With the new Broadway-themed show Smash as a jumping off point, Daniel D’Addario writes in the New York Observer:
Sontag’s contention that “Camp is esoteric—something of a private code, a badge of identity even, among small urban cliques” suggests one culprit for the death of camp: The mainstream acceptance of gays—a welcome development, to say the least—seems to have come with an ancillary cost. If camp is by definition a sort of in-joke, a winking language of signs and semaphores understood by a discerning few, it melts away when a show about battling Broadway ingenues is targeted at the many. The aesthetic sensibility that converted TV’s Batman into a gay icon and “No wire hangers!” into a rallying cry has crossed irrevocably into mainstream culture. It’s available to all and therefore drained of its power. It’s an tasty irony, but not a campy one.
I’m afraid I must agree. What little “camp” I hear these days are lines lifted from Paris Is Burning and restated on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Which is broadcast on a national network and therefore not much of an in-joke anymore.