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Churchill's queering of the Irishman Fitzpatrick as a fribble evidences how mid--century discourses of effeminacy were also instrumental in enforcing racial taxonomies.
Before examining Churchill's gendered racializing of the Irish fribble, we must first briefly establish the poem's context, before elaborating on how the categories of gender and race were in transition during the period.
While the fribble and the Italian castrato are ridiculed in terms of this indeterminacy, numerous female players emerge as natural and authentic performers alongside David Garrick and the opera singer John Beard.
23) Churchill's Irish fribble, as an instance of the racializing potential of effeminophobic satire, demonstrates how both shifts in conceptions of gender and race were not merely mutually informing, but rather were inextricably woven together within the Enlightenment construction of the naturalized body.
Churchill's satire on the Irish fribble not only demonstrates the flux between the one and two-sex models in this transitional period; it also reveals how the Other to the 'natural' Enlightenment body emerged from an 'ontologising via embodiment of sex and racial difference, a rendering of groups as distinct in their biology and differentiated from an implicit white, male norm'.
Notably, depictions of Thady Fitzpatrick as a fribble before The Rosciad neglect to specify his Irish race.
In response to this Enquiry, Garrick recast Fitzpatrick in his verse-satire The Fribbleriad (1761) in the role of a fribble simultaneously named 'Fizgig' and 'X, Y, Z?
While Senelick reads Garrick's fribble as being synonymous with effeminacy, it is important to acknowledge how Fitzpatrick is not merely a womanly man, but can be more properly described within the one--sex model as a falling away from the masculine ideal toward feminine defectiveness.
We might say then that in Butlerean terms, the Irish fribble lacks a crucial stabilizing performative dimension of masculinity and is thus prohibited from accessing the sort of normative British bourgeois identity that drives imperialist logic at mid century.
The gendered racializing of the Irish fribble as unnatural is further demarcated by Churchill's celebration of English female players as chaste and natural performers.