Blanche Poubelle & SUCKS

Grant Barrett gbarrett at AMERICANDIALECT.ORG
Wed Apr 19 21:36:04 UTC 2000

On Wednesday, April 19, 2000, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
>At the January meeting of ADS I gave a paper on the slang use of SUCKS.
>found its way into a press report in a gay publication called THE GUIDE.
>reporter calls herself "Blanche Poubelle" and claims to have attended my
>paper reading. Does anyone want to confess to being Blanche?

Ah! A mystery! This calls for a little deductive reasoning and pure
guessing and pointless questioning.

-- Might be an off-list member of non-ADSer.

-- Was the article professional or casual? Was their linguistic trade
jargon in it, and was it used correctly?

-- Who deals in vulgar speech?

-- Who would be more likely to attend ADS in a reporting capacity rather
than in a member capacity?

-- Our mystery write is no more likely to be female than male, given the
gay tradition of using feminine identifiers, particularly in the company of
other gays, and not necessarily exclusive to individuals who practice drag.
(I cite Tony Kushner's "Angels in America" as a nicely done example of
this usage). However, given that this sort of usage would be known to even
non-gay ADSers and their ilk, considering their interest in language in
general, this is not strong evidence.

-- Our mystery write is not necessarily gay. I have straight friends of
both sexes who write and edit for a couple of gay rags here in New York.

-- Blanche Poubelle=White Trash, as mentioned. About half of the list
qualifies. Some of us more than others (hold on a second, just let me finish
this Moon Pie). But who would say it with pride? Who might, just out of
strong regional indentification, use it as a name, but at the same time would
add that Streetcar-Named-Desire-type of Frenchification to give it class and

-- Blanche Poubelle *does* sound like a drag or stage name. This, plus the
above, might indicate an interest in theatre. Perhaps also residence in a
town in which theatre and/or drag thrive.

-- It ain't me. I didn't go to the January meeting.

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