Saturday, September 15, 2007

saturday's word: camp

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blue boy wonder, snowcrash, 2005


temporary residence for travelers or soldiers


affected + genuine appreciation of so-called ‘bad taste’--kitschy, over-the-top, banal, + corny aspects of low-, but especially middle-brow culture (e.g., opera, hollywood melodrama, science fiction, superheroes, retro design, baroque or rococo architecture, sword-+-sandal epics, disney, pro wrestling, bollywood, vintage porn, french badly spoken)

effeminate homosexual

latin campus, ‘field’
likely from french 'camper'--to pose in an over-the-top manner
perhaps from early 20th-century british slang for impetuous, uncouth person (derived from 'kemp') or perhaps slang for homosexual brothel or hangout

“the peculiar relation between camp taste + homosexuality has to be explained. while it’s not true that camp taste is homosexual taste, there is no doubt a peculiar affinity + overlap. not all liberals are jews, but jews have shown a peculiar affinity for liberal + reformist causes. so, not all homosexuals have camp taste. but homosexuals, by + large, constitute the vanguard—+ the most articulate audience—of camp. (the analogy is not frivolously chosen. jews + homosexuals are the outstanding creative minorities in contemporary urban culture. creative, that is, in the truest sense: they are creators of sensibilities. the two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are jewish moral seriousness + homosexual aestheticism + irony.)”
--susan sontag, notes on ‘camp,’ 1964

synonyms: bad taste, burlesque, flaming, high camp, low camp, mockery, parody, queer, travesty, trite, trivia, vulgarity, wit

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