In an interview with the Guardian, filmmaker John Waters — creator of cult classics “Pink Flamingoes” and “Female Trouble” — lamented the rise of Donald Trump by claiming he ruined “bad taste,” a hallmark of Waters’s storied filmmaking career.
Reflecting on his career during which he has been called “the Pope of Trash, the Sultan of Sleaze, the Duke of Dirt, the Baron of Bad Taste, the King of Puke and Queer Confucius,” Waters was asked about his influence on “camp” in the arts and why it has faded away as a cultural touchstone.
As the Guardian’s Catherine Bray wrote, Waters’ demeanor took a serious turn when he brought up the former president.
According to Bray, “at a moment when fashion’s elite seem to be bringing back some of the ugliest looks ever to grace a millennium-era runway,” she pressed Waters about the zeitgeist when it comes to campiness and bad taste.
“Trump ruined it, ” Waters replied. “As soon as Trump was president, it just ended the humor of it. He was the nail in the coffin. He’s the first person that had accidental bad taste that wasn’t funny.”
“Usually, accidental bad taste is what camp originally meant. But today people try too hard. And I think that never works. Because true camp is innocent, it doesn’t do things on purpose. It takes itself very seriously,” he added.