Tuesday, September 11, 2007

...yeeeeeahhh, not really funny at all, actually.

Watched this video:



after boggling and wtf?!'ing, brought it to the attention of other people, one of whom pointed me in the direction of this article about Chris Crocker. Read it. Then watched the video again. Found self mentally substituting "me" (i.e. Crocker himself) for "Britney." Suddenly, it doesn't seem over the top or outlandish at all. Just heartbreaking.

47 comments:

Veronica said...

Boy, that kid is over the top. I thought it was all a performance piece when someone pointed him out the first time.

Trinity said...

yeah. poor kid. i hope the world doesn't chew him up.

Blackamazon said...

yeah him i just feel bad for

Renegade Evolution said...

i sorta identify with him, to a point....but then part of me wants to say "suck it up and deal"...but I am kind of an asshole.

Rootietoot said...

It seems like a case of famous for being famous. I'm not sure how far he'll go on that.

belledame222 said...

he thinks it's his ticket out of Dodge, though. and apparently Dodge really sucks. but yeah, if he does ever win the Golden Ticket I'd hope it would include some therapy, not just champagne wishes and caviar dreams. it doesn't sound like he's getting a lot of healthy support in his life, affirming as the 'Net's been for him in some ways.

bint alshamsa said...

Oh, you've found him. Yeah, watching him is one of those secret pleasures that I indulge in. Incidentally, this particular rant reminds me of a certain some one we know who also goes on and on about poor Britney Spears and how awful it is she gets criticized so much by the media. I'll give you three guesses as to who I'm talking about in case you haven't figured it out already.

belledame222 said...

snerkle, yep, scroll down a couple of posts (the ex-gay one) to see a resurrection of that very phenomenon, toward the end of the comments.

but yeah, this kid, i do feel sorry for. not saying he might not be hard to take, and yeah, Issues, but...he's 19, he's stuck in Asshole, Nowheresville where he's like a walking femmey pinata for every mouth-breather in town...frankly i'm not surprised he's, well, havin' some Issues.

and hey, one day at least -he- -might- grow out of it...

Rootietoot said...

I can see his point. If he's in Statesboro, I totally understand his angst about it, but he's going to need something tangible to live on for the rest of his life. I just don't see "I'm a misunderstood queer in the deep south" getting him very far. At 19 he's old enough to start developing some genuine skills. But then I'm pretty old fashioned that way.

Rootietoot said...

I guess like Ren, I'll say he needs to suck it up and deal, but then I'm more mannerly than her, so I won't.

belledame222 said...

yeah, but, if he's running to keep from being beaten up every time he goes to the mall, say, i dunno how f'r instance a retail job works out for him. still he could be taking a correspondance course or something. yeah, the escapist fan thing's possibly doing him more harm than good at this point, even if it does seem like his only way out of there.

Cheshire said...

Well hello there history.


(only Dyke is a small country town with a flaming dad)

Good luck to him, didn't watch the vid (you tube is banned in the school labs) but the article was heartbreaking. I hope he gets out, I don't know much about him but from the couple of vids I seen I wonder whether he could be a scholarship to a state uni or something, anything to get out of that town.

Rootietoot said...

He could do what my very eccentric and believed-to-be-gay son has done- go to work in an artistic enviroment. First, a t-shirt shop designing stuff, and now in a color and design lab with a textile company. It can be done, it just takes a little motivation.
I think the boy's fueling his own drama instead of looking for a way out.

fastlad said...

Here's the moment where I say:

Being unmistakably queer in a hostile and socially conservative small town isn't merely a sort of spiritual or experiential challenge. One can't be prevailed upon to pull ones socks up and transform the basic reality.

I'm not sure how many outlets for artistic stuff there are in a community where gangs of street toughs regularly attack this kid. He's been assualted, insulted, and spat on. What's he supposed to do about all that? Turn the other cheek?

I hope he gets out. I think the anguish he's expereincing is self-evident.

I think it should make us all shudder and acknowledge just how far off a life free of daily abuse still is for so many gay American kids.

Trinity said...

I do hope he gets out. I don't think he's making his own problem... I really don't. I nearly got chewed up and ate myself, and I still fight those battles and the scars still flare

and I ain't had it one sixteenth as bad.

I dunno. I think he should get the hell out of Dodge and I think he has some growing up to do when the Internet doesn't turn out to be his ticket out.

But for someone in Dodge, who really has no support system (his family seems to love him but not at all to understand)

well that kind of overflowing hostile energy and resentment?

it's called par for the course.

little light said...

God, that article.
I feel right at home.

