TV Features

RuPaul's Drag Race Has a Class Problem

The popular reality show is not without controversy, but it's time we talk about the class barriers it perpetuates.

Monique Heart - RuPaul's Drag Race


There's a lot to say about the various social justice pitfalls of RuPaul's Drag Race, from the discriminatory exclusion of trans contestants to RuPaul Charles' recent fracking controversy.

One issue that hasn't been sufficiently addressed is the show's inherent class problem. With the costs of participating in the show exponentially mounting each season, this issue feels particularly prescient. Nowadays, drag queens have to spend down payment-sized amounts of money in preparation for competing, which creates an inherent class barrier and disadvantages working-class and poor contestants.

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13 Musicians Influenced By Psychedelics

Some wild stories from great musicians who dabbled in hallucinogens.

Harry Styles at Capital's Summertime Ball 2022

Photo by Matt Crossick_Global_Shutterstock

The story of psychedelics is intertwined with the story of music, and tracing their relationship can feel like going in circles.

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As a devoted 80's baby, I'm nostalgic for anything that reminds me of my youth. i Care Bears, TMNT, Slap Bracelets – I remember it all like it was yesterday. So, when I came across an old Muzzy commercial on YouTube, the memories started pouring in. The 80s and 90s spawned a ton of super-memorable commercials, and Muzzy was my personal favorite.

I remembered the big green fuzzy cartoon that taught you how to speak French and how badly I wanted the tapes. It was everywhere in the '90s, and I was over the moon when my parents bought the VHS tapes for my sixth birthday. I was excited because of the fun monster cartoon, but it ended up helping me become bilingual and giving me more opportunities in life.

Muzzy is a language-learning program designed to teach kids a foreign language using animated stories that were developed by the BBC. When I was a kid, I used the Muzzy VHS tapes to learn French and I absolutely loved it. Now I'm a mom, and you can imagine how excited I was when I found out Muzzy is still around in 2020.

Now it's been modernized: the language learning cartoons come as a website subscription that includes interactive bonus materials like movies, games, songs, and worksheets that can teach your child all kinds of concepts from greetings to counting.

The online subscription also includes an online recording studio that lets your child practice pronunciation by hearing themselves aloud. I knew I had to get it for my daughter, so she could learn a second language just like I did.

Because I started at such a young age, learning French became part of my daily life. Muzzy didn't make it feel like learning at all, because they design their stories to teach you a new language the same way you learned your first. Plus it was really fun!

Now I'm bilingual in French and English, and I want my daughter to have all the same opportunities being bilingual gave me -- traveling the world, increased job opportunities, and exposure to a culture that expanded my worldview. And I knew I should start while she's young, while the lessons will have the biggest influence on expanding her cognitive skills and creative abilities.

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I decided to get my daughter a Muzzy online subscription so that she can learn Spanish. They have 7 different languages to choose from, but I thought Spanish was a good choice since her father has family in Spain. They have a bunch of different online subscription plans starting at just $5 a month, so teaching my daughter Spanish would cost less per month than a single venti latte at Starbucks.

It's nice to have something to occupy her time other than mindless cartoons or iPad games. Plus, there are countless studies out there that prove there are so many benefits to learning another language at a young age, like improved cognitive functions, creative thinking, and a greater ability to multitask.

When I was a kid, Muzzyalways felt like I was watching a cool tv show, not like I was in school learning something boring. Speaking in French became something fun for me to do. Watching my daughter have fun learning Spanish with Muzzy has been one of the most rewarding things I've done as a parent.

Update: Muzzy is running a limited time offer save up to 67% OFF!

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There are more than 6 billion people in the world speaking roughly 6,909 different languages. The ability to express ourselves using language is inherently what makes us human. We communicate to each other over the phone, text, email & yes, sometimes even in person. In today's globalized society it's almost imperative that we learn to speak several languages. For many, like me, it's been a challenge to travel and communicate with people for work or pleasure. I've missed out on business opportunities due to language barriers. Other times I've gotten lost and taken the wrong train due to misunderstanding someone. Learning a new language however, can be extremely difficult, full of boring textbook memorization and not to mention, can be extremely time consuming.

So, when I was talking to some of my buddies about presenting a case study in Spanish for an upcoming business trip, I was surprised to learn about Babbel. One of my friends promised that Babbel would help me learn and speak conversational Spanish in just a few weeks, but I was pretty skeptical. He explained how their revolutionary technology makes language learning simple and fun. With nowhere else to turn and not a lot of time, I decided to check them out.

Babbel is a language learning site that offers simple instruction across multiple languages - from beginner to advanced. This platform was developed by a team of over a 100 language experts from more than 40 nations around the world. A research study by City University of New York (CUNY) found that with Babbel, students could learn a semester's worth of Spanish in just three weeks. My trip was a few weeks away so I was hoping I'd be able to pick up some Spanish by then. I definitely had my work cut out for me, but I was up for the challenge.

Every morning, I selected a training with or without voice recognition depending on where I was. Each lesson asks you to study words and phrases with a voice-over teaching you how to pronounce every word so you can practice for real-life conversation. This was key, and I really felt like I was having a normal conversation with a person - not repeating the same phrase over and over again - like in 6th-grade Spanish class. I learned what to listen for and how to properly pronounce words, which was very practical and gave me confidence in speaking. In just a few weeks, I was having conversations and continued to use the app whenever I had a spare moment.

For many people, trying to learn a new language can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. To my surprise, Babbel helped me learn conversational Spanish in just a few weeks, something I wasn't able to do through 4 years of Spanish in high school and college. I even closed a business deal on my trip, which I don't think I could have done without Babbel- that alone was well worth the $7 a month. Babbelhas helped me connect with new people that I wouldn't have been able to speak to otherwise. I even made a few new Spanish-speaking friends along the way!

Update: The folks at Babbel are extending a special offer to our readers. Follow this link to get 1 month free! Use promocode Navigate2018