Pick A, B, C, or D and answer (at least some) of the questions.
Note: These questions are part of the "query" series. That means you don't have to answer any of them. You are required to post comments on any 3 queries over the course of the semester
In "Is Paris Burning?" bell hooks writes:
The whiteness celebrated in Paris is Burning is not just any old brand of whiteness but rather than brutal imperial ruling-class capitalist patriarchal whiteness that presents itself--its way of life--as the only meaningful life there is (149).
What does she mean here? How is "ruling-class capitalist patriarchal whiteness" represented in the film? In what ways does the film reinforce it? In what ways does/could it challenge/subvert/resist it?
Consider this passage from Butler in connection with these above questions:
it seems clear to me that there is both a sense of defeat and a sense of insurrection to be had from the drag pagaentry in Paris is Burning, that the drag we see, the drag which is after all framed for us, filmed for us, is one which both appropriates and subverts racist, misogynist, and homophobic norms of oppression. How are we to account for this ambivalence? This is not first an appropriation and then a subversion. Sometimes it is both at once; sometimes it remains caught in an irresolvable tension, and sometimes a fatally unsubversive appropriation takes place (128).
What does Butler mean by this ambivalence? Does the film represent/point to ways in which drag (through participation in the balls and everyday practices) can reinforce and undercut "ruling-class capitalist patriarchal whiteness"? If so, how--what are some examples?
How does "realness" function in the film? How does understanding "realness" as a standard (or goal to acheive) reinforce and/or subvert notions of what it means to be normal/acceptable/intelligible/proper?
Think about these questions in relation to this quotation from Butler:
The rules that regulate and legitimate realness constitute the mechanism by which certain sanctioned fantasies, sanctioned imaginaries, are insidiously elevated as the paramters of realness (130).
What is realness?
At no point in Livingston's film are the men asked to speak about their connections to a world of family and community beyond the drag ball. The cinematic narrative makes the ball the center of their lives (154).
What becomes clear in the enumeration of the kinship system that surrounds the ball is not only that the 'houses' and the 'mothers' and the 'children' sustain the ball, but that the ball is itself an occasion for the building of a set of kinship relations that manage and sustain those who belong in the houses in the face of dislocation, poverty, homelessness (137).
What do you think? How is kinship working (Butler) or not working (hooks) in the film? How "real" is the reality that is created by those who participate in the ball?