If last week's episode of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars 3 hasn't already been spoiled for you, you don't really care about RuPaul's Drag Race. That said, I don't feel like being firebombed tonight, so I'm warning you there are spoilers below.
A lot has already been said about BenDeLaCreme's "shocking" and "extra" self-elimination on last week's episode of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars 3. I still have many questions. Has BenDeLaCreme been planning this since 2016? Was it just kismet that BenDeLaCreme happened to go home 5th-from-the-top on both of her RuPaul seasons, or was it more mastery from Ben's mysterious mind? Did everyone catch how the song choice for Ben's final lip sync (Deborah Cox's "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here") was, in retrospect, surreal and perfect?
But there's one wonky question that's really rolling around my headhole...
Is BenDeLaCreme's discomfort with having to make elimination decisions an example of the Seattle process?
After reviewing the evidence, I've come to the conclusion that the answer is an overwhelming yas.
First, a primer on the process.
From Steven Hsieh's "How Seattle City Hall Works" in our recent New to Town issue:
You'll hear this term all the time. It refers to the years of task force meetings, outreach, studies, and appeals that seem to be required before your city officials will do or build anything. Some swear by the Seattle Process as a bulwark against sloppy policy. Critics say this snail's pace governing only waters down and delays stuff we need sooner rather than later.
Seattleites think of themselves as virtuous, fair, and woke people. Rushed decisions that originate from emotions can screw people over, the thinking goes, so it's better to set up an expensive task force (and then a task force to oversee and monitor the work of the task force) than be held accountable for a single bad decision.
Examples of this are everywhere in Seattle. After three decades of debate, there is still no consensus on what should be done with the "missing link" on Seattle's Burke-Gilman trail (a five-year, $2.5 million environmental study was "deemed inadequate"). There's the monorail. The Seattle Commons. The years of delay on approving and building light rail. Everything in Seattle requires, as Wikipedia puts it, a "pervasively slow process of dialogue, deliberation, participation, and municipal introspection before making any decision."
All that "quantifying" of the elimination process that BenDeLaCreme was asking for from the other queens? Yeah, that's the Seattle process.
When Ben said, "I don't want that responsibility of figuring it out or deciding it," and instead asked the girls to convene (as a task force) so they could create a technical system for elimination? Yeah, that's the Seattle process.
Yeah, that's non-Seattleites experiencing the Seattle process.
It is, as the New York Times once wrote, a "mysterious and maddening phenomenon."
So while I think RuPaul certainly deserves a big "fuck you," just remember that when you applaud Ben's uneasiness with All Stars 3's rules, you're also applauding the Seattle process. It's a process that appears thoughtful and benevolent, but, as longtime Seattle residents will let you know, it's actually just some self-serving and expensive bullshit.