Analysis Of Susan Sontag's 'Notes On Camp'

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The 1960’s was truly an age of reform and revolution that set the stage for Susan Sontag 's, “Notes on ‘Camp,’” published in 1964. The decade saw the emergence of large scale political campaigns aiming to increase opportunities for all people, such as the Civil Rights movement. Some reformers demanded social change and denounced capitalism in order to create a counterculture encouraging self-exploration and fulfillment, often involving sex positivity, drug use and communal living. To counter some of these liberal movements the modern conservative movement was born with the ideals later reflected in the Reagan era. Additionally, 1960’s America saw a the development of several new forms of art such as Op art (or Optical art), Pop art, Performance…show more content…
For example, after notes 34-44 on class, Sontag uses the quote, “I adore simple pleasures, they are the last refuge of the complex -A Woman of No Importance.” This quote captures the essence of the previous points that camp sensibility dethrones the seriousness of high culture and provides a new standard that even those of “no importance” can appreciate. These summative quotes serve as transitions between each aspect of camp that Sontag analyzes. The use of these structures is critical in separating each distinct element of camp while maintaining a coherent literary…show more content…
In note 20 Sontag points to Trouble in Paradise and the Maltese Falcon as the greatest examples of camp movies. Both of these movies held a great cultural significance and recognizability as movies to come out of “New Hollywood.” Camp was showing up in popular cultural and Sontag takes advantage of this by using popular art pieces and movies to help the reader understand camp, to show it 's universality, and as a tool to destigmatize camp. Camp sensibility at the time was often conflated with homosexual taste. By using popular culture and relatable evidence, Sontag contradicts that stereotype without breaking her neutral tone. Sontag addresses the most fundamental relationship between camp and 1960’s society, it 's association with homosexuality, in her final points. This is logical because as her points progress the reader gains a greater understanding of camp and therefore can more wholly understand Sontag 's argument that while homosexual aestheticism is a pioneering force of camp, camp taste is in essence a kind of love. This argument made at a time of such great social reform represents a piece of social activism which is true to the character of Sontag
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