Paris Is Burning Cultural Appropriation
First, if you don’t know, this is what Paris Is Burning is about:
Paris Is Burning is a 1990 American documentary film directed by Jennie Livingston. Filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, it chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved in it. The film is considered to be an invaluable documentary of the end of the “Golden Age” of New York City drag balls, and critics have praised it as a thoughtful exploration of race, class, gender, and sexuality in America.
I’ve seen it and I thought it was interesting. But at the time I saw it I didn’t know that back story about appropriation.
The movie’s director, Jennie Livingston, and musician/artist JD Samson were invited to join in the screening as part of the Celebrate Brooklyn! events, and many were upset that no queer and trans people of color or representatives from the thriving ballroom community that the film documents were asked to participate.
However, it’s much more complicated. The documentary recently sparked more outrage and this time it’s all about cultural appropriation. I’ve posted about that here on the blog many times.
Jennie Livingston argues that point and she looks at it this way:
Livingston defends her outsider status as such: “I’m white, yes, but I’m an openly queer, female director, and I can’t think of anything more out of the mainstream. I’m sorry, but I do not think I have the same relationship to the ruling class as a straight man,” and she certainly has a point.
To a certain extent, she does have a point. However, why isn’t she making documentaries about openly queer females that get this kind of attention? I think that’s a valid question. Could it be that there’s more to exploit and sensationalize with her subject matter in Paris Is Burning? I don’t know the answer to that particular question but I am tired of seeing certain kinds of appropriation.
Change.org has actually started a petition to stop the screening of Paris Is burning in Brooklyn:
While Jennie Livingston and Mirimax [sic] profited immensely off of this anthropological foray into the lives of low-income TQPOC ballroom members, through years of lies and dishonesty, Livingston was able to use people for the sake of her own fame and has been living off of their stories ever since. In the meantime, most of the original cast has been murdered or has died in poverty. This is exploitation of a vulnerable population who trusted Jennie to do right by them.
There’s more here, and the debate goes on with more replies from Livingston and BRIC.
I think one of my biggest issues with all this is that they didn’t invite any of the people that were associated with the whole subject of the documentary as representatives. And this is something I find all the time with any kind of cultural appropriation. Those who are appropriating seem to either overlook, or purposely silence, the minorities from the actual culture. It’s a quiet, passive aggressive brand of dismissal I’m starting to see happen more and more from those who come from a place of privilege.
We have a very long, long way to go. I just wish more people in the LGBT community knew more about cultural appropriation and how to deal with it when they see it. It’s not always out there in your face.
Ted Cruz, Again
Here’s a story about Ted Cruz and more of his anti-gay marriage opinions. And, they also mention Ian Reisner…the wealthy gay guy who had a special dinner event for Cruz…my previous posts.
Less than a month has passed since Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz blew his own horn for being the ‘big picture’ kind of guy who would sit down with some gays (in their own home! we’re sure he brought plenty of purell) to discuss the issues of the day.
“I know it’s been a long time since we’ve seen it, but this is what it means to truly be a ‘big tent Republican’ instead of a panderer,” he said of his
fundraising event fireside chat at the NYC penthouse of gay real estate execs Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass.
You can check out the rest here, where they go into more detail about the gay men who had the dinner event for Cruz. I hate to comment on these political things, but I wouldn’t have invited Cruz to my home. You have to set some limits, even if you are gay and conservative.
Rob Lowe’s Hot Dadbod
I find this interesting, mainly because we’ve been slamming straight men for years for objectifying women this way. On Twitter, I see vicious women in publishing slam the objectification of women and in the next tweet they objectify men without thinking twice.
Rob Lowe, however, doesn’t seem to mind being objectified.
I’m obsessed with this fucking thing. Did you know that I tweeted about it two weeks ago? I put it out there to my millions of followers: Be honest with me: Do I have a dadbod? I just need to know. Because I’m not really sure what it means yet and I need to find out. They said absolutely not, although some wonderful internet sleuths found a photo of me when I was not at my finest and said, yeah, you have a dadbod. I am a dad and I have a bod. So by definition, I have a dadbod.I’m not pro or con [dadbod], but it’s great that it is a real thing. My understanding of it is [that dadbod] guys are semi-jacked but have neglected this [points to decidedly anti-dadbod stomach], is that right? My new favorite term … are you ready for this? Skinny-fat. It’s a great one. Because it’s people who look skinny but aren’t, right? I think it’s time to start objectifying men. I think it’s time.”
I think Rob Lowe has a wonderful sense of humor…and I wouldn’t throw him or his hot dadbod out for eating crackers in bed.