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  • Writer's pictureKuzhali Manickavel

All of this is everyone’s fault

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

This blog post title is taken from this blog post. But before I get to it, I want to say that I think this will be my last installment of RuPaul’s Drag Race fav lines because it looks like Logo has decided that nonAmericans can’t watch the show on teh internetz anymore. Whatever, this episode featured a clutch of drag queens that decided to call themselves Heathers. Seriously. Because they are all in high school and this is 1989. OH MY GOD YOU GAIZ, ARE YOU SERIOUS?? Also, I saw Raja’s underwear when she was walking the runway and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to. And when I say ‘saw Raja’s underwear’ please know that they were flaming white bloomers under a short, chocolate brown outfit. Whatever.

I’ve been single for a reason and now America is going to find out why

(k- this is not a great line. but alexis says this when she explains why she’s nervous about doing the nude photo shoot and I was like what? are you on drugs? You’re a fabulous drag queen! If fabulous drag queens say things like this, all hope is lost for the rest of us. I think this means we now get to blame alexis mateo for our self esteem and body image issues.)

There is nothing I love more than chocolate. I could drip it all over my naked, lithe body over and over again and just lick it off myself

(k- what kind of space do you have to be in to actually open your mouth and have these words come out? This may also be the first time I have heard someone describe themselves as ‘lithe’. People don’t do that very often.)

Who the fuck is Heather?

(k- I think the nonHeathers should make a clique called Feathers. Then they could call each other Feather. Ok maybe they shouldn’t do that. DON’T LISTEN TO ME YOU GAIZ!!11!!)

 Then what happened means I read this article, which was neat for two reasons. One, it appeared to respond to allegations of stereotyping by totally not saying stereotypical things. You can see one example here, completely out of context, which is like so mean you gaiz.

“The book is not necessary in these cases, for the argument is about who can write about India, not what has been written. For critics of this persuasion, India surely seems a lonely land. A country with a millennial history of Hindus, Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists living peaceably together; a country of hundreds of dialects in which so many Indians are linguistic foreigners to each other, and happily, tolerantly so; a country that, unlike so many in its neighborhood, has bravely stuck to its traditions of letting discordant voices sing; a country that welcomes foreign seekers (of yoga poses, of spiritual wisdom, of ancestral roots) with open arms; a country where, outside the elite world of South Delhi and South Bombay, I have not heard an Indian ask whether outsiders have a right to write, think or exist on their soil.”

Sometimes reading this is like #fortheloveofsweetfluffyunicornsWAI?WAI? and sometimes it’s #LAWL. Stereotypes are like that, the incompleteness gives you ample room to laugh and cry also. Anyway, this is also the first time I have seen someone use their column in the New York Times to get emo about an unfavorable book review in The Indian Express. THE INDIAN EXPRESS YOU GAIZ!!!! Who knew TIE had this kind of powerful powers? Although I once heard that The New Indian Express, which is The Indian Express but not really, was promoting gay homosexual mafia lifestyles and people were turning into big flaming gaymos just by touching the paper. I think it’s a real shame that these people were not able to tell us all about their feelings in a New York Times column too also. 

I just want to say some one or two number things about some things in general. These are not about anyone involved in the abovementioned emodrama. So please don’t leave comments saying I’m like so racist to IndianAmericans or whatever because I am old and I am tired and I can’t watch RuPaul anymore. 

“Who gets to write about India?”

So let me see if I understand this. We’re not going to talk about how the clear and obvious answer to this question is EVERYBODY gets to write about India!!!111! We’re not going to talk about how EVERYBODY has been writing about India for a very long time because it’s a very lucrative and exciting thing to do and it makes people think you’re sexy but not like in a whorish, penicillin kind of way. We’re not going to talk about how privileged peeps often decide they want to write about something subaltern and haut like India and they just do it because the question ‘who gets to write about India’ is such a non issue to them like I can’t even say, although it often comes in handy AFTER the thing has been written. Instead, we’re going to talk about how the question ‘who gets to write about India?’ is now going to be about how these people’s entitlement to write about India is somehow being threatened and this oppression is like totally oppressing them and they haz a sad? Didn’t all this drama already happen on Racefail? Does anyone else read the word Racefail and hear the words ‘rice fail’ in their head? Whatever, imma just put this under ‘things I don’t understand, like really’, right beside ‘I don’t understand India’s violent love for Michael Jackson that makes Indian ads use MJ clones even though he is dead and was like child molesty and stuff’

Let Us Blame You And Me For Everything

There is the big fight of ‘oh my god you totally stereotyped everything’ versus ‘i SO did not, you only stereotyping stereotyper’. And because that fight is so big, maybe we’re not really paying attention to this idea that maybe we’re far more prone to stereotype than we’d like to believe. We like to enter this conversation with a very firm belief that we just CAN’T do that because we are awesome, which is maybe why we get upset when people say that’s what we’re doing. But stereotyping is unfortunately not a white, first world thing though it really feels like it should be, no? It is a people thing and because writers are people, this means that they can also stereotype. Seriously. I mean, like really. I’m not kidding. I don’t understand why this is so hard to grasp, it’s like people getting all #LIESANDPROPAGANDA about those fucking pie charts about gender disparity in publishing. Anyway, I also want to say that while I’m not a fan of Indian Exotica, I understand it has its own place in the India experience and has its meaning. Like the money it generates has meaning. There are many Indian experiences and identities and authenticities and all of them are right and there will always be people saying all of them are wrong also. Why because means this is India, it is a big motherfucking country with lots of stuff in it. Maybe we would have a lot less trouble if all of us made an effort to not think of India as something that needs to explained or can be readily explained, like it is a onenumber foot. India is not a foot.

Anyway, I also want to say that all of this is everyone’s fault. It’s not my fault though because I’m not from here so it has nothing to do with me.


This doesn’t really have anything to do with anything but once upon a time, I had no idea that NRI FOB jokes existed. NRI FOB jokes as in making fun of NRIs who are fresh off the boat with their water bottles and white socks and that unique mixture of arrogance and bewilderment which is like having a target painted on your forehead. Of course NRIs make fun of FOBs the other way round because that’s a big part of the NRI experience. Back in the day, we called them Fresh Of The Boaters. I don’t know what Boaters are or why we said that. The only possible explanation I can offer is that we were Canadian and it was the eighties. Anyway so I heard funny and also mean stereotypes/jokes/cultural critique by Indians about NRI FOBs. And I have to say, it was weird because half of me was laughing because it was really funny and the other half of me was sad and offended. I was laughing at myself and being offended with myself at the same time. That was hard to do, mainly because I’m used to doing only one of those things at a time. Anyway.

Hay Gaiz! Mai Country Welcomes Foreign Seekers Of Yoga Poses!

Ok, this I actually took from the article. The last six words of the above sentence, to be precise. I just think this should be a on a t-shirt. I really do.


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