From the archive
Toddlers and Tiaras. My present intrigue is the walk/dance of “glitz” contestants when they’re modeling swimsuits/talenting. It’s sort of like if a catwalk stride went to the rodeo and got filtered through a strobe light. There’s something really distinctive about its etymology—it’s like partly a Beyonce sass/finger wag, partly a line dance heel-toe-shimmy, but then it’s sort of half broken, maimed, like a banner ad for car insurance with an animated dancer that keeps getting stuck on the last beat of its routine. And then of course it’s all framed by the horror show grin, which, in the way it’s plastered precariously onto the tots’ faces evokes shocked paralysis.
It brings to mind this thing popular girls (used to?) do where, in their speech, they purposely develop a very slight stutter or lisp. As an adaptive strategy it performs a variety of damsel submissiveness but also clutches the viewer in a hostage situation as he has to stand there and anticipate the syllable forming. I think there’s a similar dynamic at play in the fractured pageant walk. Instead a syncopated sound or two it’s a stitching together of seven or eight small, full body seizures, but in both cases manipulative; an example of learning to spectacle.