June 28, 2019

"But camp was always something that was so bad it was good, and didn’t know it. Trump ruined that. Even camp he ruined."

"It isn’t really camp, but some people said he looks like a white James Brown impersonator. Which he does now. But that’s not camp. You have to like what’s camp. It has to be so bad, it’s good. He’s so bad, he’s bad.... When I was on Bill Maher with Andrew Breitbart, [Breitbart] said to me, 'I do the same thing you do; we’re just on different sides.' Which is true. So I get why Trump supporters like [Trump], because he is doing what he said he was going to do and we hate him so much he makes us crazy....  I think I love everything I make fun of, and certainly Trump does not love what he makes fun of. Although he used to be what he makes fun of. He was a liberal, wasn’t he?... [Does he make you laugh?] Never. But neither do most of the Democrat character candidates running now either. And you could argue it’s not a funny time, which is true.... There are 40 [Democrats] that are going to divide it all up. You know, the gay one I like. I’d vote for any of them, even though it would be really hard for me to vote for Elizabeth Warren who has never once said a funny thing in her entire life.... I think she will lose. Any of the ones that have already been out there will lose, big time. And any of the ones that try to be super left wing will really lose, too. And all the other ones just haven’t been around. I don’t know. I’m very much against Kamala because she is a prisoner’s enemy.... What’s the one, Mayor Pete? Is he the gay one?... It’s a civil war, and I believe that it could be decided by one vote.... It’s just exhausting to me. But I get why they like [Trump], because he infuriates us."

Said John Waters, interviewed in "In Conversation: John Waters The pope of trash on Anna Wintour, staying youthful, and why Trump ruined camp" (The Vulture).

53 comments:

jaydub said...

Never heard of him. Was hoping to keep it that way.

Rusty said...

ASorry john. You ruined camp.

Ken B said...

I pictured Band Camp, ruined by the emanations of Trump's penumbra.

Bay Area Guy said...

Sometimes it helps to succinctly make a point.

Jim at said...

Ever notice they never list any specifics as to how and/or what Trump's done to ruin everything from women's soccer to camp?

Why is that?

wendybar said...

If you don't get President Trumps humor, I feel bad for you. He makes me laugh everyday...and mostly because I know it will enrage somebody who is stricken with TDS.

Gahrie said...

I like some of the man's movies, and have no beef with him, but would you really want Waters' endorsement anyway?

Carol said...

But Trump's VULGAR.

That's the point, for all you non-Victorians.

Dave Begley said...

John Waters is an alum of the Jesuit high school in Baltimore. I knew his late brother Steve.

Derek Kite said...

Does anyone still believe that this reaction that Trump elicits isn't strategy? He has tied his opposition into knots and driven them to the extreme left. Althouse' reaction to the debates was to find comfort in Biden, whose victory will divide the Democrats in two.

My thoughts on Trump would be that he would force the various players in the political and governmental world to do their jobs competently. The Democrats are resisting.

mccullough said...

Professional jealousy. Trump is just much funnier than The Comedians. Light years ahead. Playing a game they can’t play.

traditionalguy said...

Two of the grand girls just came back from Camp in North Carolina. According to them , Camp is better than ever.

chuck said...

Nice gig you have there, be a shame if someone talented got elected.

Bay Area Guy said...

Waters got famous for making cult movies starring a fat transvestite, named "Divine."

Sadly, it didn't end well for Divine.

Lurker21 said...

Most of what he says is wrong but revealing. I haven't heard the word "camp" used in this sense in years, so maybe it's not what it once was, even in the gay community, which seems to be slowly moving away from the old stereotypes.

But that’s not camp. You have to like what’s camp. It has to be so bad, it’s good. He’s so bad, he’s bad.... When I was on Bill Maher with Andrew Breitbart, [Breitbart] said to me, 'I do the same thing you do; we’re just on different sides.' Which is true. So I get why Trump supporters like [Trump], because he is doing what he said he was going to do and we hate him so much he makes us crazy....

In other words, Trump is "camp," but Waters just doesn't like it. Waters could have built something on the "Trump is so bad, he's good" idea, and he does recognize that, but he can't get past his disapproval. Hence the headline.

I think I love everything I make fun of, and certainly Trump does not love what he makes fun of. Although he used to be what he makes fun of. He was a liberal, wasn’t he?...

Trump does sort of love NBC, CNN and the failing New York Times, doesn't he? Chuck and Nancy? At least a little. At least he likes playing with them.

