March 9, 2018

Did you see Nancy Pelosi on "RuPaul's Drag Race" last night?

I did. (I watch the show because Tom & Lorenzo talk about it on their podcast, and I like listening to them.)

Here's the Newsweek article:
"Nancy Pelosi? I'm dying. I just want to say thank you to her, I want to hug her, I wanna be like, 'Kick their ass.' [She] is spear-heading the way through," Morgan McMichaels, the drag persona of Thomas White, said.

"For 30 years, she's been a champion for LGBT rights," RuPaul added, and Pelosi raised a fist to reveal a rainbow bracelet on her wrist. Pelosi also got a customary "Halleloo!" greeting from Shangela.

But the queen most enamored with her appearance was Trixie Mattel, who visibly teared up while the politician was speaking. "Every time you get into drag, you make a political statement," Trixie explained in her confessional segment. "We live in a world where a high power politician will walk in the workroom, and it makes me feel hopeful."
"The workroom" = a set on the show.
Pelosi, for her part, told The Hollywood Reporter that she admires queens like Trixie deeply. She even suggested that politicians could learn a thing or two from Ru's girls: "Authenticity. Taking pride in who you are. Knowing your power—that’s what I talk about on my brief segment on the show."

IN THE COMMENTS: Everyone jumps on that word "authenticity." "I mean, I'm all for people doing what they want -- except for misusing words like "authenticity'" (fivewheels); "Authenticity? A man dressed as an over-the-top woman is authentic?" (Annie C); and the inevitable "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means" (Ignorance is Bliss). Yeah? Well, when a person putting on a show is in costume and makeup, you could say he's an authentic showperson. And, anyway, what makes you think you're so authentic?

My mind drifted back to this 1967 song by Jake Holmes, "Genuine Imitation Life":



chameleons changing colors while a crocodile cries
people rubbing elbows but never touching eyes
taking off their masks revealing still another guise
genuine imitation life
people buying happiness and manufactured fun
everybody doing everybody done
people count on people who can only count to one
genuine imitation life
Covered by Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons — listen here.

40 comments:

fivewheels said...

I mean, I'm all for people doing what they want -- except for misusing words like "authenticity".

Annie C said...

Authenticity? A man dressed as an over-the-top woman is authentic?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Authenticity

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

rhhardin said...

Milton Berle ought to get the credit.

n.n said...

Transgender.

Xmas said...

Drag Queens...."Authenticity"....Drag Queens.......

I have nothing against Drag Queens. They live their lives boldly. They can be fierce and fearless. But, they are putting on a mask. They're actors in a role, no matter how committed they are to that role. Behind the mask is a different person.

Gahrie said...

I know when I think of authenticity, the first thing that pops into my mind is men pretending to be women.

Fernandistein said...

No, of course not.

Gahrie said...

I guess I should read the other comments before posting.

mccullough said...

Botox isn’t authentic

tcrosse said...

None of these guys dress up as Pelosi.

Drago said...

I'm glad to see that Pelosi's brain is sufficiently "un-frozen" that she can actually get up and about and has now remembered that her advisors have screamed at her to stop calling wage increases, bonuses and additional jobs "crumbs".

So, you know, kudos.

Rob said...

“Authenticity” is proof that the botox has gone to her brain.

traditionalguy said...

When, oh when, will people stop persecuting the cross-dressers? Oh, yeah, they already did that 50 years ago. It's time to move on. A show of men dressing like women was a common stunt at fundraisers in the 1970s.

The Germans Have A Word For That. said...

"Authenticity. Taking pride in who you are. Knowing your power—that’s what I talk about on my brief segment on the show."

The concept of authenticity, linguistically dressed in drag.

Authenticity is, in this usage, how you want to be perceived.

In which case the authenticity is to a projection. The woman who dyes her hair blonde is authentically blonde, because that is who she chooses to be.

The desire to dictate other people's perceptions of you is what is most authentic here.

This is not an observation that belongs only to drag queens.

The rich man wants to be seen as humble: if you see him as such, you have conveyed authenticity to his projection of self-perception.

