“Batman, Deviance and Camp” by Andy Medhurst
The camp is a cultural and aesthetic phenomenon that deals with sophisticated taste and specially cultivated sensitivity and theatricality. Describing camp in the example of Batman 1960 movie, Medhurst notes that camp is a manner of depicting serious things in a comic and often ridiculous way, for the author camp is a “playful, knowing, self-reflective theatricality” (n.d., p. 155).
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Looking at the modern representatives of camp style, one will pay attention to the figure of Korean pop singer Psy. He does not represent the gay community or places some blatant homosexual motives in his songs, but his compositions, style, and performance is a striking example of the modern camp of the digital era. He is most famous for his single “Gangnam Style” the video of which became the most viewed in the whole history of YouTube.
The sense of the song is quite typical – it is about some fancy girl who is always joyful and open to new relations. But this sense is given in a highly grotesque and artificial manner. We see people in bright flashy clothes dancing some funny almost to stupidly move. Psy as the main hero is excessively theatrical and sometimes vulgar. In Medhurst’s words, Psy is entirely “serious about frivolous” (n.d., p. 157). Psy, thus, establishes a modernized type of a camp hero, a “pop dandy” (Nika, 2012, para.2).
“From Smart Fan to Backyard Wrestler” by Lawrence McBride and Elizabeth Bird
It is a well-known fact that professional wrestling is an elaborately organized kind of performance that deals with the satisfaction of the public’s desire to experience an extreme show. Despite allowing the professional wrestlers to express themselves, receive and transmit to the public huge portions of adrenaline, professional wrestling remains more a sophisticated kind of entertainment than professional sport. Backyard wrestling is often seen as the one dealing more with the essence of the fight and the concept of pain and not the performance. However, McBride and Bird try to prove that it follows some rules of entertainment.
As well as their professional colleagues, backyard wrestlers devote significant efforts to “fantastic character development and storylines” (McBride & Bird, n.d., p. 172). Those characters are just slightly less superhuman and pompous; everyone can become one of them. Moreover, Smart fans and backyard wrestlers have some kind of a code of good practice – they do prefer more hardcore fights but at the same time, they are against artless “garbage” wrestling (McBride & Bird, n.d., p. 172). Thus, they care about the backyard audience’s impression, and they want to be spectacular (McBride & Bird, n.d., p. 174). Such peculiarities make backyard wrestling a special kind of entertainment where controlled pain is the primary effect the wrestlers want to achieve.
Pop Culture Freaks Identity, Mass Media, and Society by Dustin Kidd
In his “Methodology Moment,” Kidd notes that “interviews provide an exciting way to probe deeply into the process by which audiences of consumer culture make meaning out of that culture, then act on that meaning in the social world” (Kidd, 2014, p. 159). A good interview question should search for previously unknown information. It should leave as much place for an opinion of the respondent as possible; otherwise, it is better to use some mass-audience polls (Kidd, 2014). To get a clear picture of a problem one needs to invite an equal amount of representatives of both traditional and non-traditional sexual beliefs (Kidd, 2014).
Among the most interesting questions, concerning sexual identity and its media representation is the issue of transgender people. It would be worth to find out the overall perception of the transgender characters in television programs and featured films. The question should be posed to both representatives of the LGBT community and ordinary people. The research question may sound like that: Do transgender characters receive the same level of attention in feature films as traditional characters and are they treated with the same significance and respect? This question will help to find out whether the respondents consider transgender characters equal participants in the process of the depiction of the life of society and whether they are given equal rights to film and TV coverage.
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Kidd, D. (2014). Pop Culture freaks: Identity, mass media, and society. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
McBride, L., & Bird, E. From Smart fan to backyard wrestler. Web.
Medhurst, E. n.d. Batman, deviance and camp. Web.
Nika, C. (2012). Exploring Psy’s digital dandy appeal in “Gangnam Style”. Web.