What is your definition of "camp"? For the past five years, since the inception of the current BG, I have read OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN
in a multitude of sources (websites, magazines, newspapers, even from real live persons at science fiction conventions),
that contemporary viewers of the current series consider the original series as "campy."
But the term is being used differently than its original meaning and I am wondering when and why the meaning changed.
I'm looking at an actual dictionary, The American Heritage College Dictionary, third edition, copyright 1997 (a real book, not online),
and it says camp is (1) An affectation or appreciation of manners and tastes commonly thought artificial, vulgar or banal; or
(2) Banality, vulgarity or artificiality when deliberately affected or appreciated for its humor.
I think the term, in general public usage, means deliberately silly and ridiculous so that it is humorous, even hilarious. That DOES NOT,
I repeat, DOES NOT, fit the description of the original Battlestar Galactica. Pompous and overblown at times, yes. Inconsistent, yes,
but that was a problem of short production times, not for lack of trying. Occasionally funny and often sweet, yes. However, the "feel"
of the show, with the huge cast, beautiful costumes, elaborate sets and occasional long speeches, was meant to be "epic," not
So the original BG is not "campy" in the original definition. Deliberately written to be humorous and silly, absolutely not.
However, I've come to realize that in the past decade, the definition of camp has come to mean something different. Apparently
anything in pop culture made before the year 2000 can be considered campy. Why? Because it doesn't fit 21st century standards.
I'm talking about both pop culture in general and Galactica in particular, because BG is so often singled out.
I would like to know why so many contemporary critics have felt the need to change the definition of a slang term so drastically. I've
gotten the impression that today's "camp" simply means the following in regards to the original series are not up to their standards:
the attractive hair and clothing that were current when the series was made; special effects that were state-of-the-art for the time; and a
positive outlook on life despite incredible odds. The current definition has nothing to do with humor, other than the fact tht some
modern viewers are too immature to be able to watch anything from a different decade without snickering. By their reasoning--
that because the styles are not up to today's ugly fashions, the special effects are not CGI, and the show isn't depressing or cynical
--these aspects are reasons that the show was made to be laughed at. In other words, today's definition of "campy" is anything that
wasn't made in the past 10 years.
After writing all this, I realize that "campy" today most likely just means "more than 10 years old" and it is very much a compliment,
not an insult!