Rootie, with all due respect and affection...you can't know what it's like. I did all that. Worked at a movie theater. Stayed busy in the theater. Built up my networks of friends to protect me, got active, got plans to get out.

And every night I'd go home and work out on my punching bag until my hands were bleeding through the gloves. And then I'd do pushups and situps until I couldn't move. And every morning I'd dream I was waking up somewhere else.

I did all those things right. I did get out. And I still shake sometimes with the horror of things like this article describes happening to Chris--taking beatings from multiple people at once, with weapons even, while teachers and authority figures watched and did nothing. If I went out Back Home right now, I would be risking assault or worse. And Back Home has gotten a lot better, and that's better yet than where this Crocker kid seems to be.

I'm not like him. He's flamboyant; I'm not. He's a gay guy; I'm a trans girl. But I know where he's coming from, and I get it so hard it aches.

Donna said...

I have a hard time feeling much for him in the same way I have a hard time feeling much for mainstream feminists. I still remember the video Ilyka put up asking, "Is this racist?" The one where Crocker says that he can turn on and off the pretending to be black thing, which makes him better than real black people who can't.

I get the feeling that those mainstream white feminists have a sense of entitlement to what the white men have and tough titty to the rest of us; and Crocker makes me feel the same. If being gay was acceptable in his hometown he'd be right there with the rest of the white racists making n*gger jokes and maybe chasing down blacks to beat on in the mall.

Trinity said...

I'm not sure about that, Donna. In college my best buddy was a white femme gay man from a small town and he did the same sort of thing. And he was one of the few people in the town he lived in who didn't like hearing the other white people call certain sections "N*****town", who made friends with black people, etc.

Now none of that means it's not appropriating to do that. I'm not trying to say "waah, my buddy is cool." It is appropriating. And that's messed up. But when I look at that, I see people who are trying to copy another oppressed group based on a fucked-up sort of respect.

I think they see that way of talking as a defense mechanism others use against oppression (whether it is or not.) I think they interpret that way of speaking as "fierce black woman" and they want to be fierce and femme too, so they copy it. Or at least that's what I think was up with my buddy, and Chris strikes me the same way.

Which is fucked up, yeah. But I don't think it's based on hidden hostility. I think it's based on that very usual white thing: assuming all oppressions are the same and that any tools used by any group are available for Whitey to pick up and use.

belledame222 said...

yeah, if you read the article, apparently he spends a lot of time on party lines or chatlines or something with black drag queens and has picked up a bunch of their slang.

I mean, "if," a lot of things. If my aunt had testicles. He's a kid. He's 19. And what little light and fastlad said, and they know whereof they speak, both hardworking, responsible adults too, but: being openly and unambivalently queer/flaming is NOT the same as simply being the town eccentric, particularly if you don't have a strong loving family who gets your deal; and it really takes a rather -remarkable- personality to be able to get past all that, hell, even fucking alive. A lot of kids don't. Yeah, he's a drama queen. Yeah, he probably has picked up a fair bunch of unconscious racism and all kinds of other crap. Yeah, he could use some grounding in reality. But first of all he needs support. -Everyone- needs support. There -is- no such thing as pulling oneself by one's bootstraps -all by oneself,- unless you become a sociopath or a lone cowboy or something, and the latter is clearly not an option here.

The Net and his escapes into pop culture is the only place he's getting it right now, for good or for ill; if he hadn't had them he might've left earlier or gotten a real job, been more well adjusted; on the other hand he might well be dead by his own hand. Lots of kids just like him are, without even a blip on the radar. Yep, even now.

belledame222 said...

Dead by his own hand, or say-hey! by someone else's, or by the baseball bats they're clutching.

Donna said...

There are some who appropriate respectfully, this guy is not one of them. It's like comparing someone who respectfully learns a religion that generally isn't found in his culture, as opposed to someone who dabbles and picks up the part she likes and discards or reinvents the parts she doesn't (a certain Buddhist at that Clinton lunch). It's the whole idea that when white people do it it's cool, when ethnic people do it, ewww. Like the latin@/blackface parties on college campuses. Where women can be hos for a night because they are being animalistic like those WOC, but *wink wink* it's just playing for a night, -I'm really a nice white girl the rest of the time, not a dirty slut like "those" people-.

This is what I am talking about:
Crocker at Ilyka's. The video is near the bottom. Be sure to read the comments too.

Donna said...

The video you have here reminded me too much of the way Nez was mobbed at Jesus General's over Angelina Jolie too. What is it with white people being protective about the rich and famous, don't they have better battles to fight? Getting screeching hysterical over poor poor Britney Spears? You gotta be kidding me. Tells you who he really identifies with and it isn't oppressed black folks.

