Why do Kidz Love Kitsch?
Everything about Christmas is kitsch – I mean EVERYTHING. The tree with its gaudy baubles, the room decorations, the awful sweaters. Santa’s outfit (I mean who wears fun-fur at the Poles?), his contrived ho-ho-ho (isn’t it a bit in the Jimmy Saville zone for an obese old man to be shinning down chimneys to sneak into children’s bedrooms in the middle of the night?!?), the stuff in which the presents are wrapped, the fake snow everywhere (except in Sweden and Russia), the weird artefacts hanging in the streets, the Falstaffian bonhomie, the stopping of hostilities on the battlefield to play football for 24 hours (worst kitsch of all), the way that every shop has to look “Christmassy” in order to get trade and “enter into the spirit”, the cards which everyone sends to everyone who sent them one last year, the holly (but the mistletoe is okay 😉 ), the £5 billion (yes, that’s right, I checked) which is estimated to be spent this weekend in the UK in the shops (mostly on totally unnecessary rubbish), the endless 80s Xmas “hits” being churned out on the radio, the plastic fairy on top of the tree, etc. Talk about bad taste!
But this begs the question: At what age do we start seeing kitsch as kitsch? I’ve often thought about the way that kids seem to love kitsch. How does that happen? Idealistic folks say: “Oh, that’s because children are non-judgemental. They don’t judge by appearance because they are so innocent”. Yeah, right! Have you ever stood in a school playground – even a primary school? Innocent, my ass! Nah, I can only think of one reason why kids love kitsch. It’s because they’ve been conditioned to realise that if they put up with all the crappy kitsch which their parents inflict on them, they’ll get loads of presents. It’s a payoff. Tolerate kitsch and you’ll get your reward on December 25th. So how does that explain how even bobos and bohos from the Meatpacking District in New York and Hampstead in London and all the other trendy city areas forget all their sophistication and garner a houseful of schlocky stuff for a fortnight per year? One can only come to the conclusion that it’s their parents who secretly love kitsch, whereas the kids merely pretend to love it so they’ll get an update in their possession list. One way or another, kidz put up with a lot of crap from their parents to suit their own agenda. Clever kidz! 🙂