#DragRace Diary: Points of Interest

Well OK OK, let’s begin with a few lines of silence to thank RuCo for what has been, so far, the most consistently satisfying (‘entertaining’) series of episodes under her tutelage, a group of queens we are thrilled to know, whose faults are measured in hairbreadths, their creativity in leagues:



Now, some fragmentary and light reflections after a fun challenge, a pick-yr-poison elimination (spoiler: the most fiery animal is out), and Comebacks Looming. And one heavier reflection.

// Here’s my prediction: Alyssa will return, eliminate Phi Phi, then be sent packing once again. I cannot shake the feeling that Alyssa represents the most explosive and free-wheeling of all these worthy candidates, and is therefore the most feared; even more than Alaska’s consistent shining, Alyssa’s vivid self-assurance has defined All Stars 2.

// The depth of Alaska’s thinking. Boy, boy, did she channel Bette Davis in that What Ever Happened to Baby Jane parody; the way she turned that digraph ‘wh’ into a consonant blend for ‘wheelchair’ was preposterously campy and precisely Baby Jane. The Li’l’ Pound Cake look? The absolute drubbing of Phi Phi in the lip sync? Frankly, she has outperformed my pre-season favorite for the title, Katya—and it hasn’t been close.

// Alaska’s elimination of Alyssa was based on fear. Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with that. But the weakest queen in the bottom this week was absolutely Roxxxy, who has been a bore since week two.

// Phi Phi O’Hara is precisely the Calculator we thought she was. Her performance this week cannot be impugned, it was superlative; but her actions reveal the shiftiest of the cold-blooded. This prevailing chill would be far more intriguing if she didn’t seem so ignorant about its prevalence. I, for one, would adore a knowing Witch in the group.

// Emmy will hang a nasty faux-populist pall over the remainder of this season, if only in adverts. RuCo’s anointing by the heteronormative capitalist Godhead, hungry to co-opt and cosmetically ‘embrace’ the Queer via trophies and baubles, is a major threat to the show’s independence and its alterity. (Maybe its alterity has already faded; I’m being hopeful.) The spectre of willfully ugly, acerbic, untoward Divine becomes more and more the picture of Queerdom’s oppositional spirit—pretty and sassy RuCo the face of its capitulation, the reinscription of the decorous female and thus the doubly-decorous homo.

DragRace Diary is a weekly column tuned to the current season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. It is primarily concerned with the cultural and intellectual context of drag as evinced by RPDR; what counts as ‘aesthetics’; how gender signifies; camp; and the future of the Queer.
Joseph Spece (www.joseph-spece.com) is editor and publisher at the SHARKPACK imprints and at Fathom Books. His books are Roads (Cherry Grove, 2013) and my centigrade is like a captive star (Pyramid, 2017); recent publications in poetry and experimental prose include DIAGRAM, 3:AM, Salamander, Noble / Gas Qtrly, AGNI, and Volt.

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