Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kitsch Me Baby One More Time

It makes me sad sometimes when I see someone apologizing for something they like because it isn’t cool or hip to like it. Just watch some people backtrack when they say they like a movie, and then someone else starts attacking, explaining why it was terrible. It’s easy to feel ashamed of liking something when others think it’s horrible or stupid. We think that means we’re stupid, because we like it, I supposed. But that’s a pile of nonsense.

I, myself, have always been inextricably drawn to some of the worst kinds of art and popular culture imaginable. And I am NOT sorry about it. It’s part of what makes me me.

Hey, I know good movies when I see them. Usually, anyway. I have spent time learning to understand the art of cinema. And I’ve read a lot of the classics. I’ve got a good sense of what makes for great music. For the most part, I can recognize the good stuff. I just don’t always know the bad stuff. In fact, a lot of the “bad” stuff just isn’t bad to me. I happen to like it.

I can watch Citizen Kane or Lawrence of Arabia or Sunrise, and enjoy every second. Then I can watch Teenagers From Outer Space or Invaders From Mars and enjoy every second. I can read masterpiece novels and enjoy every word, then immediately read some cheesy sci-fi hack piece and enjoy every word. I’ve always liked kitschy things, as far back as I can remember. Gumby and Gilligan’s Island and the Ghoul. I liked ALL of the Planet of the Apes movies. Elevator music. Donny and Marie. I even liked Elvis at his most Vegasy..

I think it’s not good that some people don’t appreciate higher or more complex forms of art simply because they don’t want to put in the effort it takes to understand and appreciate it. It’s a great loss. But it’s also not good to look down on other things simply because they lack a certain finesse, or they don’t measure up to something else.

It’s not that I don’t think there are bad novels or movies or music. I can't stand certain things. But sometimes we like things and it doesn't matter that it's bad. What makes something “bad” to me is not that it’s made cheaply or that it’s stupid or cheesy. Sometimes it's "bad" simply because it's corrupt. Or preachy. Or obvious. Or manipulative. Or who knows what. My first reaction to a lot of things is simply an emotional one. Some things click with me, while others don’t, and I don’t always know why. Do you?

If I like it, maybe it’s because it reminds me of something my mind has forgotten but my heart needs to remember. Maybe it makes me think. Maybe it taps me into feelings of childhood. Maybe I’m moved by the artistry of some things, the innocence of others, and perhaps the audacity of others, or perhaps it makes me feel like someone out there understands me. Maybe it’s all of those things and more.

Maybe I just like it...

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011


  1. Amen! I've struggled with this idea my entire life. It fascinates me how an individual person's brain reacts and takes in certain things. I LOVE a lot of music that that the masses may not enjoy, but I would hope they'd respect my taste as I would do the same. The human mind is weird. haha.

  2. I agree with this whole-heartedly!

  3. Guess it's OK for me to dust off my vinyl album and listen to both sides of "God Bless Tiny Tim"...no apologies offered! - The other Dave

  4. As I get older, I've realized that it actually takes a certain kind of unique ability to effortlessly choose experiences that may not turn out exactly how you might expect. Don't you agree that it's not easy to select the only evening in which a scheduled jazz artist will NOT be performing at a particular jazz club or to question yourself whether or not mid November is a good time to learn to canoe for the first time. I mean, it sounded like a good idea at the time to see a local community theatre rendition of a nationally known play. How's that for rationalizing?

  5. Kitsch just comes natural to some. It's kind of an ethic, in a way. -- And I really enjoyed that oddly entertaining rendition of the nationally known play. There was something magnificently wondrous about the whole thing. Sheer bravado if you ask me. As is much of what constitutes community theater.


All comments are subject to my approval. All profanity and disrespectful comments will be deleted. Be nice or I will pretend you are not there.