for "blackface" and then changing the date to 2115, and, like, this future history would make us reevaluate our perspective on what drag shows are or what they mean. Well, all right, maybe not our perspective, but the perspective of a hypothetical reader who might read it and then think about things in a different way.

Like, it's not that drag shows are necessarily bad, they would say, because they respect...but then maybe they don't, because minstrel shows were a satire too, and even real black people performed in them, which is way more progressive than the drag show I went to, since there were no real women playing drag queens, who were themselves in blackface, except now it's not called blackface it's called womanface, and it's not demeaning to female culture because it is in fact a celebration of transgender culture which is liberating and accepting in a way that celebrations of transracial culture or celebrations of white takes on black culture can never be after the big nine handed down Flanders v. Gump et. al.

Then of course I second guessed myself and thought that the better way to make the point was not through mere satire, as Benjamin Franklin, great Benjamin Franklin, would have it, but rather to address the issues raised by the comparison between drag shows and minstrel shows through a lengthy analysis which henceforth (and indeed) employed both more and larger words. In conducting this analysis, this incisive unpacking of the cultural baggage associated with the as-yet unseen comparison between drag shows and minstrel shows, would I argue, in essence, we had lost our perspective on things, being disclined, sick, to praise anything other than ourselves or those like us, when in fact the same could be said of the minstrels themselves, like the drag queens themselves, becoming part of a culture by playing upon it in an honest way. And, in hindsight, for what it's worth, imho, was it really necessary to say, back there, "In essence"? Perhaps not, though the larger issue looms, like a buttocks-shaped foggy formation descending upon the skyscrapers of Manhattan one cloudy morn, that a Slate-esque argumentative essay, neatly trimmed to one thousand words with a flashing advertisement for e-trade shooting green lightning into your eyes from two inches eastward, might have been the best way to go.

Does selecting the satirical option "cut to the chase," as it were, conveying the essential point without unnecessary verbiage or e-tradeism? Or, does it prove that I'm little more than a sad recycler of one century's critiques for another's, unable to produce the kind of clearheaded analyses of dragging minstrels that, in anticipated hindsight, we so sorely need both in your days and ours?

No comments:

Post a Comment