Wendy Napoles is getting a rude awakening. Napoles, mother to the celebrated eleven-year-old drag queen known as “Desmond Is Amazing,” recently discovered that a convicted pedophile is lusting after her son. In the great grand genre of unsurprising news developments, this may be among the least surprising: It turns out that publicly sexualizing a young boy, parading him around in gaudy and flamboyant outfits as part of a deeply and perversely erotic subculture, will catch the attention of perverts. Stop the presses.
Napoles, and the phalanx of enablers behind her that have contributed to the arguable abuse and objectification of her son, must be scratching their heads. To the rest of us, it is perfectly obvious. Drag culture is self-evidently a sexual culture; those who insist otherwise have never seen actual drag shows, most of which resemble burlesque shows or stripteases. Nobody goes to a drag show for the intellectual stimulation.
Desmond himself has quite obviously figured out what’s going on here, even if his handlers claim ignorance. His drag performances are patently sexual: What else would one call gyrating one’s hips in a crop-top while grown men throw dollar bills into the stage? In one appearance, he even performed a quasi-striptease, throwing off a dress to reveal a bared midriff underneath — all to raucous cheers from the audience. Of course pedophiles are going to love this sort of thing. It is so tiresome to pretend otherwise.
Wendy Napoles has discovered, in public and humiliating fashion, the John Hammond fallacy. Named after the dinosaur magnate of Jurassic Park fame, the John Hammond fallacy is one in which a person believes he can impose strict controls on complex systems to any real degree. In Spielberg’s film, Hammond insists that the doomed dinosaur park, having already failed catastrophically, can be properly managed “when we have control again,” to which one of his guests responds: “You never had control.” Hammond eventually accepts, abandoning his island to the dinosaurs he foolishly created.
Desmond’s mother did not, of course, genetically engineer dinosaurs. She did, however, convince herself that she could control the consequences of publicly and gleefully sexualizing her young son. She was wrong. Speaking of the convicted pedophile who described her son as “hot,” Napoles noted that what he said was “out of our control.”
That is true — but the behavior of her eleven-year-old son is firmly in her control. He does not have to be up on stage acting out a sexualized caricature. You can, with minimal effort, protect your child from the sick and twisted gazes of perverts and predators; not letting your eleven-year-old perform cross-dressing cabaret is a start.
The “drag kid” zeitgeist is interesting to witness, particularly at this moment in our history. As a culture, we have more or less come around to admitting the dangers involved with sexualizing children in, say, beauty pageants; that phenomenon is so commonly understood that there is a Wikipedia page titled “Sexualization in child beauty pageants.” Those instances of sexualization are stomach-churning; the dangers associated with them are obvious to anyone with half a brain. Why are we then tolerating the increasingly popular sexual fixation plainly building up around young cross-dressing boys? What precisely is happening here?
For some reason, most people have apparently come to accept this. That is deeply troubling, especially given the clear risks of child abuse. Earlier this year a young “drag kid” was photographed posing next to a nude adult man. In any other context, a little boy standing mere inches from the nearly exposed genitals of a grown, unrelated man would have caused widespread outrage; probably if it were a little girl in the picture, the nastiness of it would have been immediately clear. In a cowardly sop to LGBTQ politics, we’re apparently supposed to pretend that such things are okay. Shame on us, and pity for the poor kids who are victims of such irresponsibility.