June 20, 2019 A Religious and Political Commentary

Is it really newsworthy that a ‘queerlesque’ dance studio is now open?

The calendar heads to September and I begin anticipating fall. The heat hasn’t changed much, but at least we’ve had some rain.  Also coming: regular schedules.  Kids are back in school, football and volleyball have started, and “lazier” summer schedules have suddenly become much busier.

I head into the fall with some tough decisions to make. Do I want to take belly dancing and twerking classes from Draconis or Lana Del Gay? Should I go old school and stick to the standard burlesque and striptease classes?  I know my “floorwork” and “chair dancing” could use some help, so maybe a class or two from Scarlett Frenzy?  Decisions, decisions.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, you can read all about it on the front page, above the fold, of the Denton Record Chronicle (“Take Back the Tease,” Aug. 3, 2018). A new business opening in town, Denton Academy of Drag and Burlesque, is hoping not only to teach the “art” of striptease and burlesque, but also to “make it more queer.”

This is news today. Of all the important things I could learn from my local paper, this day it is relegated to discovering there is something called “queerlesque.”

Still, the media continues to plead its case: “We’re relevant!” “We’re not fake news!” “Take us seriously!”  At least once a week an editorial appears in this paper heralding the vaunted fourth estate. There seems to be actual shock among editors that, according to The Hill, 72% of Americans believe traditional news outlets report “news” they know to be untrue or misleading [Source: TheHill.com]. Most agree with newspaperman Walter Lippman who began warning back in 1922 of the media’s agenda-setting rather than agenda-reporting.

When “Take Back the Tease” appears on the front page and not the Entertainment or Business section, it screams agenda.

Meanwhile, readership of daily newspapers continues to decline as it has every year for the last 28 years [Source: PewResearch.org]. Not content with Pew’s research, I asked my paper deliverer early one morning.  He said that in my large housing development he throws twelve papers.  In the much bigger neighborhood a block to the east, he throws fifteen.

My first job was a paper route for the DRC, before I knew I could pay for my comic book habit by GoFundMe. I rode my bike every day after school through “Idiot’s Hill” in north Denton with a satchel over my shoulders. I’m pretty sure the satchel weighed a thousand pounds and I threw a million papers each day.  The local paper was an important part of our community.

Since I’m not a marketing consultant for the Denton Record Chronicle I’ll move on. I’m sure they have all the numbers related to market research, demographics, and audience constituency. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks “Take Back the Tease” an odd addition to the front page.

My volunteer role around here is to write a column every other week from the perspective of a local pastor (this could very well be my last one!).  I write about social concerns, trying to give a reasoned, biblical, evangelical perspective.  I don’t get paid a cent – unless you consider hate-mail remuneration.

I do it because I love Denton. I do it because I don’t like the direction we’re going. I do it because my kids will soon be married and I’ll eventually be a grandparent – and I would love to have them all live in Denton, Texas.

And before the words “hate” and “phobia” are thrown out, let me be clear: I do have issues with the morality of this business. But in relation to its inclusion in the paper, I simply don’t think queer burlesque classes are newsworthy. At all. It is lead-story-worthy only if the powers that be want it to be.

As I say, I have personal positions on the morality of LGBTQ activities.  I have tried, as this social trend has grown, to develop a theology that is both loving to people and consistent with God’s Word. I’ve discussed it in this column before so I won’t rehash it today.

And you have personal opinions, too. I realize (since there are a lot of empty seats in churches around Denton) that not everyone in our town is a Christian and tied to the same standard of morality I am – so we’ll differ on what’s right and wrong.

So at this point I become very Libertarian.  If queerlesque is your thing, as long as you aren’t harming anyone, and you’re not breaking the city’s decency or sexually-oriented business codes, and I don’t have to watch, then go for it. Twerk all you want. And if you actually believe the free market will bear a LGBTQ dance studio, then have at it and hang out your shingle.

But leave me out of it. Give it the proper attention it deserves – if any.  Don’t prop it up, promote it, or shill for it.

 

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