Summer camp is a traditionally outdoorsy and active, rough and tumble boysy American rite of passage. And in contrast we all know that young gay boys are such delicate and sensitive hothouse flowers, to be forever constitutionally disqualified from participating in the free and easy lifestyle that is normal male bonding. So basically here we have three different variations on the same joke – what would a gay summer camp be like?
From “Mad Magazine” June 1971
Here it’s not just that little gays boys are effeminate, but they actually want to be women. Drag, hair styling, interior decoration – well fair enough. They even give us flowers around the border. But Mah-jongg? Really! Who knew gay boys wanted to be Jewish widows? Although I did enjoy “Golden Girls”.
from “National Lampoon” May 1977
Probably the best, and most thorough of the three. This isn’t a camp like the other two, where artistic youngsters have their sissy proclivities indulged and developed. No, the joke here is that this summer camp programme is intended to enable its young campers to participate fully in the experience of being that slightly bullied, awkward, excluded and un-athletic proto-homo.
from “National Lampoon” June 1979
Here’s it’s all about late ‘70s sensitivity development. Hell, I wouldn’t mind having gone to one like this. Although I did do one summer at Johns Hopkins nerd camp, which is about as near an approximation as one could wish.
Note also the first and last make reference to Fire Island. To which we did once go on holiday for one day when I was about thirteen, and where we all utterly failed to notice anything.