Kitsch-man as Tourist by Ludwig Giesz. And the Rise of the Selfie.

What is kitsch? Everything in the last town I lived in which was Las Vegas.

I know it when I see it.

I’ll leave a better definition to dictionaries and the great book KITSCH: The World of Bad Taste by Gillo Dorfles.

I’ve reprinted the start of two fascinating chapters from that book.

The background for this first selection is that author Gillo Dorfles in 1969 said Ludwig Giesz of the University of Heidelberg was the world’s greatest kitsch theorist.

Wow. My poor public school education. I didn’t know there were kitsch theorists.

Giesz describes kitsch-man. He describes me. “-)

Kitsch-man as Tourist by Ludwig Giesz

The term Kitschmensch (kitsch-man) which Hermann Broch uses, and which has cultural and philosophical overtones, as well as sociological and aesthetic ones, is considered by many critics to be too generic, too universal, to be used concretely in an analysis of kitsch objects. It is infinitely simple to list mass-produced articles in bad taste and without any artistic value, and to criticize their faults either kindly or mercilessly. There are countless albums and antholo­gies which serve this purpose.

Criticism – given that we are not prepared to limit ourselves merely to facetious remarks – is generally focused on the kitsch object. On the aesthetic level, people try to contrast kitsch and art, with the following results: kitsch is bad taste; kitsch is dilettantism; it is moreover without any originality, or else totally conventional; and it Is overloaded with rather primitive, affected and superficial attrac­tions. Given that the conclusion of all these collections of comments is the same – that kitsch is not art – it would be superfluous to quote any specific titles.

Academic art-historians often supplement this type of documenta­tion and commentary – ‘some of which is arch and euphoric, while some is witty and pedagogic, and therefore culturally depressive’ (‘serious’?) – with erudite information on the history of kitsch: e.g. notes on kitsch in the ancient world (Hellenic miniatures perhaps, or medieval devotional pictures, etc.).

All this reveals that the variation in taste over the centuries and from one cultural circle to another has been a serious handicap: when and where does kitsch begin? Let us quote the two extreme positions: a) kitsch has always existed or: b) kitsch was born in the second half of the nineteenth century (vulgarized Romanticism plus the emancipation of the petite bour­geoisie). At this juncture we reach point b): sociological considera­tions, and the following problem – isn’t kitsch perhaps a character­istic of every mass age, beginning with the age of Alexander and Roman Hellenism in the ancient world, down to the one-dimensional man of the mid-twentieth century?

What is the relationship between industrialization, capitalism, and the kitsch and the transformation of the individual into a total consumer on the one hand, and the kitsch boom on the other? (The mass-production of kitsch articles involves limitless possibilities; the ‘revolt of the masses’ after the manner of Ortega y Gasset unleashes the phenomenon of ‘mass-taste’; the civilizing and cultural elites have lost contact with the public, hence the more or less unbridgeable gulf. [continues . . . ]

The tourist often ‘sees’ the landscape, and himself in the landscape, through the eye of the camera or cine-camera.


Tourism and Nature by Gillo Dorfles

Kitsch and tourism; two words which go nicely together. Why is every monument, every landscape, every object from folk lore in­stantly made kitsch by tourism? Why were travellers’ descriptions of the pre-tourist era never kitsch, even when they were inaccurate, absurd and incoherent?

Perhaps the explanation of the Verkitschung brought about by tourism is linked with this phenomenon’s ability to falsify and with its position as one of the most singular and degrading aspects of our age.

People who go to foreign countries knowing that they will not have to speak the language because the organization supplies them with interpreters who are sufficiently versed in the local tongue; people who travel through these countries with the sole intention of seeing the Famous Places; people who have prefabricated their (borrowed) feelings, their indignation, compassion and admiration in advance; people who take every feeling, myth, legend, piece of folklore for granted – such people come prepared.

Tourism is one of the most noisome aspects of a rite that transforms and mythicizes every event with which the individual comes into contact, once he has been drawn into the mythagogic ritual (the garlands of Honolulu, the gondolas on the Grand Canal, the Red­skins of the Grand Canyon, Scotsmen wearing the kilt).

