Friday, January 31, 2014

Planet Rocky Horror

You called me a WHAT?

Allow me to preface by saying that if you have never attended a live showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, this will all seem incredibly strange and downright offensive. If you have seen it, especially if you've seen it many times, this will all seem par for the course. 

After posting an article on Facebook about gay men's misogyny, the common problem of gay men groping straight women, most often ones they do NOT have permission to grope, came to the forefront. A very dear friend of mine and a former Rocky Horror cast "Mom" made a comment about getting groped repeatedly at The Rocky Horror Picture Show. She didn't seem bothered by it and even went on to joke about guys getting a thrill from "groping someone their granny's age." This is a fellow feminist who also shares posts and rants about how woman-hating the world is in general, who also complains about shit republicans say, who also points out racism in odd places, etc.

Personally, I cut my teeth on the Rocky Horror Picture show. I was a theatre kid in high school, but even in that subculture, I was a misfit. For whatever reason, misfits are attracted to Rocky Horror. There are no captains of football teams or cheer leading squads going to Rocky Horror. It just doesn't work that way. They might attend once because they heard it was wild, but they're not the regular crowd. It's not their most fertile climate.

One of the oddest yet most consistent things about Rocky is that everything that bothers, offends, even hurts you in real life goes right out the window at Rocky. Things you wouldn't say or do ANYWHERE else in the known universe are said and done as a matter of routine. Different casts have different quirks, but there are a few universal staples. For example, constantly yelling, "SLUT," at the screen when anyone says Janet's name, or even sometimes when Janet is kinda minding her own business.

We literally SCREAM slurs shamelessly and innumerously. I've already mentioned, "Slut." People who attend the show but don't get on stage are often called, "Trannies," short for "Transexual Transylvanians." We refer to Frankenfurter as a "fag" sometimes. We make jokes about women drivers and fat people and bodily functions and everything in between.

There are individual cast sayings that may be more or less offensive. For example, before Frankenfurter's first entrance, the cast I ran with would say, to the beat, "Shit, goddamn, sit on my face and spin, motherfucker," but another cast that I visited at one point used to sing, "We Want Frankie," to the tune of Chicago's "We Want Billy." In the cast I ran with, the scene where Janet finds Brad and Frankenfurter on the monitor, a friend began to popularize, "It's a a fag taking a drag off of a fag after having a fag in drag."

Despite all these normally offensive words, Rocky Horror attendees are most certainly not, as a group, ANYTHING-phobic. Rocky Horror attendees are gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, transgender, cisgender, fat, thin, normal, old, young, handicapped, awkward, all kinds of things. Why would a bunch of the very weirdos that generally don't want to be called bitches, sluts, trannies, fags, etc. want to gather once a week with the express purpose of calling each other bitches, sluts, trannies, fags, etc.?


But we do! And, somehow, it's okay. It REALLY is! No one at Rocky is going to stop you and say, "Don't call that 'gay' because it's offensive," or, "Don't use the word tranny, that's a slur!" I can't explain why it is because it cannot be translated into Earth-English. It's not our language. It's not like our planet. It's Planet Rocky Horror.

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