fledge capable of flying, from Middle English flegge, from Old English -flycge; akin to Old High German flucki capable of flying,
Old English flEogan to fly -- more at FLY
intransitive verb, of a young bird : to acquire the feathers necessary for flight or independent activity

Thursday, March 22, 2007

One Kitsch to Rule Them All: Wanna play?

Mooi hoor (Diana) suggested a Kitsch Contest. (Hello Diana, you're not going to call me out on that "I'm so famous in Holland" thing, are you?). I'd be up for a contest. Maybe it should be a Waldorf School/ I'm Okay-You're Okay / Let's-all-hold-hands-and-run-under-the-parachute-together- because-we-eschew-competition contest with no announced winners. But I'd be up for a real testosterone-laden contest, too, because then we could have a trophy, because, yeah, trophies are kitschy. I think it would also be a good idea, because, if we find the next best kitsch, mark my words, we'll have found a trend.

Contests mean rules (no getting around that). So I guess we need to define the kitsch we are talking about. I think it should be mass produced, hyperreal, consumerist, neither intentionally ironic nor iconic and floating around somewhere in somebody's popular culture. It should be immediately viscerally appealing and yet repulsive to our better judgment. This may come off a little hipper-than-thou, but I want to honor kitsch. It generally is there to make us happy, after all. There's no other reason for it. And that's a good enough reason for me. It should be of such good taste, it's bad; or so bad, it's good. What do you think? How do you kitsch?

Another thing: The kitsch needs to be cheap. Alessi, for example, is silly, in my opinion--and not silly in a good way. A $20 little post-Modern monster to clip toenails? ("I'm so droll. My corkscrew looks like a little person and was made in Italy by craftsmen." Makes me think somebody is covering up a deep, unfulfilled need for puffy paint sweatshirts.) Alessi makes great stuff, don't get me wrong. And if my house was burning, I would run and get my Alessi milk jugs -- except I wouldn't have to, because they'd survive the fire. And the way this nutty Internet works, I'll bet Alessi will come up with a garlic press with our Kitsch Contest Winning Item as it's inspiration.

Well, now that I think of it, there is an exception to the It's Gotta Be Cheap rule: The item may be on the expensive end of the scale if it is meant to be an item of luxury. Swarovski lead crystal figurines come to mind.

I'm open to defining Categories of Kitsch. However, Good and Bad Kitsch wax and wane, two sides of the same coin, Yin and Yang ... so maybe we should just have One Kitsch to Rule Them All. Something that ultimately everybody will want for their own and we'll have to destroy in the Fires of Mount Doom. There's only one Miss America, so there should only be one Kitschkaiser.

And we probably need to wait a little while and see if I get more visitors: Otherwise it's just Diana and I. And Diana will win, because otherwise she will call me out on that whole "I'm so famous in Holland".

Oh, and I will translate the above: I just don't know if I can translate "immediately viscerally appealing and yet repulsive to our better judgment" without chipping a tooth.

1 comment:

mooi hoor... said...

Good! You're not making it easy on us:
- mass produced, hyper real, consumerist
- unitentionally ironic
- no subculture icons
- appealing on first sight, repulsive to our better judgement
- cheap (price-wise)
- unless meant to be an item of luxury.

The "appealing on first sight, repulsive to our better judgement" criterium is a tricky one. It excludes tons of tacky bad kitsch I'd love to bring in.
For instance the "all-plastic-pink-Barbie-carriage-with-room-for-12-princesses-pulled-by-a-shimmery-white-horse-with-braided-hair". My daughter actually really, badly wanted this as a Christmas gift - I still choke up writing about it...it's not appealing on first sight, on second sight on xth sight.
This means that this exquisite piece of humonguously bad kitsch does not qualify, right? Sigh.

I'm also in favor of the "one Kitsch to rule them all". Let the winning item speak for itself I'd say.

Also: I can imagine the possible range of entries is so huge that we need to narrow things down. For instance only 3-dimensional items, no books, films, music (Modern Talking!), advertisements. Reasons: language barriers and uploads might be difficult...

Ok, just some thoughts for now. I'll do some advertisement for the contest as well (not that it will help a lot as I only started blogging myself 2 weeks ago...)



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