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Don Zomberg
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Posted: 26 August 2018 at 2:51pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

That's how a recent JEOPARDY! clue described the original PLANET OF THE APES.





Edited by Don Zomberg on 26 August 2018 at 2:54pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 August 2018 at 3:03pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

"Camp" seems to have become a word to describe anything the "reviewers" don't full understand!
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 26 August 2018 at 4:09pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Maybe they meant "cult classic?"

Although, APES was a big enough hit to spawn a slew of sequels and remakes.

I've heard SCRUBS described as a "cult" comedy...but it ran on network TV for 9 seasons.

Maybe sometimes people just use words that don't mean what they think they do.


Edited by Brian Rhodes on 26 August 2018 at 4:26pm
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 26 August 2018 at 4:14pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I wouldn't even call it a "cult classic". Just CLASSIC.

I think they may have millennials writing the clues.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 26 August 2018 at 4:35pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Don, a sign of the apocalypse for sure, right? 
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 26 August 2018 at 6:54pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

 Doug Centers wrote:
...
I wouldn't even call it a "cult classic". Just CLASSIC....

Exactly. The film was a mainstream success, and was revolutionary in its use of makeup. It was not a "cult" film, or "camp."

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 26 August 2018 at 8:37pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

The dumbening continues. Oy.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 26 August 2018 at 8:53pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I think they may have millennials writing the clues.

----

Unfortunately, the condescension isn't anything new.


Friday, July 20, 2001:


 QUOTE:
Now, I've always had a two-track appreciation of the original. On one hand, it's great science fiction, explicating both nuclear war and racial tensions in the sweeping cinematic language of the starry-eyed late '60s. On the other hand, it's a camp classic the most respectable (and respectably acted) of the socially-conscious Heston trilogy filled out by "Soylent Green" and "Omega Man," but still a Heston flick, and thus inherently hilarious. (It's a madhouse! A MAAAADHOUSE!!!)
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 27 August 2018 at 10:41am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Ah. So, they probably meant "camp" to suggest the movie was unintentionallly silly, which means they fail to fully grasp both the concept and the film. 


Edited by Brian Rhodes on 27 August 2018 at 10:42am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 27 August 2018 at 10:52am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Almost certainly. My NEW VISIONS story "The Traveler" was declared "camp" by one "reviewer". I had to guess it was the featured word on his Word-a-Day calendar.
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Don Zomberg
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Posted: 28 August 2018 at 5:16am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

The clue was most likely written by someone who prefers the more "sophisticated" new films. Either way, with a bit of poor wording, they relegated one the best science fiction films of all time to a category reserved for the likes of BARBARELLA and FLASH GORDON (the "camp" part anyway, not the "classic").
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 28 August 2018 at 6:24am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

When I was growing up, guys would use the word "gay" to describe something lame and weak. A boy who wouldn't want to do something dangerous, risky, violent, would be called out as "gay." "Ronnie doesn't want to get into a rock-fight because if you hit him once he'll scream and cry and carry on and go running off to his mom -- he's so gay!" That kind of usage.

I think that, in some way, "camp" today is a substitute for "gay." The term "camp" can describe something not just artlessly over-stylized, self-consciously artificial and extravagant, but also often in an objectionably effeminate, (anti-)homosexual manner. It's hardly difficult to Google the original Star Trek and come up with a constant stream of references to its being campy, even if not, these reviewers (from publications like The New Yorker, Salon, Vox, etc.) note, intentionally, as the contemporary Batman TV show. 

I do not think it coincidental that those intent on finding or amplifying camp are often the same who look for supposed subversive gay elements where none were intended, e.g., pederasty in Batman or a Kirk/Spock "slash" romance. Some even praise works for their (not so) hidden gay themes.

But I find it especially disconcerting that labeling something you want to mock as "campy" is another way of pointing out this same something "sucked" in that way -- yes, with the (anti-)homosexual origin of "sucked" also being suddenly revitalized.




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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 28 August 2018 at 7:42am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Michael P. - purely to set the time context, when I was growing up, gay was used either to describe a type of flower, or a somewhat archaic adjective to describe something that was bright, fun, and happy. Would that those days were back... just so that the word could be used in any context to imply NO anguish, suffering, or persecution for anyone. 'Cept them damned flowers...

When I think of "camp", I think of a work that has a loose, light, and somewhat funny tone. It doesn't have to be a mockery... just a piece that isn't taken as serious as it might be. For instance...

The Monkees - a great TV series about four guys living in a house and trying to be a successful music group. But it was fun, funny, and there were never any dire consequences. (In the past decade plus, we've seen a lot of shows about music groups trying to succeed that are deadly serious.)

Gilligan's Island - I'm not a boating expert, but a ship like the Minnow should have been able to be tracked, and to call for help - at least, if it were stocked and equipped according to legal standards. And if one of the richest couples in America went missing, the search for them would be pretty intense - more than they described on the show. And that was obvious - G.I. was just for fun.

Get Smart - an obvious attempt at a camp treatment of the spy craze in the U.S. at the time. There were a lot of shows of such nature; one attempt that couldn't make up its mind, as I recall, was "Man from U.N.C.L.E." and its distaff spin-off. Season 1 was kinda serious; season 2 was kinda campy; and season 3 was some of each.

Maybe the best differentiation between camp and non-camp came from the same studio. Batman has long been referred to as camp, and while it wasn't a comedy, there were light moments and even an occasional slightly funny element... the Bat-Tusi, or the hive of Deadly African Honeybees, or everyone's favorite - Bat-Shark repellent. Compare this to The Green Hornet, which had a lot of similar plots and elements - but absolutely serious. No sign of camp in any direction, but I loved that show. Realistically, it was almost as good as Batman - it only lasted one season less.

Referring to Planet of the Apes as camp might be the way one or two modern reviewers see the film... but as far as I'm concerned, it would be hard for them to be farther off the mark.
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 28 August 2018 at 8:08am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

I'm in my 50s, Eric, so I certainly recall never blinking an eye at the Flintstones having "a gay old time." But even back then "gay" in the street-parlance of boys had other connotations. The problem with the usage of "camp" today is, like JB noted, applying it in a way that betrays a lack of understanding the object of critique. I would add that these so-called reviewers don't seem to grasp what the word "camp" itself means.
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Ed Aycock
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Posted: 30 August 2018 at 10:23am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

As Susan Sontag says in her 1964 essay, "Notes on Camp," :

"The whole point of Camp is to dethrone the serious. Camp is playful, anti-serious. More precisely, Camp involves a new, more complex relation to "the serious." One can be serious about the frivolous, frivolous about the serious."

It does not apply here.  "POTA" isn't even the more naive "pure Camp" which doesn't know it's Camp but thinks it's a higher form of art.  That's reserved for the film from the previous year, "Valley of the Dolls."
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