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Poll results: What do you think of camp?

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  • Camp is cool! Have another brewski, dude!

    12 46.15%
  • Depending on who you're with camp can be very entertaining

    11 42.31%
  • Camp is fun for the whole family

    4 15.38%
  • I understand the idea behind camp, but still think it's dumb

    3 11.54%
  • I truly do not understand the concept of 'camp'

    0 0%
  • other (explain below)

    0 0%
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Thread: Campiness

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Campiness

    A couple of years ago some friends invited me over to watch a tape that one of them had compiled of 'great' moments from daytime tv. I declined. The same friends have at times also held marathon weekend 'film festivals' featuring lots of flicks with roman numerals in the title, slasher movies, and Dude-Where's-my-Car-type films.

    Back in college, I used to participate in these sorts of campy excursions, but lately I'm finding them to be less entertaining. I even question the legitimacy of the very concept of 'camp' now. I can't help but wonder if 'camp' (and possibly all other things 'hipster-ironic') isn't really just elaborate camouflage for poor taste..... think about it - it's FUN to watch "Plan 9 From Outer Space" or "Leonard Part 6" while you and your buddies in the dorm room chug beers and groan out loud whenever cheesy dialogue or bad special effects occur?. But ask yourself this question - would you watch this type of thing if you were alone at home? No? Why then is it more entertaining because you can groan at the movie in the presence of friends?

    EDIT: for those of you who were expecting something quite different in this thread.....Coleman makes the best equipment in general, but in the category of tents there is some room for speculation.
    Last edited by Maister; 01 May 2006 at 12:47 PM.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    I think it comes from the fact that every generation has to experience things they used to like becoming cheesy for themselves. After a while you take for granted that tastes change and that lots of entertainment is crap. But some things ARE objectively so bad that their cheesiness is entertaining.

  3. #3
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    It depends on who you are with.

    If it is a group of friends that can riff on the cheesiness of the movie and develop witty comments/interactions, then it can be very fun.

    Like Mystery Science Theater 3000, 'campy' subject matter is best used/consumed in unintended ways.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Our whole family enjoyed a viewing of "Basket Case" and "Phantasm" while staying at a mountain cabin last year. Quite fun, especially with cocktails.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Come eat wings with me and my friends on Wednesday nights (Charlie Browns in Highland Park, NJ) and you will see camp, corniness, and bad puns all wrapped up into one night. Who needs the movies with such one liners as:

    "Did you hear Hooters Air filed for bankrupcy? Yeah, it was quite a bust"

    or

    My GF doesn't like Kirby Puckett because he held a gun to his wife's head once in a mall. So anytime we talk about someone in sports who is mediocre at best we have to stick in the perverbial "at least he doesn't take a gun to his wife's head".

    also don't use the following words or they WILL be taken out of context "head, beat, meat, stroke, rack, buns, etc. etc. etc."


    Favorite Campy Movies:

    Super Troopers
    Space Balls
    Police Acadamy 1-X
    Last edited by Tide; 01 May 2006 at 11:51 AM.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian statler's avatar
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    I used to enjoy watching campy stuff when I was younger but now it seems like I have such a backlog of good art & entertainment choices I just don't have the time to waste on camp.
    Given a few hours to kill, I'd rather watch something like Good Night & Good Luck than Dude, Where's My Car 2.
    "So, if a city has a personality, maybe it also has a soul. Maybe it dreams." -Gaiman
    ArchBoston

  7. #7
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    I loved MST3K when I was little, but I have to agree with statler now. There's too much good stuff out there to waste time laughing at bad stuff.
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
    http://neighborhoods.chicago.il.us Photographs of Life in the Neighborhoods of Chicago
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  8. #8
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    I think its great you mentioned Leonard Part 6. Nobody I know has ever heard of it- yet I consistently refer to it as possibly the worst movie ever made. The kind of movie where you actually are dumber for having watched it

  9. #9

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    I thought "camp" meant another thing entirely

  10. #10
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Here's another thought, what about intentional Camp?

    Like, I've read taht the original Batman series was the first thing ever created that consciously became "camp" in the minds of the writers. They originally intended to do a "serious" series that was over-the-top to appeal to children, but then found that parents enjoyed watching it with the kids to laugh at it, so they began playing to that by making it intentionally bizzare while retaining the veneer of seriousness.
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
    http://neighborhoods.chicago.il.us Photographs of Life in the Neighborhoods of Chicago
    http://hafd.org/~jordanb/ Pretentious Weblog.

  11. #11
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I have usually understood the term 'camp' to apply to things were not intended to be deliberately bad - they just turned out that way. 'Plan 9', for instance, was intended to be a serious sci-fi thriller. However, things admittedly get a little more nebulous when we start talking about 'bad' comedies - did the directors and producers really intend them to be bad for the irony value or should the jokes be taken at face value? In the case of a spoof like 'Airplane' or 'Spaceballs' we can say with some certainty that campiness was quite intentional, other flicks may try to pass themselves off as farce after the fact, but I for one don't always buy it.

