Monday, November 13, 2006


If you're a regular reader, you know that I disagree with a lot of very sensible people about Rudy's chances of getting the GOP nomination in '08. I think he can win it, but regardless of who's right, let me tell you one thing that isn't going to be a dealbreaker: his appearances in drag.

You think drag is some strange, freaky city thing? Hell, at the high-water mark of countrified television in my '60s childhood, Roy Clark -- then and now a much-loved heartland entertainer -- appeared on TV in drag, in both The Beverly Hillbillies and Hee Haw. (Max Baer Jr. also made a drag appearance on The Beverly Hillbillies, as Jethrene.) And remember, that was the '60s entertainment that wasn't considered subversive, transgressive, taboo-shattering, or part of the great wave of decadence and moral rot -- it was seen as good, clean, goofy fun. (A guy in a gingham dress! And a bonnet! Har har har!) For red-staters who want to believe, Rudy in drag will be seen as just a citified version of that.

What saves it for Rudy is that you never believe for a second that he's a woman. There's no androgyny, no frisson -- none of that crap. It's just a guy looking like a gross old broad. If he's tapping into anything subconscious, it's misogyny, the sense that some women are comically monstrous -- the same thing all that talk of Scary Nancy Pelosi and Hillary the Witch is tapping into. How can that hurt him with the GOP base?


UPDATE: No, I'm not (as this New York Times blog post initially had it) "a Rudy fan." "Not a Rudy fan" is putting it mildly. But thanks for the correction.


UPDATE: Second Roy-Clark-in-drag link belatedly fixed.

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