I’ve realised that while I often blog interesting posts from other places so we can discuss them here, I almost never blog about the most interesting stuff I read.
And that’s because I’ve probably grown to believe it’s “required reading” which means I’m assuming you’ve all read it anyway (and I am learning that is not necessarily the case). But you should! Long before you waste your time reading what I’m writing, you should read what Racheline is writing. Also, I never really have anything to add. She manages to explain stuff I just shake my head at and walk away from.
So this post is profoundly embarrassing because of the glaring and ongoing omissions on this blog but also because I fucking hate fangirling over people I actually talk to.
But here goes: fangirl, ahoy.
Every blog post (with excerpts) Racheline Maltese has written about Glee. These are all required reading. Yes, it will be on the test. (I’ll keep this updated, actually, for my own reference as much as for anyone else).
Glee: Marriage, public status, and private lives (3.10 Yes/No)
But I do have a theory. Although it’s one built, largely, not on the presence of data, but the absence of it, which isn’t my favorite basis for constructing an argument. I suspect whatever was going on in this episode goes back to the ring box scene between Kurt and Blaine that was supposed to be in the Christmas episode, but got yanked for time because what the episode needed to say about Kurt and Blaine got said in other ways.
The ring box wasn’t necessary to the Christmas episode, no. But it was necessary to this one, and if it had been broadcast, it might help explain not only Kurt’s non-participation in the marriage narratives of “Yes/No”, but why Beiste’s elopement was also a critical detail when it comes to this season’s ongoing marriage theme.
That season three is all about marriage we learn right at the start of 3.01. Kurt and Rachel are being interviewed by Joseph ben Israel about their plans for the future and Kurt says, “Married by 30, legally!”
Glee: Santana, Dave Karofsky and the Naming and Shaming of Desire (3.06 Mash Off)
So if we want to know what happens next, who better to look at than Santana? She’s an archetype of femininity (a cheerleader) who’s broken the rules (not by being mean, but by being gay) and is about to undergo one particularly unpleasant ritual girls and women face — a big public discussion of the appropriateness of her desire.
It’s something we’ve gotten with Rachel (with Kurt and his gender non-conformance playing mirror) around ambition. Now we’re going to get it with Santana (with Kurt and his gender non-conformance playing mirror again, but he’s a magician, of course, and exists in that other world made up of shadows and the looking glass) around the public naming (and shaming) of desire.
It’s Different for Queers (3.05 The First Time)
Last night, in what was essentially a successful attempt to make it very clear that gay stories are just like straight stories, Glee became the very passing narrative it’s been attempting to elucidate since the start of season 3 around Kurt and Blaine’s disparate gender and sexuality presentations. And, just as that narrative has not mentioned that for someone like Blaine passing can hurt as much as not passing does for Kurt, “The First Time” was, for this queer viewer, uncomfortably silent on all the ways that gay stories aren’t like straight ones.
Glee: Remember how I said I wasn’t going to write about 3.05 before it airs? Yeah, well, I also once told my mother I would never have sex before marriage. (3.05 The First Time)
And let’s remember, I’m also queer, and so the idea that some acts counts more than others and involve gender requirements is complicated, upsetting and aggravating — it’s been why the “who’s the top?” conversation in Klaine fandom has galled me even as I’ve had to step back from my horror as spoilers about condoms have at least made it seem like penetration is the order of the day here. But note that no asks these details about Santana and Brittany’s sex life; you get that what they do is fucking too, right?
The Rules for Boys (3.04 Pot O’ Gold)
Because Finn and Kurt’s drama didn’t entirely neutralize because Finn got over his generalized homophobia, it neutralized because Kurt became his brother and the incest taboo made Finn forget about his still existent homophobia as it applied to Kurt. He no longer felt fear of Kurt’s sexuality, because Kurt as sibling became more important to him — and more gross in a sexual context — than Kurt’s being gay.
