The Epitome of Kitsch

A long time ago, in a land far away, Mr. French read a book by Calvin Seerveld about how there is a moral element to good taste. In other words, kitsch is bad and maybe a sin.

While I would not go that far, it is an interesting point to ponder. And Mr. French and I have pondered it many times.

The reason I bring this up is that Mr. Seerveld’s illustration of “kitsch” was describing a dining room table surrounded by plastic lawn chairs.

(You might want to shield your eyes first.)

This is for illustrative purposes only. This is not to be used to judge our general sense of taste.

This is for illustrative purposes only. This is not to be used to judge our general sense of taste.

But, you see, I would contend that Mr. Seerveld has never moved with only a van and a car. And four kids. With two days notice. In the middle of winter. After having a truck stuck in your driveway for over three hours. Just to name one example.

Sometimes you just gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

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5 Comments

Filed under I confess, Mr. French, This is going to be really funny one day, Why does no one get my jokes?

5 responses to “The Epitome of Kitsch

  1. Anne

    Well, can’t say I’ve ever read about ‘Kitsch’ before, but when we first married, our ‘dining room table’ consisted of 4 tv trays put together with a tablecloth over them and camping chairs. Now granted there weren’t children involved at that point in time, but this was our home. And for some reason, I had thought that the thriftiness of college furniture was going to leave when I ‘grew’ up and got married. Sometimes I really do think I was just playing house. 🙂 But hey, you do what you have to do. Don’t let anyone mock you for your ingenuity. 🙂

    Me: Eh, I don’t mind the mocking. I mean, it does look bad.

  2. Jan

    Hey – I’ve got six unused Ethan Allen dining chairs in my basement if you wanna swing by here in a truck on your next trip home for the weekend.

    I find it interesting that you didn’t note that this enigmatic dining room set was placed on an Oriental rug. More kitsch!

    Me: Hey, now, that’s our ugly rug you’re talking about. (I just couldn’t stand the thought of the boys spilling food all over someone else’s rug. I thought we should ruin our own first.)

    That’s a nice offer! How much do you want for them? Mr. F wants to know what color.

  3. I think I need to chime in on this one…

    The kitsch level would be higher if the table was nicer and the chairs were cheaper. Those are nice for lawn chairs. Maybe if there were some 1980’s gaudy plastic with rips and stains in there coupled with an expensive looking dining table. The contrast here is not striking enough.

    I feel like I’m back in art school doing a critique. If you start crying and rip your art off the wall it would be just like that : )

    About the moral element to good taste…this is actually something that I have spent time thinking about. While I can’t come up with biblical evidence to support this (at the moment), it seems to me much like other sins, there are reasons we need grace sometimes, such as lack of the funds, time or mental energy it takes to make our lives as beautiful as possible.

    However, some people are gratuitous sinners in this area with no good excuse. I live in a part of the country where there is a large population of people who must think the dream catcher is the solution to all their decor problems. They also where flip flops when it’s snowing.

    Me: Yeah, I agree with you. And maybe that’s why it’s hard to come down on the side of Seerveld, because we can all see the need for grace. In the end, I think I mostly come out on the lazy side. It does take a lot of energy, not to mention money. I do what is easy most of the time.

  4. I meant to say “wear” flip flops…they don’t teach you how to spell or do anything else useful to normal people in art school.

  5. Rebekah

    I have to laugh. I’ve seen far worse and probably live with too much kitsch. I think Mom called it “Farmer Art.”

    Me: I forgot about that term. There is something to be said for making do, I think. As the pioneers had to.

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