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RuPaul’s drag revolution

The question of whether or not Michelle Obama was "throwing shade" at John Boehner after last week's inauguration likely hadn't been asked of a First Lady before; the term, which originated in the drag world, has officially entered the language. Before there was Michelle's eye roll, there was a winter of Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey reading each other in clips from the nation's most popular television show. Recently, Prince threw shade at Madonna. "Dissing" someone is so 2004!

"RuPaul's Drag Race," the show that helped to bring drag culture into the mainstream, returns for a fifth season tonight, and the question is: Is everyone a little bit queeny? Has "shade-throwing" -- the sort of sly, cutting insults that, coincidentally, tend to clock in under 140 characters -- become a national pasttime? And is there anything risky about drag queens when everything from their language to their costumes (the proudly, comically outré Katy Perry and Lady Gaga) is mainstream?

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