Chris Crocker | Gay Youth | News

Real Bitch Island, the World of Chris Crocker


You may have watched some of the videos I've posted of Chris Crocker. Crocker has, to say the least, a unique personality, and has developed a massive YouTube and MySpace following because of his often nonsensical, sometimes hilarious, spontaneous musings made before a video camera in his home.

What was not known before now was much about the person behind the videos. Eli Sanders at The Stranger was so intrigued he made a trip to Crocker's hometown, a place Chris likes to call "Real Bitch Island". It's a small town in the rural south.

What Sanders found was less of an egomaniacal YouTube star with attitude, and more of a desperate but hopeful gay boy whose experiences in his home town illustrate the plight that many young gay people face in small towns across the country — loneliness, harassment, isolation.

Sanders writes of a trip to the local mall with Crocker: "As we walked around, past the Sunglass Hut, past the pushy smells of scented candles and baking cookies, people stared hatefully at us, and mostly at him. They stared hard, with the kind of presumed right to glare that people in more sophisticated places wouldn't dare show. Chris ignored it all, checked out the cover of the latest W magazine at a bookstore, pronounced it boring, and then nonchalantly showed me the mall video arcade whose back room he'd hid in when, one day while shopping, he'd heard a girlfriend of his shout: 'Run, Chris!' He'd turned around, that day at the mall, to see a gang of boys chasing him down, coming at him over the beige tiles. He knew he couldn't stand and fight and win. He knew that was only a fantasy, perhaps suitable for a web video but not for real life. He ran."

The difference between some gay kids who are bullied in small towns is that Crocker has found his connection to the outside world in the form of the internet, which he hopes will be his ticket out. I hope it happens for him.

Before you read Sanders' excellent piece, I'd urge you to familiarize yourself with some of Crocker's videos, like the ones here. More can be found here as well.

Escape from Real Bitch Island [the stranger]
Chris Crocker [youtube]

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  1. wow. richie rich 2.0.

    Posted by: matty | May 31, 2007 10:13:41 AM

  2. Jesus christ, I hate those videos. I feel bad for the guy, but couldn't he put something even remotely intelligent up?

    Posted by: Iko | May 31, 2007 10:15:48 AM

  3. "an escape from the South"
    "marooned in a sea of rednecks"
    "I boarded a nonstop flight to a former Confederate state"

    Christ, was this article written in the 1950s? The south is not some scary warzone in a third-world country from which there is no escape. If he doesn't like living there, he should pack his shit and leave. He's 19! Really, it's not that hard.

    Posted by: chrisb | May 31, 2007 10:32:56 AM

  4. Dear ChrisB: the South IS stuck in the 1950s, not in the big, shiny, quasy-gay-tolerant big cities but in the small, hellish, Payton-Place-like towns of the U.S. And he may come across as a richie rich 2.0 but half of the posters in this site wouldn't have survived living where he is living now. He'll get out, but when you're 19 and living in a hellhole you just don't whip your gold AmEx out and book a flight to friggin' Boston. Meh.

    Posted by: xavier | May 31, 2007 10:46:40 AM

  5. I'm not the biggest fan, but this is who he is. He should be able to post whatever he wants. This is his only outlet to express himself and I'm a bit annoyed at the negativity dripping off of these comments.

    And really, it IS that hard to just pack up and move. Unless you're going to college out of state, have a job offer somewhere else, or have family in a different area, you're pretty stuck where you are until you save up a lot of money to move elsewhere. And Elsewhere in the minds of most young gay kids coming from SmallTown USA is the big city, which is hella expensive. So no, you can't just pack up your shit and move. Move and do what? Live where? It's a scary thought that takes a lot of planning.

    It's taking me an entire 11-month plan to make the move up north and I already have a job when I get there. I can't imagine what it must be like for him.

    And yes, the South can be a scary warzone. I live in this scary warzone, and coming from someone who, like Chris, can't very well hide my sexuality the way some other guys can, every day is a different struggle against stares, comments, and harrassment.

    Posted by: Rafi | May 31, 2007 10:50:57 AM

  6. ChrisB,

    Did you ever come to the conclusion that maybe he can't afford it?

    This kid reminds me of Jonathan Caouette who made the autobiographical film Tarnation.