Trinity said...

Donna:

Just in case you think I said that: I did not say this kid appropriates respectfully.

belledame222 said...

Donna: the point is, we're not feeling bad for Britney, we're feeling bad for the kid himself, who is decidely NOT rich and famous, even if he aspires to be. You're right: it IS apples and oranges, racism and homophobia. They're -both- still serious as a stroke. Yeah?

belledame222 said...

and yeah, he's self-absorbed, no doubt racist, not likable. I get your point, I really do, but to me it's sort of beside the main one I had in mind for -this- post, i.e. the kid's in a fuckload of pain and it is part of a larger issue, self-centered as the kid, yep, white and all, may be.

Donna said...

No Trin, I understood you. It's like that pseudo-Buddhist I mentioned. I'm sure that she thinks she is showing some sort of respect, but she isn't. I thought that is what you were saying here. I just don't want anyone going there.

I am getting annoyed with "but he's only 19." POC have to be aware of people around us, and our effects on them, since we were toddlers. You never see anyone giving BlackAmazon or Sylvia a pass because of their young age and especially not white people, they come down on young WOC like a ton of bricks over any perceived misstep, and holy hell is there rejoicing if there is an actual flub. We are supposed to watch ourselves and know the right way to approach whites and say things without offending whites even as children, but there is no reciprocation, just excuses for the racism and why we should give it a pass. I think everyone in this country should realize when they are being hurtful, and you'd think a white male from the south would recognize racism. But oh yeah, FDLer TRex from GA, didn't know it was racist to tell a black/latina to mind her betters, and he's like 40 or so. And almost everyone in the liberal blogosphere found that credible.

belledame222 said...

as for idolizing the rich, the white, the conventionally feminine and/or famous: it's hardly limited to white boys. F'r instance, you take Venus Xtravaganza. Who aspired to be a "spoiled, rich, suburban white girl." She still ended up dead.

Yeah, the gay male/drag queen world(s) is by no means immune to racism--wossname (I am drawing a blank at the moment--oh yeah), Shirley Q Liquor being a prime example of not even appropriation but gross, blatant racism. and yep, she still has fans. and no, I don't think cluelessness excuses the creator; he's old enough and ugly enough to know better.

But drag is frankly all about imitating, sending up, riffing; and yeah, often the lines of race, class, gender do get blurred in the fantasy, not always in ways that mm are gonna be to everyone's sense of propriety. And yeah, I think it's probably safe to say that a lot of queer kids escaping to the glamorous life don't really give a lot of thought to y'know sociopolitical consciousness.

belledame222 said...

yeah, Donna, I get the TRex connection. I hear you. I'm getting a bit annoyed myself, though, I have to say. TRex is a well-placed would-be political spokesperson who was called on his shit and still acted like a giant asshole. This kid is, well? Probably dancing as fast as he can. He's probably not got that great a grip on -reality,- you know?

belledame222 said...

" POC have to be aware of people around us, and our effects on them, since we were toddlers.

Yes, but see, the point here is, so do really gender-incongruent people. Particularly flamingly effeminate boys who couldn't pass if their life literally depended on it.

Donna said...

We're talking past each other.

Yep, he had/has to watch himself around other white men...but I would wager that this guy never had to be careful not to offend black women, never, especially not in the south. That white privilege and male privilege is some strong stuff, so strong that even an effeminate man knows it's ok to spit on black people if he so desires.

You know, I thought it was wrong when Heart got swarmed by those hackers. I didn't bother posting anything, not even a comment at someone else's site. I guess I'm just hard hearted that way and find her far too unsympathetic to waste my time. It's because she uses people and she has no empathy for anyone not like her and has histrionic fits and dramatics...hmmm kind of like someone else.

I agree with you, he doesn't deserve to be harassed and beaten for being gay, but like I said, I'm hard hearted and have a hard time feeling much for the guy when he can't be bothered to feel anything for anyone else, except Britney. I'd feel alot more for him if he pretended he was Britney and danced around in a mini skirt and bra instead pretending to talk like a black woman. Or if he was crying over injustices black women suffer instead of Britney.

I guess it just boils down to no, he doesn't deserve the crap he gets from our homophobic society, but he also doesn't particularly deserve much empathy either.

