The Boys in the Band: Camp and the Heartbreak of Race
In this chapter, I focus on Mart Crowley’s play, The Boys in the Band, examining its use of mass cultural references and its diagetic investment in sentimentality. For the purposes of this discussion, I describe these expressive discourses as “camp.” My organizing concerns are defining, at least provisionally, what camp is and how it is historically and socially formed and circulated. I also consider the question of gay male racial formation and suggest that within the parameters of the play, camp cannot fully account for racial difference except through degradation and humiliation. Since the play is heavily invested in “camping,” as central to gay humor, especially in its references to race, I begin with this point.
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