We have to ask ourselves how the tourist can possibly believe that the Indians, with their tidy, clean feathers, are authentic? How can he delude himself that he is hearing the gondolier’s song or the Nea­politan boatman’s song? How is it that he doesn’t realize that the painter painting the Sacre Coeur in Paris is anything but a ‘genuine modern painter’; that the kilted Scotsman playing his bagpipes is simply advertising’s complement to the landscape?

Tourism has not spread everywhere, of course; not all the Navajos are shams, not all the gondoliers sing, and not all Scotsmen wear their kilts day and night. But we must point out that even when or if the tourist comes across authentic objects, people or events, he can, as if by magic, transform them ipso facto into a substitute for reality.

The charm of the carnival nights of Rio and their contagious frenzy are certainly irresistible attractions for the kitsch-man as tourist.

[continues . . .]

Editor’s note. As a discerning kitsch-man I recognize this drawing as modeled after Bridgett Bardot. Even I woud not expect to see a light skinned and pretend ingénue dancing on the streets of Rio. Folies Bergère perhaps if she wasn’t so short.




Posted in art, books, non-fiction writing, Thoughts on writing, Uncategorized, Writing by others | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

No Point Talking

There’s no point talking to someone who doesn’t care. Or is too stupid to understand you.

A technician at an ophthalmologist’s office told me this afternoon that he had to touch my eye to conduct a test.

He had a can of some power drink nearby.

I asked him what it was.

He said it was tea but that it had some caffeine to help him on the long drive back to Las Vegas.

Understandable. After his shift!

I told him my Dad once noticed an assisting physician’s hand trembling.

Dad asked if the doctor had coffee that morning and the answer was yes.

My Dad told him that he would never assist him in surgery again.

And that was that.

I told this story to the technician and it did not register. He smiled a little and moved on to the test.

You can’t help someone who doesn’t want help or is too stupid to recognize help when it is given.

No point talking.

And that is that.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Painting With Sand After Bob Ross


This artist on Twitch is watching an old Bob Ross painting video and then attempting to recreate his image with colored sand.

And she is wearing bunny ears. And she has a nice Russian accent.

Twitch always puts on an irritating ad everytime you hit their site. Bear with it.

Click on the link.

She has a YouTube channel if you don’t like Twitch or if they make you create an account to watch:

Posted in art, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Talk and Learn About Alice and Wonderland

The first few minutes seem promising. I look forward to watching the rest and hope the discussion does not turn political.

Judging the past by the way revisionists see issues today has killed all literary criticism. That was a serious and productive field for hundreds of years. No more.

Let’s hope they don’t bury Lewis Carroll.

Click on the full screen icon to draw up a bigger window.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Red Flag Alert

The most often heard comment after someone kills themself is that there were no red flags. No warning signs. No outward appearance of anything wrong.

Well, I’ve raised more red flags in these posts and on this Intermountain Health Care page (internal link) than the Chinese army.

I’ve also raised red flags on social media which I know corporate has read. Yet no one from there or anywhere else has sent an email or made a call.

They want you to die. They want you to go away. By any means necessary. Just so they can get on with their three day wekends, thaat condo at Breckenridge or that sleazy affair with the neighbor’s wife.

Anything but acknowledge someone else’s existence.

The key is that we are mentally healthy and will do something rash and stupid anyway.

They wouldn’t care for long if I lit myself on fire at their corporate headquarters.

That fire would soon fade from memory and they’d keep going with their low bid contractors who don’t answer phones and service straight out of a poorly functioning purgatory.

I’d raise another red flag but they are already up.

Posted in revising writing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

I’ve Been Loving You Too Long

Otis Redding is known for Dock of the Bay. But his best singing was probably at Monterey Pop in the spring of 1967.

If you don’t cry at first viewing this video then you will when you watch it later.

After loving someone too long.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

For Want of a Nail . . .

Medical science is advancing at the same time patient support is retreating.

It is as if we have built a Porsche that no one can maintain since no service appointments are available. Or the mechanic is too expensive to afford.