How about this scenario. I make a post at my site with a cute young black guy in a video, maybe he is 19. He lives in a white neighborhood in Texas and people stare him down with hate burning in his eyes everytime he goes somewhere in public and he has had to run away from mobs out to beat or kill him. He has a My Space page where his fans like to hear him sometimes talk like a femme gay guy to taunt his tough guy white attackers. But one day one of his gay fans pisses him off and he has another video where he is saying, "I turn it on and off, I don't suck other guys dicks like you, fag."

If you told me you had a hard time feeling sorry for him, and I spent my time defending his youth, the fact that he is hanging by a thread in a racist town, etc. Wouldn't you feel a little hurt and betrayed?

I'll argue with you about TRex too. He got a called on his shit from a tiny percentage of people who he easily wrote off as jealous whiners and had the giant cheering section agreeing with him. It's not like everyone rose up in indignation and he lost his gig at FDL.

belledame222 said...

Yeah, not actually arguing that point wrt TRex, was just saying that he was in a position where he could've and should've known better, had it spelled out to him in so many words and he's -supposed- to be an intelligent progressive representative type guy, and...he didn't. And had tons of support at that juncture--family, RL friends, power, influence. To me, a different situation from some random kid who seems like he's maybe not firing on all cylinders and doesn't seem to have any sort of support except these random people who comment on his YouTube videos and a grandmother who seems kind enough but can't protect him and doesn't seem to hear him.

Yeah, you're right, we've been talking past each other. Understand: I'm relating to my own shit growing up as a queer kid. So are a couple of other people here. Not the same as this femmey guy, no, me--but, just as you can sort of relate to this other hypothetical person of color, even if it's a different color and other specifics, I can sort of relate to this other queer kid, even if he's a different gender and there are other specific differences.

Yeah, talking past each other. I'm white; you think I'm not hearing you. You're straight. I think you're not hearing me.

...is what's happening here, I think.

and the thing is, honestly? in that other hypothetical case? I might or might not still have a hard time feeling sorry for him, really. Horizontal hostility is a real thing, and, well? I do cut some slack for young and confused and fucked up.

Heart is, well, old enough and ugly enough to know better, also. And she's caused a lot of harm all over the place, not just said one or two things I find offensive. Yeah?

Nothing's ever totally equivalent; we can compare and contrast all day, but what it boils down to is: I don't feel heard right now, and I do feel like I have tried on many occasions to stretch and hear you when we were talking about something that I only really got on the most sort of generic level (yes yes Racism Is Bad, But); so, yeah, in -this- case, I kind of feel like...dude! Hi! Gay here! Hi!

..you know? And I haven't done that with you or with many straight people specifically, but, what the hell: here it is.

belledame222 said...

I mean, ultimately, you feel the way you feel about this kid; truth is neither of us know him any better than he or we know Britney. He's filling in for something. So, yeah, not really about him, per se, emotionally anyway.

belledame222 said...

...and, too, you do remember wherein I was smacking the crap out of TRex before, right? Because, I sort of have had this feeling during this discussion like...I dunno, like suddenly we didn't know each other and (I felt like) you were responding to someone who -was- arguing with you that TRex was just fine and so i spoor Angelina Jolie, STOP PICKING ON THEM. Like...yeah, I may well still be missing something; all the same, it's me here, yeah?

belledame222 said...

*sigh* and one more thing, and I guess from whence rises my frustration:

In that other hypothetical case, I might have said such a thing, or might not have. But if I did, Donna, and you were clearly trying to at least engage what I was saying, tell me why this thing is not like that other thing and here's why; and I kept brushing right past that with yesyesyes racism we know but the POINT is, let's talk about the homophobia that was not even the main point of THIS post at YOUR blog in which you really wanted to talk about the effects of racism and how it might fuck a young kid up;

well, I'd hope you'd call me on my shit. Because I'd have been talking as though what was important to you wasn't important to me at all, and further, kind of ratcheting off the topic of racism altogether.

belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
belledame222 said...

like, I'd be less bothered by you not feeling for this kid in particular (not like i could control it anyway, and again, not like we KNOW him) if i felt like you were maybe a little more interested in y'know, what other people were saying about growing up queer, about drag--hell, maybe we could have a good conversation about the ways in which these experiences have parallels and yet are different, and some people here can clearly talk from both, and more besides, if they wanted to.

So, yeah, again: I think that video of his was offensive and not respectful. It isn't enough to kill off my empathy for him -overall-, no, for several reasons. I can accept that you don't feel empathetic for him, and why. Can you accept that I do, and why?

Trinity said...

I agree with Belle really. I think this kid is in fact appropriating in some really sketchy ways. I think that's critiquable and there's reason to be annoyed by it.

