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Thread: Do you think figure skating is a campy sport?

  1. #61
    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plushyfan View Post
    In this forum I read a lot of strange and false things on Plushy but , this is the most ridiculous. Some people say he isn't an artistry skater, after you say, he is a campy skater..I have never seen inartistic gay skater. OMG! For me he is one of the most masculine skater today. Can you tell me wich programs were campy? The Godfather? Tango de Roxanne in last year??, Or I don't know what is the campy? What does that mean? campy=poofy? or is there another meaning?
    Urgh, did you not read the rest of my post? One of my belabored points is that camp has long since ceased to be tied to gay culture. And camp doesn't always imply gender performance. Although Plushenko certainly has played around with gender with his 2004 exhibition, or of course, the infamous Sex Bomb.

    Camp is that which is theatrical, over the top, full of performance and artifice. Plushenko's Godfather program certainly was camp, unless you take him to be an actual mafioso threatening the judges.

    Camp is not synonymous with artistry, although they are related. Camp is being theatrical and over the top. Great artistry is forethought and inspiration in constructing a narrative, and then having the ability to impress it fully on an audience. In figure skating, you can be quite campy without being artistic. Nowadays, Misha Ge stands out as the epitome of that to me. Plushenko, in comparison, is a much more substantial artist despite being similarly camp. Plushenko has far more confidence, skill and variety in his ability to make people feel. On the flip side, you can have a very artistic performance that isn't that campy. Michelle Kwan's Lyra Angelica would be a good example of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by skateluvr View Post
    biggest "campers" rudy, weir now reynolds.
    More than a few posters have now cited Kevin Reynolds as an example of camp now. This is so ludicrous to me I almost think there must be another Reynolds skating about. If it is Kevin you guys are talking about, how is he camp? He barely performs when he skates. There's very little emoting, stylizing, mimicry, theatricality or anything that stands out as camp to any part of his skating. He's only campy in that figure skating is inherently campy. There's nothing campy about him relative to other skaters in the sport.

    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    But think about what non-ballet fans think about ballet, especially guys dancing ballet. They think it's way over the top. And is that the true essence of ballet? Of course not. It's not the casual fan or the non-fan who gets to describe skating. It's the fans like us who look forward to watching Bartek's YouTube videos of every triple-triple Mao or Shizuka ever did, or who sigh over Kurt or Yagudin or Plushy. I'm sure there's some campy stuff in skating. But that's not all of it by any means. I'm not upset at the discussion. I just don't agree.
    But even classical ballet has a lot of intentional camp to it. Many of those pieces tell stories with more than a few twists, which the production must convey without the use of dialog or narration to the people in the last row. The body lines are going to be crisp and clear. The music is going to hammer every emotional bit home. The audience is never going to wonder, "is she supposed to be a swan?" 'cause by god, she's going to be stuffed with feathers. And that's what camp is. It's production design, the costumes, the sets, the musical motifs, the repeated motions that helps the audience escape into an different and impossible world. At the end of the night, no matter how good a ballet company is, the audience isn't going to think that the dancers really were hunters, princesses and rebellious gladiators who lived, loved and died within a few hours. The campiness, when done right and done with good artistry, lets a willing audience participate in a temporary fantasy.

    And this is also very applicable to figure skating. There are, no doubt, skating fans who would just as soon no skater ever skate a piece where they pretend to be a character of any kind or tell any kind of story. But I wager most of us would object. And most of us wouldn't demand that the skaters be truly, completely authentic to whatever they're portraying. We don't need Alexei Yagudin to be an actual gladiator. We don't need Torville and Dean to be a bullfighter and his cape. We don't need Virtue and Moir to be actually in love (though some wish it so). We know they're putting on a show. And we know they're putting on a show while doing incredibly difficult and precise athletic feats. That's the camp in skating. Without the camp, figure skating would just be exercising.

