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Sean Gill

Obsessions: Authoritarian Kitsch

Charles Bronson in "Death Wish 3" I am strongly drawn to Camp, and almost as strongly offended by it.
—Susan Sontag, from her essay “Notes on Camp'” (1964)

Charles Bronson steps away from the dinner table, a Norman Rockwell tableau of elderly friends, gravy boats, and stuffed cabbage. He folds his napkin and politely excuses himself. On the street below, he discovers two gang members removing the stereo from his Cadillac Seville, a vehicle he bought several scenes earlier for the express purpose of enticing criminals.

After a brief exchange with the thieves, one remarks, “We’re stealin’ the fuckin’ car, what’s it to you?” Bronson retorts, in a charmingly incompetent performance, “It’s… my car!” He extends his arms in a stilted (but sincere) manner, enunciating the syllables in a way that no actual human would. The thieves smirk at each other, deciding “Now you’re gonna die,” and one of them cartoonishly flicks open his switchblade. Bronson draws a gun and shoots the both of them before calmly returning to his cabbage.

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