I have never considered myself...or been considered by anyone else to be...an arbiter of taste and refinement. I to this day consider my mother's allowing me, in junior high to paint my bedroom chartreuse and maroon the ultimate example of a mother's love. But I do know schlock when I see it.
I realize that one man's schlock is another man's idea of exquisite taste, and that's fine. Elvis paintings on black velvet, those adorable little figurines of cherubs and little children with huge, sad eyes standing on a little pedestal with "I Wuv You!" on the base, those innumerable "Starving Artists" paintings cranked out in under four minutes....they may not be my taste, but no matter.
I also don't mind crap as long as it doesn't pretend to be anything but crap, but spending an hour watching television---especially those channels without major network affiliations and therefore dependent "not sold in stores" products and execrable “infomercials”---demonstrates Mammon at his worst. I'm sure you have seen the "Obama Chias" peddled on commercials around the country when our president began his first term. It's surpasses crap and reaches for blushingly embarrassing. I beg your pardon if your dining room and kitchen windows are lined with those adorable little Chia llamas and sheep and whatever....that's fine. But excrement coated in candy is still excrement, and it is with the sales pitch accompanying this particular pile of dung to which I object totally. It should, in my humble and always reasoned opinion, have the ad agency who came up with it banned forever.
So there's this clay head looking somewhat like our president, see, and you soak it in water and in a few days, weeks, months or years, depending on how much of a green thumb you have, you get a clay head of our first African American president in a huge, green afro. Even that, astonishingly inappropriate example of bad taste that it is, would be marginally tolerable were it just plunked out there in any store with sufficient lack of shame to carry it. But no; they have spent Lord knows how much money pitching it to "show your support for our nation and our new president." Oh, for the love of God, have these people no shame? Just how low will the purveyors of this crud sink to get you to part with your money? (That was a rhetorical question, since we all know that is a pit without a bottom.) And why weren't the N.A.A.C.P. and civil rights groups screaming bloody murder?
I developed new respect for the Walgreen's Drug Store chain, which yanked Chia Obama from their shelves.
And then there is the offer of the small "jewel-encrusted, silver" (plated) cross of the sort generally sold by street vendors from open cases atop TV trays. When you hold the cross up to your eye....and why anyone would want to do that is also a mystery....you can read The Lord's Prayer through a little magnifying window. Just what the world has been waiting for! Again, this tawdry gee-gaw would be okay were it not promoted on TV and in magazines in the reverent tones reserved for anticipation of the Second Coming. The inference is that if you do not rush out and buy several ("they make excellent gifts"), you are a godless heathen. And it comes in its own little box with....and this for me is the clincher....a "Certificate of Authenticity"! A what? What "authenticity" is it certifying? That it is totally worthless?
Oh, I know, I am being cynical again. I know there are good, dear people who take pleasure in such things, and I do not mean to criticize them. I do mean to criticize those manufacturers and advertisers for whom the only motive is money. Their utter hypocrisy and greed in preying on the innocents they see as as easy targets. Is shameful.
And I am sure, were those responsible to read this blog entry, they would cease their disgraceful money-grubbing immediately. Of course they would. (Watch out for the flying pigs.)