Though the homemade drag music video is by definition a genre that revels in bustedness, a new entry recently released by the artists Levonia Jenkins and La Lopez takes the form to delightful new depths. Called “So Cunt,” the video features Jenkins promenading around New York City mass transit, 14th Street discount stores, and other high-end locales while Lopez offers evidence for why the queen’s outfits and look deserve the title. It’s wholesome summer fun, and for the interested viewer, even instructive: I can attest that Wigs and Plus on 14th is a fine establishment for the butch queen who wishes to freshen up her drag wardrobe.
But what about that word, Bryan? True, not everyone will be down with the song’s unceasing repetition of the C-word. When Jezebel posted the video Wednesday, the comments section immediately began to fill with people expressing discomfort, and understandably so—as my colleague Forrest explained after the Onion controversially called child actor Quvenzhané Wallis a "cunt," the word has been basically the ultimate taboo since the beginning of the 20th century.
But words have different meanings in different contexts, and cunt in drag culture is not an insult. Indeed, in “So Cunt” two distinct definitions are in play: One is ironic, in that calling a queen “so cunt” or “fishy” (as Lopez does in one of the verses) indicates that she has succeeded in making herself indistinguishable from a typically feminine, biological woman. Obviously, Jenkins, with her beard and tattered layaway clothes, is, in fact, not “so cunt.” That’s why it’s funny. The other meaning is usually expressed as “cunty,” which means cocky or extremely self-assured and is generally a term of praise.
TODAY IN SLATE
Ford’s Big Gamble
It’s completely transforming America’s best-selling vehicle.
Should the United States Grant Asylum to Victims of Domestic Violence?
The Apple Watch Will Make Everyone Around You Just a Little Worse Off
This Was the First Object Ever Designed
Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison
In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal.
How the Apple Watch Will Annoy Us
A glowing screen attached to someone else’s wrist is shinier than all but the blingiest jewels.
A Little Bit Softer Now, a Little Bit Softer Now …
The sad, gradual decline of the fade-out in popular music.