Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Friday, April 23, 2010

Stoats on Camp

As an introduction to the concept of camp, I wonder if you could do better than a somewhat-recent New Yorker piece on a Yale recruitment video. Here's the passage that got me thinking:

Reaction to the video on the Broadway circuit has ranged from "giddy delight to mortification," [Doug] Wright [class of '85] said, noting that "tonally, it was a little unclear whether it wanted to be true camp or if it had a dollop of sincerity."

This opposition rings false to me, because sincerity is not inconsistent with camp (though for what it's worth, the Yalies claim to have been aiming for a campy effect).

But then the New Yorker piece itself descends (ascends?) into what seems like camp to me. Lewis Lapham '56 (a former Harper's editor) faults the video "not for its failed attempt at Sontagian camp," but for its elitism:

"I’m surprised they didn’t dress the girls as shepherdesses. In the ancien régime, this is the kind of thing that would have prompted the French Revolution. Are we supposed to send this to struggling youths in Asia and Africa?"

And I love this quote from Dick Cavett:

"I wonder if it really was made in America, because there are no fatties."


2 Comments:

Blogger Sarang said...

does sontagian rhyme with contagion?

2:10 PM  
Blogger James said...

It does now.

9:53 PM  

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