Let’s Talk about Glitter Bombing (3.01 The Purple Piano Project)
The thing is, I can’t quite figure out what Glee was trying to do with this. Was this another case of Schuester thinking he’s doing the right thing and not? Let’s face it, Sue may say all sorts of appalling things to Kurt, but she also gave him solos, stuck up for him on the atheism thing, and doesn’t seem to hold his queerness against him any more than she holds anything against anyone.
Hoping Some Boys can Save Themselves (Harry Potter/Snape & Glee/Kurt)
There’s the history of being bullied, and the working hard to seem like something other than what he is: Mechanic’s son? designer clothes? trying to fit in at Dalton? Kurt’s perceived status and choices regarding that status can certainly be read as fairly similar to those of the “Half-Blood Prince.”
And, of course, there’s also the obsessive love and the self-restricted sexuality.
Why is Kurt Hummel dressed like a Flying Monkey (2.22 New York)
The thing is, Kurt does have a skill, a magic, that Rachel doesn’t have. And it is an imagination that wills things in the world. It’s no accident that Kurt’s imagination transforming the stage comes a week after “Funeral,” an episode in which he leads the glee club in “Pure Imagination.” Nor is it an accident that this performance also follows closely on the heels of his return to McKinley with “As If We Never Said Goodbye,” re-purposed from its original meaning into another moment where Kurt makes what is unreal (sets, stage craft, performance) real.
Sex, Gender, Desire and What was that about a Sadie Hawkins dance? (2.20 Prom Queen)
There are, as far as I can tell, two ways to read the Sadie Hawkins dance information. The first is that because this involved non-traditional asking out behavior, that made Blaine feel comfortable with asking another boy to the event. But that interpretation, while the simpler of the two options, actually requires a greater leap of logic to make work as opposed to the more complex, but I suspect more accurate, interpretation: Blaine’s habit is to imagine himself as the one to get asked out, the one to be courted.
Hats in Church and Kurt Hummel’s Gender Identity
The kid’s 16 and in one hell of a set of difficult circumstances that he deals with through performativity. So really? I think it’s fair to say that no one probably knows what’s going on here, including not just the people writing Kurt, but Kurt himself.
That said, intentionality aside, there are all sorts of cues and clues on this lurking all over the show, and I do think there’s sort of an answer. I think Kurt has maybe had to spend a lot of time wondering if he’s trans, but I also think he’s come to the conclusion that he isn’t.
Teen Narratives and Measuring Up
And in a lot of ways, Glee is, of course, more of the same. Pretty fake-nerds with the sort of American lives people in New York City don’t get to have and where the boys are always cooler than the girls. But the way Kurt is sort of strange looking and takes everything so seriously and how all these queered characters are front and center in different ways and this show is a hit? Really? Really really really? It’s sort of awesome.
But when Blaine starts knocking “Raise Your Glass” out of the park, I had that moment. And the reason was because he was absolutely up there performing for both the intradiegetic and extradiegetic audiences as a gay teen who is happy andsmitten and confident and sexy and none of that is why he’s up there singing about being a freak. He’s singing about being a freak, because everyone is a freak, and because life is awesome.
Closing my eyes to press “publish”.
I support this post and would like to subscribe to its newsletter.
(Shouldn’t there be a post about doing the math up there too? Or is it just the wordpress ones.)
Also, unless someone exists — for me — exclusively on LJ, I tend to cordon it off as a personal space and WordPress I tend to see as a very obviously public space.
While I have certainly reblogged stuff off LJ and Tumblr, I am far more likely to seek permission first on those platforms — whereas on WordPress, I see it as fair game. 😉
I once reblogged a public comment on a different website in a different lifetime and the poor girl was so embarrassed. When I realised she was uncomfortable, I offered to remove it, but she was ok with it in the end, and she said she would have happily rewritten it for a larger audience had she realised it was going where it was.
I fuckup. I learn. Sometimes I learn weird lessons.
Is it better if we’re both a little embarrassed? Seriously, though, thanks for this — super cool.
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