Luxuriating in Victimhood

A lesbian college professor writes about today’s LGBT-PC student culture:

A non-binary student critiques a faculty colleague of mine in class for using the term “drag queens” to describe the self-identified drag queens who resisted at Stonewall. My colleague, who is 35, queer, and teaching Sociology of Sexuality, is informed that this is an incorrect and insulting term.

14 Comments for “Luxuriating in Victimhood”

  1. posted by Wilberforce on

    Surely ye jest. We’ve been saying drag queen since the cows came home. Now it is insulting? To whom?
    Oh yes. I forgot. The outrage industry has taken control of our speech, our memories, our very history. With friends like these, who needs Pat Robertson?

    • posted by Jorge on

      Dears, you’re getting it all wrong. It’s not the “drag” that’s offensive, it’s the perpetuation of inequality suggested by the word “queen”. Which drags are the rulers? Why, only the WASP drags, of course.

      “I argue that it is the privilege of drag queens to ridicule, insult, and generally slay in all ways absolutely everyone in the name of humor — and that this privilege constitutes a moment of public power for a marginalized group.”

      I disagree. Humor is not only speech, it is a consumer good to be bought and sold. I don’t like drag queen humor when it gets too edgy and adult. Therefore I have little power to offer them and they remain marginalized.

      Or not. They still exist, so they obviously speak for a lot of people. Maybe they even feed off of the crowd snob.

      But. Apparently, in the pursuit of rights and respectability, we have somehow shifted as a culture from the celebration of eros to the celebration of victimhood — to comfortably inhabiting a state of being prickly and appalled — and apparently we now have to be and feel like victims in order even to deserve rights. This worries me.

      I’m all for fighting against playfulness and the grit born from trauma, but that’s not at all what I like to see result from the pursuit of rights and respectability. I like to see people left alone.

    • posted by tj 3 on

      if you are going to pay for your second home by creating cookie cutter outrage, it don’t seem right to not pay the students involved. (;

  2. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    Oh yes. I forgot. The outrage industry has taken control of our speech, our memories, our very history.

    Exactly, more or less.

    We seem to have reached the point where a single “non-binary student critiques a faculty colleague of mine in class for using the term ‘drag queens’ ” and the right wing outrage industry goes nuts.

    Perspective, people, perspective. It used to be that students who said stupid things were ignored/dismissed as students who said stupid things. No longer, apparently.

    • posted by grizzle on

      a single “non-binary student critiques a faculty colleague of mine in class for using the term ‘drag queens’ ” and the right wing outrage industry goes nuts.

      Salon is the rightwing outrage industry?

      The author of the Salon post seems to be a liberal/progressive who is disturbed by an all too apparent trend throughout academia these days — not an isolated experience. If reasonable liberals/progressives can’t discuss and counter this because that makes them part of the “rightwing outrage industry,” then we are in serious trouble.

  3. posted by JohnInCA on

    … I’m sorry, should I be distressed that students say things their teachers don’t agree with and vice versa? That’s normal. That’s teaching.

    That said: yes, “queer culture” is dying, work two things to blame: first, being gay isn’t as transgressive as it used to be, and the “culture” is no longer needed to find folks to drink with, date or fuck. Like other “counter-culture” things, once the unifying-aspect is less transgressive, the justification for the “culture” is diminished.

    Or to put it another way… Is Pride a celebration or protest? One leads to a community, the other leads to folks you know.

    • posted by Wilberforce on

      Queer culture won’t die so long as there are some who remember and practice it.
      That doesn’t mean I celebrate all of it unreservedly. There’s a lot about mainstream gay culture that is foul: internalized homophobia, allowing hiv to spread for thirty years, judging other for looks and muskles, instead of brains, character, and kindness.
      On the other hand, there’s a lot to celebrate: camp, love of learning, high culture, low culture, tradition, movies, , old school raunchy drag, good taste, bad taste, etc…
      The contempt of the younger generation cannot erase our history.

      • posted by JohnInCA on

        The “younger generation”? We have kids “coming out” in Middle School. You think it’s “contempt” that they don’t understand why gay bars, bookstores, bathhouses and so-on used to be important? It’s not contempt, it’s just disinterest.

        No, if you’re looking for contempt, you’re gonna find more of that from folks like Miller and his cohort who actively reject “queer culture”, rather then just not being interested in it.

        • posted by Wilberforce on

          It’s contempt to inform us that our language is now insulting and incorrect. It’s contempt to make many of the mean comments I’ve seen on the net over the years. To pretend that none of this exists is either obscurantist or collusion.

          • posted by JohnInCA on

            … right then…

            Tell you what. When old folks stop publishing articles whining about “everything that’s wrong with Millenials”, I’ll care about the “mean things [you’ve] seen on the net”.

            That said? You’ve had conservative gays whining about “queer culture” since before the current “younger generation” was even a dirty thought in their daddy’s mind. You’ve had feminists of all stripes complaining that Drag Queens are problematic. You’ve had old trolls whining that young twinks don’t pay them no mind.

            Whatever “contempt” you think you see from the “younger generation”? At worst, it’s just us learning from you lot. Face it, a young college student, who was born in the nineties, didn’t come up with “drag queens are insulting” on their own. They learned it from the folks that have been complaining about Drag Queens since before Stonewall.

      • posted by Jorge on

        Contempt, when not carefully managed, only makes the object more respectable. The more you pay attention to something negative, the more you react to it. Eventually you start reacting selectively, condemning its worse excesses but rewarding it for minimally decent behavior.

        That is something I keep in mind with respect to what I see as pride culture.

  4. posted by Tj 3rd on

    Much of this ain’t relevant if you grow up gay in conservative community and cannot afford college, much less moving to the big city.

  5. posted by Wilberforce on

    John in CA,
    I won’t respond to all of your distractions. Mainstream gay culture has been playing that game for as long as I can remember, which is a very long time.
    And I could care less about the contempt of the young. They have been spitting it at older people since I was young. And nothing has changed. For you to deny it is laughable.
    Beyond the distractions, my real points were the positives and negatives of gay culture, which you ignore. It’s critical to admit the negatives, in order to change them. But mainstream queers have been avoiding them since forever, because they take part in them and have no interest in changing anything. After forty years of this act, it’s a total bore.

    • posted by JohnInCA on

      … You’re defining “contempt” to include routine generational snipe and snark. So sure, under your definition, we’re all bloody contemptuous of each other. Because you’ve defined the word into uselessness.

      And all that said, you still haven’t done a thing to actually refute my original point that prompted your “contempt of the younger generation comment”: “queer culture” is dying because it’s not relevant to kids these days. No more, no less. Any “contempt”, even as broadly as you define it, is incidental and irrelevant.

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