At the same time, though, I'm not sure what calling one femme white queer from the boonies on his appropriation accomplishes. Yes, he's I-famous, but... is he really a threat? Is he really originating or reifying that appropriating behavior in a way that makes him particularly problematic?

I think sometimes it's easier to attack people who don't have much power. I just find myself wondering looking at this whether some white queeny kid is an easier target than powerful whites.

belledame222 said...

well-I dunno about that, I think we've all taken on all sorts of people here. And again, I agree that someone like TRex is a totally different kettle o' fish. But yeah, I'm just not seeing the real world power the kid has, white skin notwithstanding; and frankly, not being from the South or having much of a clue about the various dynamics in his particular town, situation, whatever, I wouldn't venture to guess what he does or doesn't take for granted with the people actually around him. I think he's mostly terribly self-absorbed and living in a strange hodgepodge of fantasies and snippets of pop culture from here and there and wherever he can find them. I mean, you -could- sit him down, were you to find him, and explain to him about appropriation and suchlike; my gut feeling is that it would be sort of like me trying to explain queer theory to my cat. My cat when he was yowling in -pain- from a thorn in his paw.

He's starved for love; he settles for attention. Yeah, besides the racism which he may or may not be willing or able to check at this point, and yes, people have a right to get pissed off at -that-, it's a bit weird and creepy that he's using this pop icon that he doesn't know to channel his own pain.

Then again, maybe not so much more so that we're using him to channel ours.

fastlad said...

Well said.

atlasien said...

Interesting background to that popular video...

By the way here is an amusing parody:
Leave General Petraeus Alone

belledame222 said...

okay, THAT made me laugh out loud...

nice touch with the glistening snot under the nose...

Trinity said...

yes, that. That.

That and, well, I'd want to ask the black queens on the party line how stolen from they feel. If they say they think it's a problem, that's one thing. If he's their cute little Cracker imitator that they're buddies with and like, I'm not gonna shed TOO many tears --

though of course, yeah, his "It's all the same" and "I'm cool because I can turn it off" (I can't seem to find that one but the sentiment doesn't surprise me) is icky indeed.

belledame222 said...

well yeah, again, he's pretty damn self-absorbed/solipsistic and, well? not so much with the clues. or for that matter the good boundaries; if he -were-, he wouldn't be confusing himself so blatantly with, well, Britney.

all's i can say is: Andy Warhol, you had no -idea.-

Dw3t-Hthr said...

There's also ... hokay. I may be white and straight, but I also have some experience with being the fucking weirdo, the legitimate target for the bullies, and so on. Not to the extent that other people do, but enough to say something like this:

In that space, if there's no option to hide, sometimes it feels like the only option is to wave that freak flag high, to be outrageous, to be the person who puts everyone else on edge.

Because if they're gonna be on edge anyway, at least if I caused it, I had the illusion of controlling it. I claimed my feeble power to control the world around me, mostly by pissing people off by being a fucking weirdo who vigorously rejected their pretty little social games, because it was all that I had.

The other option was just ... sinking into being a victim. Nothing was going to stop the abuse, but if they were going to (to pick a usefully metaphorisable example) taunt me until I sang, I might as well sing so my voice got heard.

I sang bits of Album 1700.

"How can you ask if I'm happy going my way? You might as well ask a child at play. There's no need to discuss or understand me, I won't ask of myself to become something else, I'll just be me."

I even had the grim satisfaction of seeing one of them actually understand what I was singing ... and why.

Amber said...


I think the boy's fueling his own drama instead of looking for a way out.


Or maybe he's fueling his own drama AND looking for a way out.

You know what, this whole "he should suck it up" and "he should develop some 'real' skills" isn't doing it for me. I grew up in Augusta and lived there for the first 18 years of my life. *I* was physically persecuted by my peers for being "different" - but it paled in comparison to what some of my gay friends went through. One guy got his ass kicked by a bunch of rednecks after school one day, they broke his nose, and he ended up moving to Florida to live with his aunt.

So the whole "suck it up" thing does NOT play. It is REALLY not that easy. I feel his pain and I know it's not something you just get over.

Trinity said...

"Because if they're gonna be on edge anyway, at least if I caused it, I had the illusion of controlling it. I claimed my feeble power to control the world around me, mostly by pissing people off by being a fucking weirdo who vigorously rejected their pretty little social games, because it was all that I had."

YES. See also my recent post. :)

Trinity said...

"So the whole "suck it up" thing does NOT play. It is REALLY not that easy. I feel his pain and I know it's not something you just get over."

RIGHT ON.