Michael Broder has a piece in the Huffington Post (and he’s elicited comments on the Classics list as well) on a piece suggesting Catullus was a sort of proto-Queer and in the forefront of the development of camp. Here’s an excerpt:
Now, since I started arguing for the Roman invention of camp at academic conferences in 2009, I’ve received some support, but more pushback. A generation of classics scholars staked their careers on the idea that this sort of ridicule was deadly serious and was all the proof we needed that every homophobic bone in our modern social body could be traced back to ancient Rome. These folks don’t take kindly to my claim that Catullus, more than simply being ironic, is a kind of proto-queer figure. Others insist that I cannot use the 20th-century term “camp” to describe a type of poetry and a social milieu found in ancient Rome. Like so many gay voices today, my critics claim, I’m just hell-bent on “seeing us in them,” of finding evidence for gayness wherever I look in history. Both of these sins fall under the general charge of “presentism,” applying modern categories inappropriately to the past. But now I’m on The Huffington Post, not at an academic conference. You make the rules around here. So read on and tell me what you think.
I won’t post any of the rest because I’m trying not to have rogueclassicism blocked in schools for language and the like. Another (fuller) version is apparently in Gay and Lesbian Review 18.5, which is behind a paywall). In any event, as is usually the case at HuffPo, the comments aren’t that deep … it would be nice to see some folks with knowledge of Classics (and I’m thinking Aristophanes and Atellan farce) to make some learned commentary … for my part, I don’t have a problem with Catullus as ‘camp’ but I’m not sure it’s an ‘either or’ sort of thing. But what I really don’t like is when we’re held up as nameless straw people.