RuPaul’s All-Star Drag Race 2012

RuPaul’s All Star Drag Race

I am only half alive when RuPaul isn’t on the air. I have barely survived over the past few months, eating flavorless food and breathing stale air.

But all that changed on Monday night.

Ru’s back, bitches!

This season is different: Ru has brought back twelve of the top queens from the past seasons. We have Nina Flowers, and Pandora Boxx, and Shannel! We have Yara Sofia, and Manila Luzon, and Latrice Royale!

Naturally I have my favorites. I love Manila (though I notice many of the queens on the show aren’t crazy about her; I suspect she’s pretty high-intensity in person). And Chad Michaels is a consummate professional, and I never before realized how very beautiful (both as a man and as a woman) Shannel is. And Nina Flowers is as funny and energetic and engaging as ever, and Latrice is herself (as always).

I’m not a drag queen myself; I have no impulse to dress as a woman. (I only wish I had that much fashion sense.) But I love the energy, and commitment, and bravery that the queens on the show have. I love their humor. I actually think I learn a little something about color and design when I watch them put their outfits together. So I suppose this counts as educational television too.

Also, I think there’s a deeper subtext here, about performance as a natural human act. Don’t we all construct characters and perform them for other people? Don’t you portray one person on the job and another at home? Don’t you act differently with your family than you do with your friends?

I thought so. Me too.

So: if you’re going to create yourself as a character, make yourself a memorable character, or a beautiful character. Or (preferably) both.

There’s a moment in the Mahabharata when Yudisthira, a prince in exile, is sent into exile with his four brothers. By the terms of a wager they’ve made (and lost), they must spend a year in hiding. Yudisthira asks his father, the god Dharma, what to do. And Dharma says: “Let your disguise be guided by your most secret desire.”

So Yudisthira, a gambler, becomes a teacher of gambling. His brother Bhima, a glutton, becomes a cook.

And their brother Arjuna, the greatest and most powerful warrior in India, becomes a woman.

And he goes on, after exile, to win the war.

You go, girl!

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