How is The Importance of Being Earnest (movie 1986) an example of “camp,” by Susan Sontag’s description? Or, thought another way: discuss what in particular interests you about the play, and how those moments/aspects of the play can be thought of as “camp.”( you have to answer this) Sontag’s “notes” are attached NOTES ON CAMP By Susan Sontag “It’s absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.” –Oscar Wilde 25. The hallmark of Camp is the spirit of extravagance. 54. The experiences of Camp are based on the great discovery that the sensibility of high culture has no monopoly upon refinement. Camp asserts that good taste is not simply good taste; that there exists, indeed, a good taste of bad taste. The discovery of the good taste of bad taste can be very liberating. The man who insists on high and serious pleasures is depriving himself of pleasure; he continually restricts what he can enjoy; in the constant exercise of his good taste he will eventually price himself out of the market, so to speak. Here Camp taste supervenes upon good taste as a daring and witty hedonism. It makes the man of good taste cheerful, where before he ran the risk of being chronically frustrated. It is good for the digestion. 7. All Camp objects, and persons, contain a large element of artifice. 8. Camp is a vision of the world in terms of style — but a particular kind of style. It is the love of the exaggerated, the “off,” of things-being-what-they-are-not. 9. As a taste in persons, Camp responds particularly to the markedly attenuated and to the strongly exaggerated. 23. In naīve, or pure, Camp, the essential element is seriousness, a seriousness that fails. Of course, not all seriousness that fails can be redeemed as Camp. Only that which has the proper mixture of the exaggerated, the fantastic, the passionate, and the naīve. Camp: the sensibility of failed seriousness, of the theatricalization of experience. Camp refuses both the harmonies of traditional seriousness, and the risks of fully identifying with extreme states of feeling. 56. Camp taste is a kind of love, love for human nature. It relishes, rather than judges, the little triumphs and awkward intensities of “character.”
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