Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I dunno if Susan Sontag already said this but... This is my reasoning between Camp and Kitsch

I feel I've realized why "gay minds" like camp and "straight minds" don't get it. "Gay minds" are very aware that things are not as they appear on the surface. You become very aware of this being that you're a gay born into a straight family and therefore are forced to be something you're not, and thus have a strong understanding of the process of IMPERSONATION as you have to do it as a child simply because the people who literally made you don't realize you're something different and couldn't comprehend what its like to be you, and for their AND YOUR sake you adapt the impersonation as a state of self to keep things in order. This is the BREAK between you and your straight relatives. YOUVE HAVE MULTIPLE SELF STATES, and thus much more insight, at an early age where they might only have ONE and what is on the surface with them is what you get (roughly) where as with a gay kid you have the "you" for you AND the "you" for them. So therefore you're very in tune with this performative process and thus appreciate well crafted or sarcastic impersonation. Camp to a gay mind is WONDERFULLY CRAFTED/EXAGGERATED SIMULATION, which is why its so appreciate by gays and a source of humor. Straight people don't have this understanding of being on the outside looking in. They see it as they do everything else, they take it for face value, and therefore see it as POORLY CRAFTED REALITY. I feel like this theory could apply to gay sensibilities towards most things actually, taste choices, bodies, relationships... I think its a huge determining factor between the sexual identities. Mind you when I say "gay mind" and "straight mind" either of the sexual orientations could lean toward either of these minds sets, its not absolute by any means. I know a lot of straight people who think "gay". Kitsch I think is appreciate by both but I think straights like kitsch more because its easier to understand. Kitsch is similar to camp but without the twist, its just directly "corny" and ENDEARINGLY CHEAP and honest.


sobehotfun said...

This makes very good sense to me.

100ways said...

I read your blog for few years now and I'm always happy when you write something down. I think your texts are so smart and I always rely to them. Like this one. I don't know have you think about this before but you should write a book. Or just combine your texts from this blog and put it in a book. I would buy it.
I reading "How to be gay" by David M. Halperin right now, and I think how your texts are so more intresting and the subject is very similar.
Greetings from Croatia (sorry for my bad english ;)


Tony Eats Puppies said...

Homosupremacist notions aside, I like this formulation.

I want to push that the relationship between "the gay mind" and "camp" is more complex than it appears at first blush. To wit, gay culture has so throughouly normativized certain types of art that we traditionally think of as kitsch, that it comes out kind of boring and normative, like: (1) quoting Housewives and reality television stars all the time and never producing our own jokes; (2)the insistence at classification (tops, bottoms, fems, masc) (2)(a) a lot of times gay men are willing to take an appearance as a reality and a trend as a law. That's not kitsch. That's normativity, (3) homosupremacy, i.e. taking ourselves too seriously.

Your theory of kitsch might being forgetting the thing culture (all of them, really) is ALWAYS conveniently neglecting to notice: HOW MUCH GAY MEN AND STRAIGHT MEN HAVE IN COMMON. I.E. They are competitive and visually oriented, which is to say they are humourless about appearances, and usually can't have fun with a little ugliness. Drag queens, preppy finance types, muscle marys, fashion faggots, and hipsters can all take an appearance too seriously and therefore don't have the kind of distanced irony KITSCH needs to breathe.

This is to say that sometimes the homosexual cognitive narrative you come out with (which, I admit, I sometimes subscribe to) doesn't always produce a gay guy with a more sophisticated view of appearance/reality and irony/honesty, which - by the way - Sontag I THINK said (if less strongly).

I want to offer that maybe gay men - some gay men - grow up with a commitment to appearances as the final reality (without play, without irony) because some internalize the notion that, in order to survive, "the lie" or "the simulation" MUST BE TRUE. And that in order to survive I have to BE THE BEST and I can't BE THE BEST if ugliness is ok (making my pretty less powerful), or being poor can still be fierce (making my high paying job less valuablable).

Also, all those right of center gays who are a "federal right to same sex marriage" away from being Republicans simply don't have the same mindset - or the same relationship to irony - that gave gay men in the '60s a seemingly uniform and unique identity-based relationship to irony and kitsch.

Travis said...

yes, yes, yes, yes..I mean how else do you explain all those gay actors? I actually do think there is a gay brain, not better, just different. or perhaps "gay mental biology" as if the brain of a homosexual brain's synapse and neural pathways are formed or fires off differently then a "normal" heterosexual persons brain. I would also submit the difference would relate to the signaling for same sex preference for sexual attraction.

so aside from this, I have no desire and have little appreciation for Kitsch, but I camp on the other hand is almost how I see the world, it's right up there with oxygen and sour patch kids.