A fugue on camp
Modernism - Modernity
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If perversion is the last word in certainty, then camp has the last word in uncertainty.
Camp agrees with Edith Sitwell insofar as “good taste is one of the worst vices ever invented.”59 When Melissa Bradshaw tells us that “out damned spot” is instead “an issue of make-up, or a wardrobe malfunction,” we discover that camp is a form of critique, not a policing of taste.60 Edith Sitwell as Lady Macbeth is not camp; she simply casts a klieg light on the campiness of Macbeth itself.
Camp also agrees with Diana Vreeland insofar as “we all need a splash of bad taste—it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. ‘No taste’ is what I’m against.”61
Camp is a histrionic Heisenberg delighting in realism’s decay.
Camp is an ontology of appearances.
Contrary to popular belief, camp is not hysterical, but hilarious.
If the hysteric’s question is “Am I a man or am I a woman?,” then camp’s question is “Why must I be a man or a woman?”62
Camp is not a hysteric, but an analyst; it is only hysterical in the same way the analyst renders her patient so in the name of truth.
Camp is a midwife in the birth of melodrama. [End Page 28]
Citation of this paper:
Pero, Allan. "A Fugue on Camp." Modernism/modernity, vol. 23 no. 1, 2016, p. 28-36. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/mod.2016.0006.