White Boy Drag: Jackie & Lily Talk, Episode 1
This is a conversation. It is 1:06am MST. We are both HTML Giant contributors. We are also both Asian. This is happening IRL.
Lily Hoang: So, imagine there’s someone sitting at a café, smoking a cigarette, drinking a fucking Americano, reading David Foster Wallace. What do you think?
Jackie Wang: Who is this wienerschnitzel? Lemme guess. A white boy with lots of feelings.
LH: Haha, no, it’s me: I’m in white boy drag!
JW: White boy drag?! That’s an interesting term. What exactly does that mean? You’re not going to kill yourself and make everyone else feel bad about it, are you? Cause that would be taking the performance a little too far!
LH: Well, it’s hard being a white boy, I gotta admit. Like you don’t know how hard it is. The guilt. The burden of genius. All the privileges. It’s hard to balance, keep the head sane, ya know?
JW: You know what I hate about white boys? They’re always complaining about how they can’t get laid, but it seems obvious to me – like – why they can’t get laid. Should someone tell them? Should I be the one to tell them?
LH: Tell me!
JW: Their penises are short! Hey, Lily, sidebar: You’re going to have make this coherent because from here on out, my brain is scrambled. The Ambien’s kicking in.
LH: I think I can try to hold this thing together.
JW: Hey, do you think I could get fired for this?
LH: No way. Your Ambien is prescribed to you. Let’s keep on going.
JW: Don’t you think it’s weird that Tao Lin isn’t a white boy?
LH: Seriously? I’ve never met him. I always thought he was white.
JW: No, Lily! He’s Asian! He’s one of us! Well, maybe not you since you’re in white boy drag.
LH: Hey, Jackie, did you ever notice we’re both Asian? Why doesn’t Tao Lin like us?
JW: Oh, he only likes whiteys for some reason. He should reach out to his people. Us. Right here. Jackie Wang and Lily Hoang.
LH: Do you think Tao Lin is a better example of white boy drag than me?
JW: Well, he’s been doing it longer.
LH: He knows what he’s doing.
JW: Do you think if we were white girls we could date Tao Lin?
LH: No, Jackie. You’re a lesbian. Did you forget?
JW: Oh, I’m doing straight drag right now.
LH: Do you think queer theorists will teach this blog post?
JW: I think this is valuable. I think what we’re doing is important.
LH: Jackie, what are we doing?
JW: What we’re doing is making fun of Charles Bernstein for political reasons.
LH: Woah, slow down, we can’t just make fun of Charles Bernstein. Can we?
JW: I guess we just did. Oh great, now we’re gonna get crucified by all the poets!
LH: But they’re all white boys. How bad can they burn you?
JW: You’re right. Probably not very bad at all. They might ignore me at AWP or leave anonymous comments on this post. Those people don’t need drag to be white boys, unlike us. I mean, like, doesn’t Judy B say something about how we’re all in drag all the time? Like constant performativity?
LH: Oh shit, you just brought Judy B here. Shit’s gonna get real, people.
JW: Yeah, Judy B. comes with me everywhere my Ambien does. The Ambien unlocks the part of my mind that Judy B sleeps in.
LH: Ok, focus Jackie, cause we’re onto something. So, if we’re all in drag all the time, who are the white boys dragging? Are they also in white boy drag? Like meta-drag? They certainly seem to be performing their affect well.
JW: I see a lot of white boys in hiphop drag.
LH: What does that even look like?
JW: They kinda look exactly like white boys, indie white boys in particular, except they only talk about how much they love hiphop. And sometimes, they throw themselves into bad situations to show how hard and legit they are. You know, like Blake going into the hood for Vice Magazine.
LH: Like Neo-wigger-indie-boys?
JW: Let’s take a break and interrogate Dylan. He’s not a white boy drag. [Note: Dylan is a friend who has been patiently watching as we type out this whole ridiculous thing.]
JW: Ok, we’re back. Hey, Lily, I have a question for you.
JW: Why do you want to be in white boy drag when white boys are so boring?
