Camp vs. Kitsch: Desperately Seeking Susan

Originally published on Camp vs. Kitsch.

The idea behind this blog is simple. We’re going to examine the phenomena of camp and kitsch, using YouTube as a vehicle. Each entry will present two videos on the same or similar subjects, the only difference between them being whether they fall into the camp or kitsch sensibility. There will be a poll, all you lovely people out there in the internet will vote, and we’ll see if there’s a clear trend to prefer one to the other.

Unsure of the difference between camp and kitsch? Have no fear, here’s a quick refresher:

CAMP was famously defined by Susan Sontag in her 1964 essay, “Notes on Camp.” Sontag’s main points include that to be campy, a piece of art must necessarily be marginal. In Sontag’s words, “uhe ultimate Camp statement: it’s good because it’s awful.”

KITSCH, according to Sontag, isn’t necessarily a discrete category separate from camp. However, Sontag writes, “Camp taste nourishes itself on the love that has gone into certain objects and personal styles. The absence of this love is the reason why such kitsch items as Peyton Place (the book) and the Tishman Building aren’t Camp.”

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The Jewish Advocate: Jewish camps crafting new strategies

Originally published in The Jewish Advocate.

BOSTON – Jewish camping has always been an element of the Jewish experience in New England in summer, but recently it has moved front and center on the field of the organized Jewish community.

The Foundation for Jewish Camping last year appointed a new president, Newton resident Jerry Silverman, a former executive at the Stride Rite shoe company, and is aiming to create an agenda around Jewish camping for all of North America. And this year, the Combined Jewish Philanthropies launched the Jewish Camping Initiative, a pilot program with the goal of making Jewish educational overnight camping a part of the synagogue culture by providing incentive grants for first-time campers. In Waltham, the Hornstein Program for Jewish Communal Service at Brandeis University has added a class on the Jewish camping experience, combining a study of the history of Jewish camping in America with in-depth research into practical issues on the topic. Continue reading