RuPaul, Prisoner Poets, and the Nae Nae: Today’s Recommended Reading


Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the Internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks on the ‘Net are doing, too.Today, we have essays on Trumpian dystopia and poets, a fascinating interview with RuPaul, and a story about hip-hop dance in Atlanta.

Vulture interviewed RuPaul, who described, among other things, how modern TV has stolen some of its most successful ideas from gay culture.

“There’s a certain ‘gay shame.’ Gay people will accept a straight pop star over a gay pop star, or they will accept a straight version of a gay thing, because there’s still so much self-loathing, you know? They talk so much about acceptance now today and it’s like, yes, but trust me — I’m old and I know this shit — it’s superficial. Because as soon as the lights go out, you’ll see how advanced people’s thinking is. This so-called ‘Will & Grace acceptance’ era is just people fucking posing.”

An essay in The Paris Review discussed the history of poets who thrived artistically after being branded as criminals.

Outlaw poets are what certain prison writers become when their term is up—when they’ve been let loose into a world that spurns them and whose values they reject. In some cases, the poetry they write from this position turns out bitter, sour, and defiantly indigestible, full of lines that dare their civilized, comfortable readers to tolerate rude language, unhinged imagery, and wild variations in refinement and shape. In others, it comes off as a seductive, pining lament, a plea for pardon or a performance of rueful self-blame.

In McSweeney’s, Nick Cherneff imagines how a Trump-like politician might change their tune after the apocalypse.

Speaking of eating people, we gotta do something about all these cannibals. Let me just say this: these cannibals are seriously bad guys. Out there, running around, eating the old and the weak and the fat and the juicy and the slow-footed dummies too stupid to find terrific hiding spots. You know, people tell me “you are what you eat,” and these cannibals are out here eating losers. You do the math. I’m sorry, but I like people who weren’t eaten.

MTV News has an in-depth, reported piece about the hip-hop dance scene in Atlanta, where dances like the Nae Nae grew locally before becoming pop culture phenomena.

The types of videos created by ThaKrew and Muyumba — though receiving thousands of views — remained a relatively local phenomenon until late 2014. The game changer? Richard “Silento” Hawk. By July 2015, the 18-year-old from Atlanta was riding high at No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart with “Watch Me,” featuring a devastatingly simple hook – “Watch me Whip / Watch me Nae Nae” – and lyrics that name-checked an assortment of older rap dances, including the Stanky Legg and the Crank That. Hawk’s sly innovation was to extract the Whip and the Nae Nae from their four count dance origins and make them even easier, recontextualizing them as individual moves that nearly anyone could do.