    "over the top" may be read many different ways - would the movie/play 'Hairspray' qualify as camp in your mind - maybe this should be the litmus test?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    I have usually understood the term 'camp' to apply to things were not intended to be deliberately bad -
    According to Wiki, its just the opposite

    The term camp—normally used as an adjective or a noun, even though earliest recorded uses employed it mainly as a verb— originally referred to the deliberate and sophisticated use of kitsch, mawkish or corny themes and styles in art, clothing or conversation. Today, camp has a somewhat different meaning, as the term has grown to also include unintentional camp. In fact, the term camp today is more often used to refer to unintentional camp than intentional camp.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    My dad who is a very conservative, erudite, and somewhat stuffy attorney. He has one weakness - B-science fiction movies. Particularly any movie involving unbelievably bad monsters laying waste to Japan - Godzilla, Mothra, you name it. Toss in two such monsters fighting each other and he is so there.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  14. #14
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner
    The kind of movie where you actually are dumber for having watched it
    Sort of like Deathrace 2000 starring Sylvester Stallone?

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Is it a Camp or Cult Classic?
    A Boy and His Dog (1975)
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    I don't much care for it.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Here's another thought, what about intentional Camp?

    Like, I've read taht the original Batman series was the first thing ever created that consciously became "camp" in the minds of the writers. They originally intended to do a "serious" series that was over-the-top to appeal to children, but then found that parents enjoyed watching it with the kids to laugh at it, so they began playing to that by making it intentionally bizzare while retaining the veneer of seriousness.
    YES! Batman is quintessential intentional camp.
    Star Trek is more unintentional than intentional, I'd say.
    Soylent Green - how campy is Charlton Heston waltzing around with his little handkerchief on? Seriously Camp. This future is already so much worse in some ways.
    James Bond flicks up to the early 80's are camp now - Particularly Roger Moore era.
    The TV sitcom CHIPS qualifies.
    As does Knight Rider, and A-Team with its comedic take on violence.
    The list goes on......
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

  18. #18
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Intentional camp: Emporer Palpatine's portrayal of EXCESSIVE EVIL ("Young Jedi, it is you who are mistaken about a....great....many....things.")
    Star Trek Next Gen - the 'trouble with tribbles 'remake'. All episodes involving Q
    South Park, Simpsons, Family Guy - yep everything to do with 'em.

    Unintentional camp: James Bond (everything up to and including Roger Moore). I do not believe that posterity will look upon post-Dalton Bond in the same way that the earlier episodes are now.
    Battlefield Earth. 'Nuff said.
    Speed Racer
    Star Trek Next Gen - any episode involving Wesley Crusher devising the Solution to the Problem That Plagues the Enterprise
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  19. #19
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Is there a substantive difference between 'camp' and 'parody'?

    Once we make the distinction (if any), then that will help.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dobopoq
    Soylent Green - how campy is Charlton Heston waltzing around with his little handkerchief on?
    You just solved a lifelong mystery for me! Now if I could only remember that name of the movie where the big green bug is smashed on the face of a caveman.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    For there to be camp there needs to be lots of kitsch and overacting. 'don't think the Simpsons even comes close to qualifying.
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
    http://neighborhoods.chicago.il.us Photographs of Life in the Neighborhoods of Chicago
    http://hafd.org/~jordanb/ Pretentious Weblog.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dobopoq
    The TV sitcom CHIPS qualifies.
    HEY! We don't talk about CHiPs like that around here.
    @GigCityPlanner

  23. #23
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    camp is having a dinner party and having your friend showing up with a plate of twinkies and ding-dongs, carefully arranged on a silver tray -

    or maybe that's just odd?

    LOL at myself -

    i guess there's a difference between camp, kitch, and slumming?

    or they are all similar enough

  24. #24
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian
    i guess there's a difference between camp, kitch, and
    Camp is a more generalized form of Kitsch, which is specifically art. Puppy figurines are kitsch, someone who decorates their entire house with puppy figurines is camp.

    slumming?
    Slumming is the opposite. Kitsch exists because people grasp at symbols of higher class without understanding those symbols, and thus substitute symbols with no meaning except cheap sentimentality. "Slumming" typically means temporarly living below your class (and is often a very derogatory term to use, btw).
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
    http://neighborhoods.chicago.il.us Photographs of Life in the Neighborhoods of Chicago
    http://hafd.org/~jordanb/ Pretentious Weblog.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    For there to be camp there needs to be lots of kitsch and overacting. 'don't think the Simpsons even comes close to qualifying.
    I agree. Even older episodes of the Simpsons are still perceived in much the same way as they were originally intended.

    Scooby Doo probably qualifies as a cartoon that is camp.
    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    Is there a substantive difference between 'camp' and 'parody'?

    Once we make the distinction (if any), then that will help.
    I guess the difference would be that parody is a form of satire. Satire can poke fun at something in a positive or negative way. It lampoons or criticizes. In a less serious sense if can just simply show the folly of something whether in a meanspirited way or not, often with use of irony.

    Something that is satirical can be camp. But satire is not really what makes something campy.
    Camp is when a past product of pop culture is seen in a very different light than the one in which it was initially or originally intended. Elvis was borderline obscene in situ. Today he's camp as his hip swinging is mere child's play by today's standards.

    One more: The Beasty Boys video for "Sabotage" where they dress up like the Watergate burglers is great intentional camp.
    Last edited by dobopoq; 01 May 2006 at 5:34 PM.
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

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