Dingus of the Week: People Who Think Drag Shows Are Hurting the Children
Make-up isn’t hurting your kids, church is
This is the weekly dingus, the Friday newsletter, where I talk about something dumb that happened in the news and share drinks and links. If you’ve come to depend on your weekly dingus, become a paying subscriber.
After weeks of mass shooting deaths, lawmakers and legislators are banding together to protect kids by banning them from drag shows.
Texas State Representative Bryan Slaton bravely announced on Monday that he would be working to stop children from the scourge of seeing people in make-up dance around in fabulous costumes.
I do not know if Rep. Slaton has ever been to a drag show, local community theater, or a bachelorette party, but a bunch of make-up and feather boas aren’t quite the threat he thinks they are. In fact, they’re not a threat at all. Strangers in make-up aren’t hurting your kids. People your kids know are hurting your kids. An estimated 93 percent of kids who are abused are abused by a family member or someone they know.
I’ve been to church services with more sexually explicit content and themes than a night out at a gay club where a queen calling herself Bone Crawford dances to Carly Rae Jepsen. There are more boners in the Little Mermaid than there are at a drag brunch where a queen does a choreographed routine to a medley from The Greatest Show. I’ve taken my kids to Pride events with drag queens, and the only question they’ve ever asked is how did the queen make the wig stick on so well. And listen, I wish I knew. I wish I had those make-up skills.
Does Rep. Slaton even know how much make-up most women put on? Like, I’ve seen TikTok transformations more shocking than any drag show. There are more dicks at a bachelorette party than at a drag show. Hell there are more dicks in the Texas legislature.
Also, drag shows are far, far safer than even churches. I searched and I could not find one reported incident of children being abused at a drag show. But when I Googled “churches and abuse,” much to my surprise, it turns out there is a well-documented history of spiritual leaders abusing people just all the time.
Anyway, as author Brandon Taylor pointed out, “Church is drag.”
Also, if you do go to a drag show, bring cash for a tip. If you go to church, gird your loins because someone is gonna ask you to literally eat the flesh of a dead guy.
Runner-Up: In Discord, one of the runners-up for DoW was basically all the Republicans who blame school shootings on everything besides guns. Talking Points Memo had a really good rundown of a whole bunch of contenders from Chip Roy comparing gun restrictions to the Holocaust to Louie Gohmert suggesting our problems in America are because we take God’s name in vain. To which I have to say: Jesus Christ, Louis Buller Gohmert Jr! In god’s name, shut up!
And Now, for Something Good…
If you need a good thing, the weekly thread was open to everyone this week and people shared the things that gave them joy. And it was so wonderful, from truffle mac and cheese to quitting your job to run a bike non-profit in Nashville.
What I Am Reading:
This week, I read the incredible profile of Dianne Feinstein by Rebecca Traister. And this heart-wrenching profile of a bus driver by Eli Saslow. In his Substack newsletter, Brutal South, Paul Bowers talks about teachers and why they quit. It’s a compelling read. His newsletter is a good one and definitely worth subscribing to.
I was out on a hike last night and missed the Jan 6 hearings. But don’t worry my hiking companion was insistent that racism is a both sides issue, so my hike was, in that way, like talking to a bunch of white nationalists.
But Moira Donegan has this analysis of the first night of the hearings:
While most congressional hearings are a showboating circus, with different members attempting to obfuscate the issues at hand, derail the proceedings with non-sequiturs, or cultivate clips that can be played in their next campaign ad, the January 6 hearing, by contrast, was a lucid, methodical, disciplined and well-choreographed presentation of the investigation’s findings.
It’s the summer, so the only long read I’ve been able to do beyond the research I’m reading for [redacted] articles is continuing my spree of reading Ruth Ware novels. This week’s was The Lying Game. Her novels are incredible, and I love them. Just absolutely love ripping through them on a weekend morning while I don’t read your tweets. The Lying Game wasn’t my favorite. But I am reading Nona Willis’ Bad Sex, which you can’t read yet, but I can, and I’m telling you this book is an incredible personal and political analysis of sex in our culture and our lives.
Speaking of sex, over in the Discord chat, someone, who we will not publicly name, is suggesting that we all read smut about hockey players, and yes please.
In this newsletter, in case you missed it, I wrote about the joy of being a single mother. The newsletter caused quite the ruckus, with people suggesting that I am hostile to relationships and ruining my children, etc. I am ruining my children, but it’s because I give them unlimited popsicles in the summer. And I have to say, being a single mother has given me space and joy to create a chosen family of friends and relatives who help me in so many different ways and with so much love. Creating a life from scratch is never easy, but it’s also never miserable. And marriage, as a social institution that is supported by social programs and is federally subsidized with tax breaks, deserves all the research, reporting, and analysis we give to the police.
What I Am Drinking:
Well, well, it’s the summer, so it’s summer water time, by which I mean the Bota box in my fridge. In the Discord, Maddy suggested this delightful lemony hibiscus cocktail.
On Sunday, I made a giant vat of boozy Arnold Palmers for a little party with friends. The drink tasted magnificent. It was the perfect accompaniment to a night of laughing and talking with friends old and new. It was just the most joyful thing.
I know I keep saying this, I think a lot of people keep saying this, but every nerve feels so raw, everyone seems to be melting down. I recently read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s description of Joan Crawford, where he wrote, “Joan Crawford is doubtless the best example of the flapper, the girl you see in smart night clubs, gowned to the apex of sophistication, dancing deliciously, laughing a great deal, with wide, hurt eyes.”
I keep thinking of that line “laughing a great deal, with wide, hurt eyes.” The contrast there seems to be the summation of the flapper era, a time of huge social upheaval, death, grief, and change. But it was also a time of ebullient forceful music, dancing, gin — the ferocious squeezing of fun out of every morsel of misery. It’s chiaroscuro, the Italian masters’ way of balancing light and dark on the canvas to make the flesh on their paintings come alive.
It seems like that now, doesn’t it? Or maybe that’s me. In Florida over Memorial Day, sitting in a bar and reading a book with my black eye (long story, but I just ran into a wall, no, really), a man kept trying to talk to me and I kept brushing him off, until finally I said, “Sir, why can’t you leave me alone?”
And he said, “You just seem hot and troubled.”
And I lost my cool and said, “I am literally sweating and have a black eye!!”
When I told my therapist this, she laughed and then said, “We are all hot and troubled this summer.”
But, no, it’s hot divorcee summer. I wrote this last year.
It’s the summer of caring a lot, but not giving any fucks. It’s the summer of gentle ministrations to your soft body of survival. It’s the summer of grief and joy. A summer of knowing all we’ve lost but knowing how much more we have to live. It’s the summer of Natalie Maines’s boat. Of Jennifer Garner’s heavy sighs. And Jennifer Lopez leaning into the mess.
Anyway, I hope you can find that fun this weekend — those moments of laughing a great deal even with those eyes.