LH: Well, personally, I wanted to know what true suffering feels like.
JW: Wait, why are you suffering? Is this for real now?
LH: Yes, it’s hyperreal. I can’t think of what Baudrilliard would say, but he’d probably have something to say about this.
JW: White boys love him. You’re really getting the hang of this.
LH: You think so? I’m pretty excited.
JW: Except have you noticed that you’re not a white boy?
LH: [ironic silence]
JW: Lily, I’m worried now. Maybe you’ve taken this whole performance too sincerely.
LH: Have I just become the New Sincerity?
JW: Lily, you can’t be a whole genre.
LH: That’s not a fucking genre. It’s who I am.
JW: Don’t even tell me you like Harmony Korine.
LH: Shut up. He’s such an artist.
JW: You know, I actually really like him. I tried to stalk him once. He was in Sarasota shooting his film about teenagers on spring break or something and I tried to find him. Get this, I even called his agent to see if I could interview him for HTML Giant.
LH: Shut up. Now who’s the white boy drag!? Ok, side bar: I feel like we should clarify that whereas white boy drag is problematic, we both strongly endorse white drag boys.
JW: Ok, confession time. I guess I might also be a white boy drag. I like Vincent Gallo.
LH: Does this make you embarrassed? Will you be able to admit this tomorrow?
JW: Nah, I’ll just tell them it was the Ambien talking. But if Harmony Korine’s agent is reading this, could you please tell him I’d love to do an interview with him for this blog?
LH: Hold on, Jackie. Now that you’re a white boy drag, I can’t tell if you’re being sincere or ironic.
JW: Woah, what’s the difference? If you’re asking if I actually like Harmony Korine, then the answer is yes. My ex-girlfriend bought me a limited edition box set of his zines.
LH: Getting gifts like that means that you’re a white boy drag. I bet she was a WOC (Hey White Boy: WOC is Women of Color!).
JW: Gotcha: She was actually a white woman.
LH: Well, I tell you what. That just doesn’t fly around here. I’m beginning to doubt your ability to be a good white boy drag.
JW: Hey hey hey now, I’ve read the white boy canon.
LH: Like what?
JW: Well, the heavy hitter white boys like Salinger and Kerouac, Bukowski and Miller and the Marquis de Sade and Celine. And I really love the movie The Holy Mountain. GOD I HATE WHITE BOYS WHO LOVE THE HOLY MOUNTAIN.
LH: So you’ve read some fiction. To be a good white boy drag, you have to hit theory and philosophy too. Obv.
JW: I’ve read the Cliff’s Notes to Capitalism and Schizophrenia, both volumes.
LH: Who hasn’t?
JW: I’ve also read Zizek, Badiou, and Agamben. I know about affect and animal studies. I was even thinking about applying to EGS. Do you think that gives me points or takes them away towards being a truly excellent white boy drag?
LH: You’re gonna need to get some bitches up in that reading list if you want to be legit at EGS.
JW: Well, Judy B lives in my head, yo. But whatever, I love DFW. I identify with David Foster Wallace in a misunderstood genius kind of way.
LH: As a white boy drag, I empathize. I feel.
JW: Here’s some POC (Hey White Boy: POC is Person of Color!) cred too: I’ve read Murakami and Bolano and Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. And here’s some indie cred: I like foreign films, preferably not from any core countries, it’s periphery or bust for me. And preferably nothing that’s ever released. I want to discover it on an invite-only torrent site like Karagarga.
LH: So, it really was embarrassing that I was reading DFW in public. Looks like I’m not cut out for white boy drag after all. What a bummer. But Jackie, I think you’re prime material. You should give Adam Jameson a call. He has plenty of pointers.
JW: I’m glad we finished this conversation because I think my Ambien just wore off. And I have to teach in a few hours.
LH: Cool, I should be heading home to pet my cats anyways.
JW: Your cats are real cute, Lily. Tell them that I say hello and I miss them. Tell them I’ll drop the white boy drag when I visit them and pet them, because who wants to be touched with white boy drag hands?
LH: Ok. Good night Jackie. (2:55am MST)