  2. #62
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    I think the people who cite Kevin Reynolds as an example of "camp" are referring to his hair, as it is by far the most stylized and theatrical thing about him.

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    Agreed that camp is NOT the same as gay culture and hasn't been for quite a while. The tv series of Batman may be one of the campiest things ever produced. As is, yes, synchronized swimming (not to mention Esther Williams movies).

    The specific Voir Carmen program is not in and of itself campy, but the idea of Carmen on ice definitely is.

    I have to agree with Serious Business that I don't see anything camp in Kevin Reynolds' skating at all.

    And I totally agree with Sather's post: camp is always affectionate, much in the same way that kitsch is. It is a very different attitude than satire. Satire is always, on some level or another, critical. Camp is not.

    But camp, of course, has the same problems of definition as pornography. At what point does the erotic become pornographic? At what point does an extravagant theatricality become camp? 'Tis a quandary...

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serious Business View Post
    Urgh, did you not read the rest of my post? One of my belabored points is that camp has long since ceased to be tied to gay culture. And camp doesn't always imply gender performance. Although Plushenko certainly has played around with gender with his 2004 exhibition, or of course, the infamous Sex Bomb.

    Camp is that which is theatrical, over the top, full of performance and artifice. Plushenko's Godfather program certainly was camp, unless you take him to be an actual mafioso threatening the judges.

    Camp is not synonymous with artistry, although they are related. Camp is being theatrical and over the top. Great artistry is forethought and inspiration in constructing a narrative, and then having the ability to impress it fully on an audience. In figure skating, you can be quite campy without being artistic. Nowadays, Misha Ge stands out as the epitome of that to me. Plushenko, in comparison, is a much more substantial artist despite being similarly camp. Plushenko has far more confidence, skill and variety in his ability to make people feel. On the flip side, you can have a very artistic performance that isn't that campy. Michelle Kwan's Lyra Angelica would be a good example of that.
    Do not be rude, please .. as I wrote I didn't know what is camp or campy. I watched every videos, I read the articles, and the comments, so I just started to understand it. Probably I should live in US.

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    One comment that I thought might be useful: camp is by no means necessarily a bad thing, an aesthetic Mark of Cain (or, maybe more appropriately, a Scarlet Letter).

    It is not, at least in my view, a judgment about quality or rigor.

    What it is, if it is anything, is an attitude with regard to the subject matter, oneself, and the audience. It is marked by a seeming casual indifference to any seriousness of theme, but at the same time by an almost autistic seriousness about the style.

    It is a kind of playfulness that is in deadly earnest, and it invites the audience to play along.

  6. #66
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    OMG how could I forget synchronized swimming....duh...definitely another favorite of mine...oh and a couple of my favorite programs in the past few years were SS's pink panther routine and Yuna's bond program...I'll never forget her blowing the smoke off her pistol...u go Yuna!

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    Of course skating is campy. So is tennis, speed walking, basketball, baseball, football, etc. the campiness is not necessarily the result of attire or music. It could just be a reflection of jnternal culture.Major pro sports a plenty campy, even at college level. The point is, who cares in the end? Love your sport(s) because youenjoy them. Don't worry about the rest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcoates View Post
    The point is, who cares in the end? Love your sport(s) because youenjoy them. Don't worry about the rest.
    Amen!

  9. #69
    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WeakAnkles View Post
    But camp, of course, has the same problems of definition as pornography. At what point does the erotic become pornographic? At what point does an extravagant theatricality become camp? 'Tis a quandary...
    I think, if there's any theatricality involved, at that point the argument is really the degree of camp.

    And I do think that figure skating, unless it morphs into a sport that we find unrecognizable, is inherently campy. Here's one approach I take: Try imagining a world in which figure skating never existed. Then one day, someone proposes a sport where people do incredibly difficult and complex jumps, spins and movements on ice with a thin blade as the primary support. Wow, you might say, that sounds pretty difficult! It's like trick hockey or trick speed skating. Is it even possible? But wait, the proponent says, there's more! They aren't just doing tricks on ice, they're also doing this while music plays. And they're in makeup and costume. And they're encouraged and rewarded for telling a story and/or playing up a character while doing those tricks! At which point, most people would say, that sounds nutty and unnecessary, and not something resembling much of a sport. But of course, that is entirely possible and it is what we have, and what we have is the marquee sport of the Winter Olympics, even.