    Posted by: Tread | May 31, 2007 10:50:58 AM

  7. I'm amazed at the classist assumptions people are making here: moving by yourself at 19 isn't easy. Where's he going to move? How's he going to get an apartment in a big city with no money, no credit history, and no job?

    As for his videos: I think a lot of them are rather brilliant. He's playing roles, and he's doing it quite well indeed.

    Posted by: Dan E | May 31, 2007 10:55:06 AM

  8. um, i don't think the problem is so much that he's gay, as that he's a little narcissistic and immature and other words, he's a teenager. he'd get the shit beaten out of him no matter where he lived...i grew up in the rural south, came out in the rural south as a teenager, and it's not at all how its portrayed in this piece. at least not in my experience. i think a lot of people like to make sweeping generalizations about the area, based on nothing more than what they've been told. i think in this kid's case, he blames his surroundings, but isn't willing to look at his own behavior and attitudes towards the people around him and how that might contribute to his isolation. he seems like a nasty little baby mo, and probably thats why people don't like him. in the end, i'm sure he'll be okay. we all grow up, and look back on how we acted when we were teenagers and kind of groan and go "god i was such an asshole..." when he reaches that point and stops pointing the finger everywhere but at himself, he'll no doubt find that he doesn't have nearly as much to be angry and hurt about as he does now. god bless.

    Posted by: dan | May 31, 2007 10:58:03 AM

  9. Actually, Xavier, the south is not stuck in the 1950s. I suspect you don't live there and have never visited since you have no fucking clue what you're talking about.

    This article (from a writer in Seattle, fyi) likes to paint a trite, outdated picture of the rural south. I suppose that's how people sitting in Seattle coffe shops, reading the alternative weekly want to picture it.

    Chris Crocker's town has its own gay bar for god's sake! Clearly, it's not as small or intolerant as he or the article would like you to believe.

    Posted by: chrisb | May 31, 2007 10:58:30 AM

  10. Of course he can afford it! He obviously has a computer, high-speed internet, he regularly purchases expensive makeup, the article indicates that he has a rather large CD collection.

    He can easily afford a bus ticket.

    Posted by: chrisb | May 31, 2007 11:06:42 AM

  11. I'm sorry, but am I the only one who thinks these clips are completely retarded?

    Posted by: RP | May 31, 2007 11:11:03 AM

  12. I am very familiar with Chris, and the 'real bitch island' that he speaks of. It is a small southern town-yet much more cosmopolitan than most, with the highest income in the state, as well as one of the highest concentrations (per capita) of advanced degrees in the country. I don't care where you live, if you walk the halls of a mall (as a man/boy) with eyeliner, lipstick and extensions-you will be looked at.

    Posted by: otto | May 31, 2007 11:11:51 AM

  13. Because bad things never happen to kids who live in towns that have a gay bar....

    When I lived at home I had two computers, high speed internet, and I bought CDs every Tuesday. Because mommy and daddy gave me the money.

    Posted by: Rafi | May 31, 2007 11:14:22 AM

  14. Hello, Barbara Walters...... I think we can help you fill that vacant position, just for a bit. Have him on. See where it goes. Push it a little. Little Elizabeth H might flip her wig, or they will bond like crazy, Im not sure which!

    Posted by: Lee Gordon | May 31, 2007 11:17:18 AM

  15. Anybody trying to paint an overly-Pollyannic view of "the South" in reaction to what they perceive as Sanders' trite way of presenting a 50s-era throwback are equally wrong. There are definitely areas of the South that have progressed a lot; and others that have not and have actually seemed to regress.

    Anybody who has grown up gay in a smallish, rural area will recognize the pain and heartache that goes into living in such an intolerant world. For those of you who so callously say to Crocker, "MOVE ALREADY!" simply don't recognize the love he has for his grandmother - the woman who raised him. Sure, it's definitely a conditional love...sort of...but it's apparent he's tight with her.

    You have to be very strong psychologically to get up and move miles away to another part of America, but many of us have had to summon that strength and do it. However, I personally know more than just a handful of people who tried to do the same and ended up moving back at best. Others immersed themselves in a world of drugs and sex and ended up dying. Yet others broke down and ended up homeless.

    These kids don't have Platinum cards to whip out and pay for their bus ticket - and then 1st and last month's rent when they finally find a place to settle into.