Rachel Anne Dolezal projected her authenticity of being black because she believed it to be so; other people, black and white, disagreed.

Those who believe they are a gatekeeper of authenticity believe their right to do so is authentic.

But when authenticity is tied to self-identity then the very idea of authenticity contains some degree of cultural appropriation: only those like me can validate it. To attribute authenticity to one of another culture is to appropriate that culture's concept of authenticity.

Which is a twist on the concept of Cool: it used to be that the authenticity of being Cool necessitated the status of being an outsider. Now one has to be an insider to be authenticated as Cool: you cannot be outside the outsiders.

Venn Diagrams, etc etc.

The Germans have a word for this.

Sebastian said...

O authentic, drag queens authentic -- quite a morning.

Bay Area Guy said...

Nancy Pelosi with RuPaul and multiple, biracial, bisexual drag queens?

For comedic purposes, this is called a "target rich environment"

Bay Area Guy said...

As a Libertarian, I prefer Rand Paul to RuPaul.

The Walker said...

What and who the hell is authentic anymore? And what is authenticity anyways? Kudos to them. The President is following in their footsteps. A truly authentic president. Yeah, when I think of authenticity, the first thing that pops into my mind is Trump pretending to be President.

Bay Area Guy said...

As for RuPaul and Nancy Pelosi, one is an aging, phony, drama queen and the other is....RuPaul.

Mike said...

Regarding "authenticty" one must acknowledge that the Facebook phenomenon is a giant eminence front for the hoi polloi. People posting photos and articles and "updates" that are every bit as fake as all the MSM/DNC russiagate media missives, living virtual inauthentic lives. At least the drag racers are saying, "Look. This is me. This is who I am. This is what I do."

It ain't my bag. Even if I did like dress-up I'm not sure I could organize my whole life around such a proclivity. But these people do. And I live in Palm Springs where nightly drag shows are common and several drag "stars" do actually star in nightly shows around town. So I believe that this "authenticity" that the Drag Race guys project is at least an honest attempt to "be who they think they should be."

Are YOU being the best you can be?

MadisonMan said...

As they say, if you can fake authenticity, you have it made.

Bay Area Guy said...

"Every time you get into drag, you make a political statement"

The Statement - "I am really stupid, so I vote Democrat"

Ralph L said...

I just remember my late step-monster (coincidentally named Nancy) used to do something similar to that mouth-motion Pelosi did at the SOTU. Could they be trying to prevent drooling due to botox? The monster was on so many medications, I figured it was from those.

Mike said...

In a little bit of serendipity, two posts have converged for me. One of the local drag queens is Arial Trampway (a take on the arial tram that conducts visitors to Palm Springs up to Santa Rosa peak 8000 feet above the valley). You can see her standing next to her Barbie-style pink Cadillac convertible on this page. Couldn't find a better photo of her and her car but as you might expect, she's very easy to spot around town. The Caddy is hot metallic pink.

So we gotta Barbie drag queen in the mix, although she's definitely a Bratz-type of personality.

Amadeus 48 said...

Authentic..and legit! Not to mention pukka, the real McCoy, and genuine Corinthian leather. It's all there, and it's really fake. If authentic means really fake, then it's authentic.

The Trump Organization would like to do you a favor and get you into a top, top building at a top address that includes a membership in a top, top golf club. There aren't many left, but they think they can get you in. It's authentic!

Bay Area Guy said...

Crazy is the new normal. Political statement to follow.......

Mike said...

Here's a slightly better shot of "Ariel" and her pink Caddy.

Darrell said...

Did you see Nancy Pelosi on "RuPaul's Drag Race" last night?

No.

William said...

Nancy is a rich woman, married to a rich banker, and she has a taste for expensive clothes and cosmetic surgery. If RuPaul thinks he has to go through a lot of prep for his impersonation, think of the gymnastics Nancy has to go through to appear as a woman of the people and champion of the underdog.

surfed said...

The Frankie and the Four Seasons is better. But both scream 1967. FV & 4S for their over the top production values and James "I did a hit of blotter" more authentic take.

Rusty said...

