CHAT: Camp (was: Re: Shelta, Polari...)
|From:||J Matthew Pearson <pearson@...>|
|Date:||Monday, July 17, 2000, 7:02|
Roger Mills wrote:
> >"camp" is pretty universal here on the East Coast (due, no doubt, to
> >Baltimore's favorite son John Waters),>
> Actually I think "camp" entered (at least) the academic lexicon with Susan
> Sontag's "Notes on Camp", sometime in the 60s. Have to confess I've not
> read it; but I recall it was pooh-poohed when it appeared. There were a
> host of "underground" films in the early 60s, some them quite interesting,
> while others were pure camp and occasionally hilarious. "Flaming Creatures"
> for one (I wonder if a print still survives; it got seized by Lily Law a
> lot), and almost anything by Warhol. SNL did a wicked sketch (early 80s?),
> a send up of "Deliverance", with Burt Reynolds guesting as an undercover cop
> sent to investigate "camping" in the Georgia woods.
> That may have introduced the word to a wider audience more than Ms. Sontag.
> The problem with camp is, it's hard to define, but you know it when you see
Paul Roen (author of "High Camp") defines camp as "any brazen triumph of
theatrical artifice over dramatic substance"--whether intentional and ironic, or
unintentional and just plain bad/funny. The association of camp with gays
derives no doubt from its reliance on 'deviant' sexuality (aggressive women,
aestheticised and eroticised men, kinkiness, etc.), as well as on a thorough
knowledge of melodramatic conventions, a strong sense of taste (good, bad, or
otherwise), and a lively appreciation for in-jokes--elements which form an
integral part of many (though not all) gay subcultures.