    Any of you overly-cynical people who are so quick to point out how easy it is to just leave a place (formerly called home) to start anew only have it half right. It takes a lot of perseverence, faith, friends, and some money as well. And even with all of that, 'escape' isn't guaranteed.

    The Crocker videos aren't anything special to me, but they do give me a glimpse into a similar world that I once populated and it breaks my heart to see somebody use every tool at his disposal to try to deal with just staying alive in such an oppressive environment.

    Posted by: Rey | May 31, 2007 11:19:34 AM

  16. These clips ARE retarded. Why should I care about this person? He's a narcissistic attention whore. I was 19, gay and lived in the South and didnt feel the need to share my self-absorbed rantings with the world.

    Posted by: Gregoire | May 31, 2007 11:25:17 AM

  17. I wish I had, at the tender age of 19, all the courage and self-awareness Chris possesses. It's so easy to hate from afar, but his story is just that; his own and to project your own privileged existence onto his, trivializes his tale.

    Posted by: Jason | May 31, 2007 11:25:37 AM

  18. the negative comments on here seem to be coming from some people who are equally as bitter as crocker's videos sometimes seem. This kid's stuff isn't about YOU, it's about HIM. Get over yourselves.

    Posted by: JPP | May 31, 2007 11:27:12 AM

  19. I came out very young in a conservative southern-ish town, and I'll admit that once I accepted myself fully, the result of all that pressure being released was a full-on homo supernova that lasted for about 4 or 5 years. I suspect that many of us have similar experiences in our green youth, but mercifully the internet was not yet able to provide worldwide documentation of that period of my life.

    The kid's a newly hatched homo who clearly hasn't quite figured out how to balance the various parts of his personality. I'll be interested to see what he's like in 15 years.

    Oh... and yes, the conservative, hypocritical culture of the south can be annoying at times. But I'll say that the most boring gay people I've ever met have been the well-adjusted upper midwesterners. Southern guys know how to have fun in spite of it all... the south (depending on where you live) isn't all bad.

    Posted by: Brian | May 31, 2007 11:28:07 AM

  20. Aw, I think the vids are totally cute. His whole 'I have to escape' thing is totally overdone, but he's only 19 and most 19 year olds are going nuts to get away from their parents (or grandparents, in this case).

    As poor white trash myself, I moved away from my parent's home in rural Missouri when I was 16 and survived by mooching off friends, whoring a little, and getting into crazy amounts of debt.

    Sure, it got me out of my small town and to San Francisco and then New York. I don't have any regrets, but I sure as hell can't recommend it to other kids if they can figure out other options. This kid seems to be figuring out a pretty decent 'other option.' If only we would have had YouTube back in the ol' days of the early '90s.

    Posted by: vans30 | May 31, 2007 11:28:58 AM

  21. Rey, by no means was I offering a Pollyannic view of the south. Sure, there are still intolerant places there. But growing up gay in the rural south is no more scarier than growing up gay in the midwest or any other non-urban area. This article's overly hyperbolic descriptions of the sourth just really irritate me.

    And I totally disagree with your assertion that Chris Crocker has a psychological attachment to stay. He repeatedly states in the article that he wants to leave.

    The problem with Chris Crocker is that he only wants to leave if he can be a big star. He wants an easy way out. He doesn't want to do it the hard way.

    This is not some kid. He is a 19-year-old young man. And he can easily leave his small southern town behind for more tolerant places if he truly wants to. I know. I did it.

    Posted by: chrisb | May 31, 2007 11:33:29 AM




    Posted by: Daryl | May 31, 2007 11:41:40 AM

  23. Oh, ChrisB I KNOW the South. I left it and will never, ever go back. But I did it with a scholarship. I don't think Crocker will do it that way. But he'll do it. And he's trying now to escape the only way he can: using his internet connection. And hid problem is not about him being gay. It's about him being gay and unapologetically, flamingly queeny. And that's something some self-hating queens and much of the 'mainstream' world will never forgive.

    Posted by: xavier | May 31, 2007 11:44:25 AM

  24. I think he's seen TARNATION one too many times.

    Posted by: DAVE | May 31, 2007 12:00:52 PM

  25. I didn't watch the videos but is he in Huntsville, AL?

    Posted by: Jason | May 31, 2007 12:03:52 PM

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