camp climax

Valley of the Dolls

Camp - essentially, something that is so bad, that it's good. A cultural critic Susan Sontag defined camp aesthetics in her famous essay collection Against Interpretation in the 60's.

Camp Art was the art of the time. It was city art. Sontag called it "a private code among urban cliques". It was "Kitsch". Harold Rosenburg described Kitsch as "the daily art of our time ... all those cheap, cute, sentimental artifacts found everywhere in Western industrial societies... an inevitable consequence of the industrial revolution, a mass-produced art for a middle class philistine in their tastes because they lack formal education and have lost contact with traditional folk culture."

There are definitions of both "high camp" and "low camp" -- "good good", "good bad", "bad good" and "bad bad" were the categories under which any cultural product could be placed. Though the concept of camp can be applied to any product of popular culture (or lifestyle, as in gay culture), here it is used synonymous to what is usually called "trash".

more on camp @ Jahsonic

  • Valley of the Dolls
  • Underground Cinema: The 1960's
  • Essay on Camp