[ExI] camp statements

Michael M. Butler mmbutler at gmail.com
Sun Jun 24 10:55:21 UTC 2007

> The homosexual references to 'camp' behaviour is more modern, but this
> usage is common nowadays.

Common nowadays? Hmm. A personal report from the Left Coast, where
I've been situated for almost 20 years now...

"Camp", "camping it up" and "camping around" are all pretty much passe
in everyday gay parlance AFAIK. It's got a dated ring to it --
Fifties-Seventies, peaking between Stonewall and Lou Reed's
_Transformer_ album.. By the time of the Village People it had dropped
from view, pretty much, even in its "high"/cultural sense, with the
possible exception of discussions of the prior decades along with pop
art and such.

Nobody in the troupe of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch", for instance,
would speak of "camp" unless they were writing a history term paper.
John Waters, OTOH, probably would. :)

I think Damien's concern is a bit exaggerated, but not epicene in the least. :)

> As a side note, though camp still has close associations with the gay
> world, another sense has grown up in the past half-century or so. It
> can now mean a sophisticated and knowing type of amusement, based on
> something deliberately artistically unsophisticated or
> self-consciously exaggerated and artificial in style. It's an obvious
> enough extension of the older sense. Christopher Isherwood called it
> high camp in his novel The World in the Evening of 1954, in which he
> emphasised that "you're not making fun of it; you're making fun out of
> it". Susan Sontag famously wrote about this type in the Partisan
> Review in 1964; she said that the ultimate camp statement was "It's
> good because it's awful".

Even that usage (which did flourish and surpass the original
subcultural meaning, even in the selfsame subculture) seems pretty
much 23 Skiddoo. I'd predict that if you're under forty years old and
in the Castro the expression never passes your lips except in the
sense, and even then it's rare, being quite dated.

It reminds me of some of the stuff that's still in Hoyle that real
card players never say...

People, regardless of orientation, put the mockers on stuff without
invoking (high) camp at all.

      Michael M. Butler  :  m m b u t l e r  ( a t )  g m a i l . c o m

'Piss off, you son of a bitch. Everything above where that plane hit
 is going to collapse, and it's going to take the whole building with it.
 I'm getting my people the fuck out of here."
   -- Rick Rescorla (R.I.P.), cell phone call, 9/11/2001

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