JUMP CUT
A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA

Notes

1. Reddit is a social media website and online community made up of various sub-communities themed around different topics in pop culture and media called “subreddits” (as noted later, several subreddits are devoted to RuPaul’s Drag Race). Member posts are organized through community vote, all content able to be voted “up” or “down” based on user interest and approval, with the highest up-voted content appearing at the top of webpages. With no email required for registering an account, Reddit is notably accessible to casual usership (see Ovadia 2015). This quality has both enhanced Reddit’s popularity, and led to hostile cyber-bullying environments often dubbed “toxic technocultures” (Massanari 2015). According to redditinc.com at the time of this writing, Reddit has over 430 million active users each month and over 130,000 subreddit communities. [return to page 1]

2. Ironically, an early piece of scholarship on spoilers and television was on reality competition television, Henry Jenkins’ chapter on Survivor in his book Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (2006) pre-dating Jonathan Gray and Jason Mittell’s work on Lost.

3. “Meet the Queens” refers to the introductory videos WOW releases at the start of each season.

4. Racism in the Drag Race fandom is a violence perpetrated by the fandom itself that the fans struggle both to stop and to atone for. More research is needed on this subject in conjunction with research broadly addressing racism in online social media spaces. For more information on racism within the Drag Race fandom, see GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)’s article featured on their blog amp devoted to young activist voices, in the works cited (Menchavez 2020).

5. This false information was disseminated in a YouTube video that has been deleted in-between the writing of this piece and its final publication, a sign of the ephemerality of these forms of communication.

6. The drag character “Sasha Belle’ is no longer performed by Jared Breakenridge, who instead goes by the new name Frisbee Jenkins. Given Sasha Belle’s role in Drag Race’s narrative, and the name’s use in r/SpoiledDragRace, I will continue to use it here. 

7. This description of spoiling as a “queer art” pays homage to Jack Halberstam’s The Queer Art of Failure (2011), conceptualizing “failure’ as a form of resistance. Spoiling is its own form of failure, confounding the traditional dynamics of media literacy and spectatorship. [return to page 2]

8. Opacity as a discursive opportunity in queer art is a phenomenon explored by Nicholas de Villiers in his book Opacity and the Closet: Queer Tactics in Foucault, Barthes, and Warhol (2012), framing opacity as “an alternative queer strategy or tactic that is not linked to an interpretation of hidden depths, concealed meanings, or a neat opposition between silence and speech” noting heteronormativity’s frequent command of “open’ and “transparent’ communication (6).

9. A pun on “I carry a Chanel” referencing the luxury elite handbag. [return to page 3]

10. This is a quote from a YouTube video of Masters’ uploaded to her own account that quickly went viral and has since become a notable text among the fandom (Piedra 2016). [return to page 4]

11. Untucked takes place “behind the scenes” of the judges’ deliberation during a normal episode of Drag Race, as the queens discuss how they performed in the challenges. It often airs immediately following Drag Race proper, although for multiple seasons it has been an online-only program.

References

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RuPaul’s Drag Race. “Float Your Boat.” Directed by Nick Murray. Logo TV, March 5 2012.

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