“Camp is extravagant play for serious ends” —Karl Keller / “Camp is a great jewel, 22 carats”—Kenneth Williams / “Camp is pink flamingos”—Philip Core
“Camp is a mode of perception”—Fabio Cleto / “Camp can be taken on two completely separate levels, and make perfect sense on each”—Evelyn Satz / “Camp’s favourite colour is pink”—Mark Booth
Bring in the Clowns
Let us not pretend that an inconvenient truth isn’t the elephant in the room. Take the traveling circuses that tour rural communities. When all the small, family-owned farms are gobbled up by international harvesters, and boys and girls, children of all ages, cease to be amazed, who, then, will bring in the clowns?
“Irony is the subject matter of camp”—Jack Babuscio / “Camp is a playfulness with epiphanal states that are half-serious because therapeutically high and half-comical because deliberately overblown”—Karl Keller / “Camp is by its very nature, political, subversive and even revolutionary”—Bruce LaBruce
The part of a horse in a bedroom scene in “The Godfather” can’t be refused. In “The Odyssey,” a Greek troop carrier, contrived of wood, is gratefully received by Trojans, who never look a gift horse in the mouth. The Marx Brothers send-up college football higher than the Goodyear Blimp, in “Horse Feathers.” Remember these, and the intelligent, rational Houyhnhnms in “Gulliver’s Travels,” or be gulled by reality TV.
“Camp is a lie that tells the truth”—Philip Core / “Camp is concerned with what might be called a philosophy of transformations and incongruity”—Esther Newton / “Camp introduces a new standard: artifice as an ideal, theatricality”—Susan Sontag
Life Imitates Art
The playfulness of youth is not wasted on the young whose playthings also get big, and vice versa. As much as art imitates life, the converse too may be true.
“Camp is one way of seeing the world as an aesthetic phenomenon”—Susan Sontag / “Camp . . . is very serious-serious about maintaining the freedom to play, which is a way of saying the freedom to live”—J. Bryan Lowder / “Camp is a second childhood”—Philip Core
To Quote “the Met”
The eighteen quotes in this post come from a Metropolitan Museum of Art webpage of quotes on camp. The quotes were orated at “the Met‘s” 2019 exhibition on camp fashion. About 100 quotes festoon “the Met‘s” page. The eighteen on this page express the highest principles of a genre worthy of “the Met,” and redeem camp from the barrage of quotes on “the Met’s” page that make it seem less dignified than the highly evolved primates who orated the quotes at “the Met.”
“Camp sees everything in quotation marks”—Susan Sontag / “Camp is tongue-in-cheek”—Sasha Torres / “Camp is happiness”—Christopher Isherwood