That was Nancy Pelosi? Oh. I thought that was a RuPaul bit.
My bad.

TheDopeFromHope said...

Isn't that a conflict of interest? I mean Pelosi being both a judge and a contestant?

sparrow said...

FWIW Pelosi claims to be Catholic yet strongly supports policies condemned by the Church. she's a Cino "Catholic in name only".

bagoh20 said...

"And, anyway, what makes you think you're so authentic?"

Because I don't know how to be anybody else. I've tried a few times, and people tell me to stop it. I failed every time. If I can't be anybody else, even with effort, then I think I've found my authentic self.

Anthony said...

I've never thought men in drag was funny. Not Uncle Milty, not Some Like It Hot, not RuPaul, not anything. It just seems D-U-M DUM.

Like clowns. I don't hate them or fear them. They're just stupid and not funny.

The Germans Have A Word For That. said...

Althouse added:

"IN THE COMMENTS: Everyone jumps on that word "authenticity." ...Yeah? Well, when a person putting on a show is in costume and makeup, you could say he's an authentic showperson. And, anyway, what makes you think you're so authentic?"

From my comment above above:

"Authenticity is, in this usage, how you want to be perceived...

The desire to dictate other people's perceptions of you is what is most authentic here...

This is not an observation that belongs only to drag queens...

Those who believe they are a gatekeeper of authenticity believe their right to do so is authentic...

But when authenticity is tied to self-identity then the very idea of authenticity contains some degree of cultural appropriation: only those like me can validate it. To attribute authenticity to one of another culture is to appropriate that culture's concept of authenticity..."

I attempted to answer Althouse's questions before she asked them, and I believe the answers are still valid.

Authenticity is seen by many as not a unique truth, but instead is expressed as an evaluation of how someone is perceived, and how that evaluation is filtered through context and the culture of the one perceiving.

Outside of the judging culture the word has no meaning.

Is an African with a bone through his nose "authentic"?

What if it is in a photograph in National Geographic?

What if it is in a cartoon on a white-supremacy site?

Both usages believe they are conveying a view of what is 'authentic' about the subject, but neither would agree with the other's perception.

What about an African magazine doing a photo feature on American drag queens? Are they expected to defer to our concept of authenticity, or can they reject it wholesale on account of cultural incompatibility?

All of this leads to:

Declarations of Authenticity become a sign of a Culture's Propaganda about itself.

Of course, the neglect of Althouse not including me in her list of commenter call-outs only makes my comments more authentic.

I have not sold out to the Man.

The Germans have a word for this.

Ann Althouse said...

"None of these guys dress up as Pelosi."

Oh, that absolutely could be something that would happen in the "Drag Race" competition. They do lots of different kinds of women. For example, just on last night's show, they had a comedy sketch based on "Bridesmaids" where there were 5 characters based on different Oscar winning roles and one of them was the Helen Mirren performance in "The Queen" — Queen Elizabeth. And at the end of the show, the performer who won, came out in a housecoat, looking very fat and ripped it off and was dressed in a bikini (with a fat suit). We laughed out loud. So I could see the role of Pelosi being something they might be assigned to do, definitely, and I'd love to see it. She has so many mannerisms that could be exaggerated to comic effect. It would work really well. For all I know, it has been done on the show, but mostly they stay out of politics (other than the inherent politics of the gender performance).

fivewheels said...

"what makes you think you're so authentic?"

Unlike Pelosi, I made no claim. In fact, I might be fairly described as a bullshit artist. That doesn't affect my ability to evaluate usage of a word that has a meaning.

If authenticity cannot be judged, what meaning does it have? If literally anything you decide to be or do or portray counts as "authentic" as long as you say it is, then what is left to be inauthentic? The inclusive definition is unfalsifiable, and thus worthless.

It reminds me of a discussion I once had about Rick Bayless, who runs fabulous restaurants in Chicago that are billed as "authentic Mexican cuisine." But we're in Chicago, and it's prepared by a white guy. It may be the best facsimile of Mexican food you can get, and it's legitimately great, but it ain't "authentic".

Char Char Binks said...

Authentizität