18 January 2013

Read This Blog to Filth...

I was helping Clifford – my Northern boyfriend – at the garage where he works when, out of the blue, I turned to him and said: “I’ll read you to filth…”
“What…?” Clifford looked puzzled.
“Would you say that I’ll read you to filth is a sentence of English?”
“Never eard it b’for. It don’ mek sense.” 

Ill read you to filth is often uttered by the queens of Rupauls Drag Race (see Drag Queens English). The first time I heard it was during the first mini-challenge ‘the library is open’ (s. 02, ep. 07) when Jujubee, hands on hips, pledged: “I’m not nervous. I’ll read a bitch. I will read you to filth."

to filth, I suppose, means ‘utterly, to the bitter end.’

Rupauls Drag Race only aired in the UK in 2009, on E4, and no further season was aired on a British channel. It was natural that Clifford, born and bred in West Yorkshire, never heard of reading as ‘the drag high art form of shrugging off insults’ (see DragQueen’s English: Vogue).

As a non-native speaker of English myself, I understand Clifford’s reaction to Ill read you to filth.

Reading, by the way, is one of the highlights of RPDRace in terms of English language. Each instance of reading in RPDRace becomes a fertile soil for linguistic strangeness. Here are some interesting ones taken from the ‘library’ mini-challenge.

Jujubee reading (throwing shade)
Season 2:
2.1 “Ms Tyra, was your barbecue cancelled? Your grill is f***** up.” Jujubee.
(grill referring to teeth)

2.2 “…legendary you think you are? Legendary… looks like leg.en.dary” Jujubee. 
(leg en dary
is homophone to
leg 'n' dairy).

Raven reading (throwing shade)

2.3 “You got a grill that could put Black’n’Decker out of business.” Raven. 

2.4 “You wanna call me a top model mommy? Bend over and take it like a man! I’ll be your top… model.” Raven.

Season 3:
Yara Sofia reading (throwing shade)
3.1 “It’s not because you’re Asian. It’s because I need some patian to deal with you!” Yara Sofia. (Yara pronounces ‘patience’ as patian purposely, and patian rhymes with Asian).

3.2 “Is that your teef or your feet?” Yara Sofia. (Yara pronounces ‘teeth’ as teef purposely).

Manila Luzon reading (throwing shade)

3.3 “Your blue contacts are so creepy, that it makes my skin itchy itchy itchy-pa’lante!” Manila Luzon. (Manila makes a reference to a phrase in Spanish used by Sofia: ‘echa pa’lante’)

3.4 “It’s Dinner time Delta, and you are serving body-ody-ody” Manila Luzon.

3.5 “I know you call yourself top model, but I think Tyra Banks and I would agree… you’re just fashion roadkill.” Shangela.

Season 4:

4.1 “Dida Ritz, I don’t know if that’s hot couture or hot coutorn ’cause there’s holes in that shirt.” Dida Ritz.
4.1 “Jiggly Caliente, BMW... Body Made Wrong.” Latrice Royale.
Each instance falls in different categories (which will be dealt with in future posts) of strangeness: while 3.4 has an unusual echo (body-ody-ody), 4.1 has a modified word or neologism (coutorn), etc.

Also, the degree of linguistic strangeness among these instances varies. And some may even disagree that they’re strange at all - comments welcome.

As I'm looking forward to the season 5 (January 28), next post will be on the top runways readings involving strangeness on RPDRace.

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