[Does he make you laugh?] Never. But neither do most of the Democrat character candidates running now either. And you could argue it’s not a funny time, which is true....

It's never a funny time. It's always a funny time. It would take a heart of stone not to laugh at the recent debates. C'mon, one can't see the "clown car" thing only when it's in the party you don't agree with.

Rory said...

Something I noticed today: I have a German Shepherd who is now ten years old. It used to be that every year someone would try to confront me about abusing him by leaving him in the car.* This always followed a pattern: the person always told some lie about being a vet or having just called the police, and they always resorted to you-can't-question-me emotionalism when I stood my ground.

It occurred to me today that this has not happened since Trump derangement has overtaken so many people. You take TDS, you take climate and gender and race, and is there just no air left for your local scold to start a fuss with?

*Obligatory note that I have and follow very strong rules for when he'll be left in the car.

404 Page Not Found said...

Who is John Waters?

Bilwick said...

" . . . I get why they like [Trump], because he infuriates us." True that . . . the "us" being the "liberal" Hive.

rehajm said...

Eating poop is camp, apparently.

Leave running things to the adults, John.

Big Mike said...

My thoughts on Trump would be that he would force the various players in the political and governmental world to do their jobs competently. The Democrats are resisting.

@Derek Kite, I've had much the same reaction. There seems to be a very large number of people involved with government and politics who are spoiled by never having had to work particularly hard anytime in their lives and Trump is changing that. Jeff Sessions sure learned that you do your job or "You're Fired."

Rob said...

John Waters, bloviating mindlessly. What a journalistic coup. Next up: Fran Lebowitz?

Dave Begley said...

And he looks very much like his father.

Swede said...

John Waters looks like a sallow petri dish of everything nasty in the human condition.

Limited blogger said...

can the fringe be scoured any further?

Ann Althouse said...

"If you don't get President Trumps humor, I feel bad for you. He makes me laugh everyday...and mostly because I know it will enrage somebody who is stricken with TDS."

He didn't say he didn't get Trump's humor. He said it didn't make him laugh.

2 days ago, I watched the 1963 movie "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World." It didn't make me laugh, but I certainly got the humor.

Ann Althouse said...

"Most of what he says is wrong but revealing. I haven't heard the word "camp" used in this sense in years, so maybe it's not what it once was, even in the gay community, which seems to be slowly moving away from the old stereotypes."

There's a immense show at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC right now that's all about camp, and it was the theme of the Met Gala (with all the celebrities), so it's been very much in the news this year.

As Waters opinion, it's only not what it once was in that it's expanded to the general culture and isn't gay arcana (and hasn't been for a long time).

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

may they hear a funny noise,

and see a hundred little Trumps take over their camp

Ann Althouse said...

I actually hate it when people laugh as a way to communicate that they got a joke.

It's like a fake orgasm. Bleh!

Sydney said...

Rory said:
It occurred to me today that this has not happened since Trump derangement has overtaken so many people. You take TDS, you take climate and gender and race, and is there just no air left for your local scold to start a fuss with?

I was thinking about this as I read the post. If the world didn't have Trump to hate, where would all the hate go? You answered it. And now that I think about it, people are less hateful around here, too, now that they're all hating on Trump.

chickelit said...

John Waters ruined "Surfin' Bird" for me.

DavidUW said...

Eccentric Baltimore man interviewed about trump.

Amadeus 48 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amadeus 48 said...

Here's the thing: in many fundamental ways, Trump is a New York Democrat circa 1985. And the Democrats hate him because of it. He gave their ideas a victory, but flying the GOP flag. He gave them no power. They'll never forgive him.

Biden is from the same place (a Democrat from the middle of the Reagan Revolution), but he still calls himself a Democrat, so they have tolerated him so far. That is slowly ending. And Biden is too old. He can't give them victory (and power). Soon, they'll hate him, too.

Let's hear John Waters talk about THAT.

eddie willers said...

"This one time, at band camp...."

A line that single handedly saved an entire movie.

The Godfather said...

I (blessedly) didn't watch either of the Democrats' cattle calls, but if you did, imagine that there's just one of them left, and he/she/it is sharing a stage with Trump next year. Which of them would be able to hold your interest in competition with Trump?

Ken B said...

Mad, Mad World really isn’t funny. It's funny when you are eight or so. Will any Don Knotts movies be on your list? Personally I would just skip over the kiddie ones — “death recorded” — and watch the ones that might have.interest.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Call a waaambulance

Char Char Binks said...

