RESPONSE: “Snatch…Or Throw it Back?”

In response to the post “Snatch…Or Throw it Back?” the author claims that the Snatch Game challenge “is normalization at its best, not celebrity impersonation.” Although I can see why an audience might think so, I think back to Gross’s piece “The Mediated Society” and its discussion of camp. Camp being “the classic strategy of subversion” is taking an ironic stance towards the straight world. As I understand it, the imitation of pop culture mainstream celebrities and icons is exactly the irony that camp strives to expose. This challenge perfectly fits the drag culture because queer persons have a greater awareness of passing for normal and therefore are more equipped in taking these recognized, so-called “normal” superstars and exaggerating them.

 

While although the show is aiming to engage its audience with likeable or dramatic characters and narratives, I am not sure it is necessarily transforming “performers into tangible, assimilated products.” Rupaul’s questioning of Jinkx Monsoon’s choice to portray Edith Beale may just be a matter of wanting audiences—“the unwashed masses”—to be able to identify the characters in order to keep their attention to the show. For example, the “Who Wore it Best?” challenge is relatable to mainstream audiences, many of whom read US Weekly magazine or at least know of the “Who Wore it Best?” celebrity page. Yes, perhaps this is exploiting queer in the wrong fashion but what do you expect from a reality TV show? In regard’s to Sender’s quote “gay TV has become the spectacle of gay men acting out for the amusement of straight people,” I do believe this is often the case. The comical challenges and lavish runway shows are forms of pleasure for the average viewer, as the characters frequently dramatize femininity as a way of parody.  

 

RuPaul’s drag race is my closest encounter with a drag culture, and like Joyrich discusses in her “Epistemology of the Console,” television may be the only place you see a certain type of person or specific subculture.  The channel Logo and this show are a shaper of reality about the drag culture for my eyes. As Jinkx explains, “Snatch game challenges your improv skills, your wit, and your impersonation skills. Without these three things a drag queen might as well not call herself a drag queen,” thus “educating” viewers on what it means to be an exemplary drag queen. Alyssa Edwards helps interpellate the drag dorm as someone who needs to be both comedic and glamorous, not just one or the other. However, by learning and engaging with queer texts, I am able to understand that not all of drag culture is specifically over the top, funny, and hyper-feminine.

-Sam

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