    One of the major components of camp is that it's frivolous. And when it comes down to it, we have to admit, the theatrical/performance aspects of figure skating aren't necessary to it being a sport. I mean really, with or without camp, figure skating isn't really necessary either in the grand scheme of things. But of course, and though we are all biased, we do think life is better with figure skating. And most of us do think figure skating is better with the theatrical elements. It's fun and enjoyable, which are raisons d'être enough, in my opinion.

    I'd also like to posit that all spectator sports have an inherent degree of camp. As they are spectator sports, people watch them for entertainment. Yes, sure, it's nice when the local team wins and wins a lot. But that entertainment value is limited by geography. For most spectators, a lot of the entertainment comes from seeing people win in style. And what is style if not camp? Canny sportspeople who want to increase their marketability may showboat, which is more camp. Competitors playing to or against the very human referee engage in camp. All that shin-clutching to try to induce a favorable ref call in soccer/football is highly theatrical and ridiculous, i.e. camp. And outside of competition, all major and most minor sports have their own rituals, ceremonies and pomp. And those things are done in varying degrees of camp. Podium girls in bicycle racing have been in the news recently, and it strikes me as very over the top and thus very camp. Cheerleaders, of course, are pure camp. Tennis requires its female competitors to wear skirts in order to attract leering eyeballs. Camp! Beach volleyball limits how much competitors can wear, again for those eyeballs. Camp, camp and more camp! I could go on and on, but my point is that all spectator sports are campy to some degree, with figure skating relatively more so.

    Camp, of course, can be transcended, at least temporarily. To use sports as a general example, we humans can and often do forget, in the heat of watching a competition, that the ultimate results aren't Earth-shakingly important. And when we watch a talented skater/team perform a program well, we can and do forget that they're just playing it up. Alexei Yagudin has made me feel more for The Man in the Iron Mask than the shoddy movie ever could. I was ready to grab a guillotine and a silver platter after Michelle Kwan did Salomé. But eventually I do come back to Earth, and realize that those characters are artifice, which is camp.

    On the flip side, camp can, of course, be a distraction. A skating performance can be too over the top, too theatrical and too artificial, i.e. too campy, for the audience to engage fully with the performers, to fully feel what they're presenting, when the audience actually wants to do so. That would be bad camp. Confusingly (but not really confusing in practice), too campy can be good when the artifice and distraction is intentional, usually for comedic effect. Like porn, which WeakAnkles brought up, you'll know it when you see it.

    Quote Originally Posted by plushyfan View Post
    Do not be rude, please .. as I wrote I didn't know what is camp or campy. I watched every videos, I read the articles, and the comments, so I just started to understand it. Probably I should live in US.
    Aww, I don't mean to chastise. I just meant to clarify that I was not criticizing Plushenko in any way.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    That was intentionally campy, to make fun of campiness.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue_idealist View Post
    That was intentionally campy, to make fun of campiness.
    Or...was it intentionally making fun of campy, to make fun of making fun of campy?

  12. #72
    Custom Title plushyfan's Avatar
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    I remember of it! hm..I like the campy!?

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    Quote Originally Posted by plushyfan View Post
    I remember of it! hm..I like the campy!?
    But most Europeans gave only lukewarm reaction to Bradley's campy performance of making fun of campiness.

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebonnet View Post
    But most Europeans gave only lukewarm reaction to Bradley's campy performance of making fun of campiness.
    Really? This performance was so fresh and unique for me.

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    I take it back. It was actually a campy performance of making fun of un-campiness.

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