Waters makes surprising sense. He gets Trump, even if he doesn't make him laugh. Same goes for Harris.

It's been a long time since I've seen It's a Mad, etc. World, but I remember not laughing, except when I was signifying that I got the joke.

Howard said...

He nails Trump as a drag queen. The big hair, makeup, clown ties, busy hands

Titus said...

Love him and his movies. Divine was amazing. I saw her at rods in Madison when I was 15.

Giovan Pietro Bellori said...

Titus—
Divine (ie, not Glenn Milstead) was always called “he.” In fact when you referred to “she,” for a moment I wasn’t sure whom you meant. It is really strange.

Ann Althouse said...

The linked interview discusses the fact that Divine was not transgender.

Giovan Pietro Bellori said...

Divine was a fiction. Milstead wasn’t. Neither were called she.

Giovan Pietro Bellori said...

The great thing is that Divine was an actor too. He played Dawn Davenport.

Ann Althouse said...

@Giovan

Waters knew him for a very long time, and Waters says:

"People thought Divine — they always think wrong — was trans. Divine never dressed as a woman except when he was working. He had no desire to be a woman. He was fat. It was too hot to wear all that shit. He couldn’t wait to get that wig off. The tits were so hot. He hated it. He didn’t want to pass as a woman; he wanted to pass as a monster. He was thought up to scare hippies. And that’s what he wanted to do. He wanted to be Godzilla. Well, he wanted to be Elizabeth Taylor and Godzilla put together."

So you can see, Waters doesn't call him Milstead (or Glenn or whatever). Waters just calls him Divine. I'm following that.

Lurker21 said...

I guess it's true that the spread of satirical or parodic attitudes to the larger society means its dilution. Nobody wants to be the target of camp - the serious and responsible bourgeois. Everybody is watching The Simpsons or the late night comedians. Everything is parodied, and everyone is in on the joke, so some of the fun has gone out of the game.

The gay community, the major source of the camp sensibility, seems to be moving in the opposite direction. Gays can marry each other, raise children and divorce each other. Even transsexuals can hold down responsible jobs, demand their own pronouns, and run for office. The social marginalization that led to flippant "camp" attitudes looks much like a thing of the past. If one can have what one wants, the pathos and frustration behind the game of camp or parody is gone. It's not needed anymore.

It's said camp was based on aristocratic attitudes. Aristocrats had lost their power and had only an arch, condescending attitude towards society. Gays may be moving in the opposite direction, away from marginalization into the mainstream of middle class society, into the professional world and into politics. Camp will stay around, but more as an object of nostalgia. No wonder John Waters, who built a a career out of camp doesn't find much to laugh about nowadays.

ken in tx said...

I didn't vote for Trump. I thought he was a typical liberal New York Democrat, running as a fake Republican. I thought he ran as a Republican because he noticed that the Democrat primary process was rigged and a new comer had no chance there. So far, I think he is a pretty good president.

Giovan Pietro Bellori said...

Prof—
I’m not disagreeing at all; it’s just that drag queens when they are in drag are “she,” EXCEPT for Divine. His friends usually DID address him as “Glenn” though apparently there were some who called him “Divy.” He was very ambivalent about drag at least after he became well-known. He increasingly played men, as he did in Trouble in Mind and was to be, in what would have been his last role, Uncle Otto on Married with Children, when he died suddenly.

Fen said...

Way too much political activism in comedy these days. It's gotten so boring. I found one SNL skit that was good, probrably because it had nothing to do with their constant attempts at political indoctrination

Fen said...

And I'm tired of the lack of personal responsibility. Trump didnt ruin your little knitting circle, your hatred of him did.

Silly Calabrese said...

It's so difficult to care about what these people have to say. They are yesterday's people.

daskol said...

I've always enjoyed listening to John Waters, usually even more than I've enjoyed his movies, though some of them are a lot of fun: serial mom and cecil b. demented hold up well. He's such a mensch--so generous and well adjusted and, fundamentally, kind and respectful and still damned funny. Interesting that he's so into Gaspar Noe--that's another guy who, through interviews and some of his own writing, I find more compelling than his films.

daskol said...

There was a screening probably 15 years ago of some John Waters film, where he was there afterwards with some cast members and crew to take questions from the audience. His joy during the discussion was contagious, and he was incredibly gracious of everyone who spoke and said many times how delighted he was that there were so many young people in the audience who hadn't even been born when he started his artistic journey. Hard not to like the guy, especially if you find him humorous.