[ExI] camp statements

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sun Jun 24 12:03:37 UTC 2007

On 6/24/07, Michael M. Butler wrote:
> 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. :)
> 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
> latter sense, and even then it's rare, being quite dated.

I think you might now be getting into the area of current slang
language. This can change very quickly and can be very local to
certain cultures.

Etymological dictionaries concentrate on the history and origin of language.

Formal dictionaries, by their nature, reference the written usage of
language and must be many years behind the moving target of today's
urban newspeak.

Slang dictionaries try to keep more up-to-date, but they have the
problem that San Francisco slang is quite different to New York slang,
which in turn is different from London slang, so they tend to be more

For example, UK slang can be very creative:

camp:  	 Adj. An effeminate style and mannerism affected mainly by
'gays', however anyone can 'camp it up.'

camp as a row of pink tents  	Phrs. Very 'camp' (see above), or gay.
E.g. "He was as camp as a row of pink tents and wouldn't have been out
of place in a Mr Gay UK competition."

camp it up  	 Verb. To overact in an affected manner. E.g."If you want
to see people camping it up, walk down Canal Street in the Gay Village
in Manchester on a Saturday night."

Australian slang doesn't seem to use the word 'camp', but they
probably have extremely colourful alternatives.  :)

The gaming industry has a new usage also:
In Multiplayer games, the act of remaining in one spot (usually
secluded) with a sniper rifle or other weapon waiting for enemy
players to emerge as easy targets. Generally looked upon as a "cheap"
method of gaining kills.

But we are now straying far from the original comment, which was that
'camp' was probably the wrong word to use. I agree that it causes
unnecessary confusions when excellent alternatives are available.


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