Did I really write an entire blog post about Political Animals without mentioning the most glorious piece of pro-Clinton propaganda, Primary Colors? The actual Clinton is a lying misogynist neoliberal shit; the Clinton character in Primary Colors is like a Homeric god, brought down despite himself by the titanic power of his appetites. This is the scene that shows this the best, with sad Clinton compulsively eating in a Krispy Kreme while his team plan a PR strategy in a hotel across the street.
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but Lady GaGa’s repurposing of “politician” as a drag performance may be my favorite of everything she’s done.
Reminded of this by watching Political Animals last night, which is highly entertaining in its camp re-imagining of the Clintons’ post-2008 political careers. It got me thinking about why I attach such importance to camp versions of politics. I think it’s because, while political theory is willing to countenance connections between politics and performance or appearance, mainstream political theory tends to go to great lengths to resist thinking of political performance or political appearances in queer ways: the main theorists of the relationship between politics and appearance are either explicitly (Machiavelli) or implicitly (Arendt) masculinist (Wendy Brown’s Politics and Manhood shows this in some detail). So something like Gaga’s politics-as-drag, or Political Animals’ politics-as-camp queers the otherwise heavily masculine gendered category of “politics,” and it does so on a territory that political theory has traditionally claimed as its own.