In either case, the fine Porsche hits the ditch for lack of maintenance. Similarly, patients that should be cured wither and die despite medical science since bureaucracy prevents their care.

My earache reevaluation is scheduled for April 16th. That will mark the two month anniversary of my earache developing. Two months. And we’re not even at the diagnosis stage, let alone treatment.

Letting an earache remain untreated for two months? Really?

That is not medicine.

Also this week, I had to cancel an appointment because I could not get through on the phone to an Intermountain contractor, a group called PrimeMed.

I wanted to know if my appointment was in Las Vegas or at their Pahrump location. There’s a difference.

I spent over an hour on hold the first time I called and then another hour the second time I called. I never got past being third in the queue on these two separate days.

It is not medicine when a patient cannot be treated because a low bid contractor won’t staff up so they can cut costs to make more money.

Let’s count this up:

My earache remains. My oral surgeon says it is not TMJ.

My sensitivity to sound reamins, my ENT doctor says it is unrelated to my earache.

My light sensitivity remains undiagnosed and untreated and the ophthalmologist says it will not be fixed with my cataract surgery. He can see nothing in my eyes to account for it.

My cataract surgery is yet to be done.

The numbness in my arms and the great pain in my right hand remains.

The ECT I require may not go forward since no hospital in the state apparently provides it at this time.

My nightmares and chronic insomnia remain after 33 years

This is what I want to tell all the unsympathetic nimrods who don’t answer the phone or don’t return calls or who only react when I post to social media.

Medicine is a noble profession.

The purpose of life is to advance and to do better.

Mediocrity is something abhorred and not embraced.

Pateients are patients first and then perhaps customers. Perhaps.

Anyone who is average and content with that should get out of medicine.

I expect great things from great people and great companies.

Medicine is for great people.

Work for yourself if you are happy with your miserably low expectations.

Work some weekends and nights and holidays like the rest of us.

Life does not get better if we expect less.

Read a book.




Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m As Mad as Hell and I’m Not Going to Take it Anymore!

Frustrating talk with my psychiatrist today. A phone consultation. She was reading off the form she had to complete to get me approved for ECT. I am paying the tens of thousands of dollars it will require since Humana and Intermountain (internal link) woould rather I die than pay for it.

Anyway, at one point she read to me a sentence which included “consumer preference.” I was shocked. Consumer preference!? I am a patient, damn it, not a consumer. A patient first, always. This is medicine.

I demanded to know who wrote that ugly and dangerous sentence but my doctor refused.

Whoever did write it is symptomatic of deiverying modern medical care. We are not buying aluminum siding or a new car, you can strike the word consumer from your dictionary now and foreverl

Everyone writing for the medical community or manning a phone should be required to spend some time in a hospital helping to treat patients. Learn duty of care means.

I’m too upset to write further.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Sands o’Dee by Charles Kingsley

The Sands o’Dee

by Charles Kingsley (1819 -1875)
Illustrations by James Thurber as they appeared in The New Yorker
Read by Jean Aked

The Sands of Dee

“O Mary, go and call the cattle home,
And call the cattle home,
And call the cattle home,
Across the sands of Dee!”
The western wind was wild and dank with foam,
And all alone went she.

The western tide crept up along the sand,
And o’er and o’er the sand,
And round and round the sand,
As far as eye could see.
The rolling mist came down and hid the land–
And never home came she.

“Oh! is it weed, or fish, or floating hair–
A tress of golden hair,
A drownèd maiden’s hair
Above the nets at sea?
Was never salmon yet that shone so fair
Among the stakes on Dee.”

They rowed her in across the rolling foam,
The cruel crawling foam,
The cruel hungry foam,
To her grave beside the sea;
But still the boatmen hear her call the cattle home
Across the sands of Dee.

Written by Charles Kingsley

Posted in Poetry, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Is No Measure of Health to be Well Adjusted to a Profoundly Sick Society

It Is No Measure of Health to be Well Adjusted to a Profoundly Sick Society

Quote by Krishnamurti

This video guy talks too much but we all do.

He discusses this from the perspective of a person trying to fit into society.

I’d focus on blaming society and not the individual.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment