Through the 58 notes on camp written by Susan Sostang I have taken away that the meaning of camp, is looking at something through a new perspective, a way to show a new side to things. Camp is a breakaway from the social norms. It can be controversial in the sense that it brings up differing views or ideas from what is known and expected throughout society. This is seen many times in Angels in America. Angels in America takes place during a time of the AIDS crisis, where the LGBTQ community was being vastly discriminated. Camp is seen specifically in the scene of the funeral of the drag queen. During this scene, there is a clear difference between those who were in the “chosen” family, vs. blood related family. The members of LGBTQ, his “chosen” family were seen dancing and singing and rejoicing his life. This scene has many characteristics of camp. Instead of mourning during the funeral and wearing all black to the funeral, they were dressed in bright colors, singing and dancing. This is very different to what is known as a society norm. This over the top way of expressing their grief is very campy. The drag queens real family is confused and looking at the other people as if they are crazy. The actions may represent the different ways they cope with death. This scene depicts the separation of the LGBTQ throughout society. It is representing that the style of camp has separated them from society norms. To me, the LGBTQ community was dealing with so many deaths because of the AIDS crisis, that this way of mourning was their only choice. It already is a very depressing time, but in order to stay positive in some way they choose this campy way by having over the top, exaggerated ways at the funeral.
5 thoughts on “Camp”
I agree with your ideas of camp and how they are represented throughout the play, Angels in America. I too was interested in the funeral scene because it went against everything that we understand as “appropriate” behavior at funerals. I think Kushner’s use of camp is important in this play because it changes the dominant narratives that are so prevalent within society, especially about AIDS during this time period.
I think that you made a really interesting connection between camp and that scene in “Angels in America.” I like that you pointed out the different ways of coping between the members of the LGBTQ community and the blood relatives of the deceased. I wonder though if you could push even further beyond the literal. The camp of this moment definitely does highlight these differences, especially how the LGTBQ community members were breaking societal expectations. However, I wonder if there is even more that the use of camp was meant to highlight? I think you started to touch upon it right at the end when you talked about how this might be their only way of coping with the AIDs crisis, however, I would be interested in hearing you push further into that thought.
When I read the funeral scene, I had a picture in my head of a more somber, peaceful moment. However, when we watched the video in class, it was exactly as you described it- Campy. Then, in considering the text while seeing the video, I suppose I realized just how Campy the scene truly is. Additionally, I didn’t quite make the connection of the scene to the separation of the LGBTQQIA+ community from the “rest” of society and consider that they coped in this method because remaining positive was quite literally the only way they could survive or enjoy their time. Your analysis of the text and placing it in conversation truly made me consider just how much the AIDS crisis affected the way LGBTQQIA+ were seen by society as well as how important Camp culture was historically to an entirely community of people who are silenced. 🙂
I completely agree with this analysis of camp and its relation to “Angels in America”. One grieves with death in many ways, and it is apparent that the “chosen family” has directly drawn on campiness to express their grief. In this extremely bizarre scene, social norms are thrown by the wayside (typical ways in which grief is expressed at a funeral), and this new type is embraced and used to celebrate one’s life. In my blog post, I write about the necessity of camp to get through the tragic nature”Angels in America” – this scene certainly is an example of this notion.
I would say that camp is a way to treat a serious thing in an unserious or funny way while still maintaining the seriousness of the message its trying to give off. Angels in America is an example of camp because while it’s message about the AIDS crisis is serious, the characters who are affected often engage in irony or humorous asides.
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