Dreadful.

In 1998, at a Grandpa Pigeon’s store in Fairmont City, Ill., I ran across a clock with a gold plastic crucifix mounted inside a plastic shadowbox at the bottom, surrounded by red velveteen and mirrors and illuminated with red, yellow and green Christmas lights. At the time, I was convinced that it was the Holy Grail of tasteless home decor, and for reasons I still do not fully understand, I passed up the opportunity to buy it.

Early in our relationship, I told Ron about the clock. He assured me that it was not the Grail, because the last known sighting of the Grail had occurred in an antique store in Maine, sometime during the first Bush administration.

The Grail, Ron explained, is actually a plate. Specifically, it is a souvenir collector’s plate featuring a portrait of Jesus, holding a lobster in one hand and draping his free arm around Elvis Presley’s shoulders. Ron’s friend Mike is the only person we know who has actually seen this plate. Sadly, he apparently was possessed by the same evil spirit that led me to pass up the clock, so he didn’t buy the plate. Instead, he went back to his hotel room and thought about the plate. He thought and thought and thought about it. He thought about it all night, and the next morning, he went back to the antique store to buy it.

It was gone.

I didn’t find the Holy Grail today, but while we were at Family Dollar this afternoon, searching for something I needed for school, I found the next best thing:

forks1

Interestingly, that 1998 excursion to Grandpa Pigeon’s was actually part of a search I’d undertaken for a big wooden fork and spoon. I had become obsessed with finding a big wooden fork and spoon to hang on my kitchen wall. Big wooden forks and spoons are pretty common … unless you’re actually trying to find them. My family and friends, alerted to my quest, joined the search, which rapidly began to spin wildly out of control, as these things have a way of doing. I now own a collection of big wooden forks and spoons. I think the holy fork and spoon fit right in with the rest of the collection:

forks2

forks3

forks4

Ron thinks that the new fork and spoon are going to fall off the wall and kill Jason while he is eating. (His food bowl is near that wall.) I assured Ron that Jesus is not going to kill our dog. But if I am wrong, I think “Jesus’ Fork Killed My Dog” would make an awesome name for a rockabilly-punk-fusion band.

Emily

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10 thoughts on “Dreadful.”

  1. omg – this has to be one of the funniest collections i’ve ever seen .. i just love it to death

    my mohter has a very nice ‘Jesus’ clock … which i cringed at when she brought … it just doesn’t seem right somehow

  2. Ridiculous, isn’t it? I’m really fond of the way the tines on the Jesus fork are all different lengths, and the kerning on the letters on the handle is all jacked up. Clearly this is some excellent quality workmanship.

    I’m always baffled by products like this. Who is the target audience? Are there actually people out there who think this is a classy thing to put on the wall? Does anybody look at this stuff and think, “What better way to share the gospel than by screen-printing an image of Jesus on an enormous ceramic fork and spoon and hanging them on my kitchen wall?” Do people really buy foil-and-cedar art of the Virgin Mary and collector plates of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with a straight face? I’m dying to know. I have never, ever walked into anyone’s home and seen something like this on the wall. Maybe I’m just hanging out with the wrong crowd….

  3. i noticed the tines too …. makes it more special

    i must hang out with the wrong crowd too – although Daz’s mum has some ‘interesting’ things in her collection.

    for a wedding present – we got a scotch decanter set … the glass bottle was ‘crystal’ and it sat in a wooden flower of yellow petals … then… the flower was on FEET complete with claws .. it was the most amazing thing i’ve ever seen – and my girlfriend was so sure i would LOVE it …. it was HIDEOUS !!! i wish i’d taken a photo of it before it sadly got ‘broken’ ;-)

  4. Gosh, you guys are making me want to go home from work early and see if Hubby’s velvet JFK is still in the garage…maybe it can stand to see the light of day again…

  5. This kitsch (as a class, not pointing fingers at anyone in particular) really offends me. It doesn’t represent what I believe and I really wonder when people buy this stuff — in all seriousness, not seeing it for what it is — what it says about THEIR beliefs.

  6. I think these kinds of images often say something about a person’s age and/or socioeconomic class, and they certainly say something about a person’s taste, but I’m not sure they really say anything about the person’s beliefs.

    I’ve heard some devout Christians refer to Thomas Kinkade’s products as “fine art.” While I question the sincerity of a self-proclaimed Christian who preys on people’s ignorance and uses their faith to manipulate them into paying fine-art prices for mass-produced crap, I would never presume to question whether or not his customers are sincere in their faith.

    Some devout Christians collect Precious Moments figurines. If there is anything in this country tackier than the Precious Moments Chapel, I’m sure I’ve never seen it. (I’ll let you take a moment to let the magnitude of that statement sink in.)

    Women of a certain age frequently profess their love for Christ by decorating their homes with paint-by-number portraits of Jesus or limited-edition collector plates emblazoned with the Virgin Mary. These are the same women who teach Sunday school, lead the children’s choir, come early to prepare dinner on Wednesday night, stay late to clean up, organize all the baby showers, set the tables for all the cake-and-punch wedding receptions in the church basement, and just generally ensure that the rest of us have a church to go to. They are the most devout women on the planet, and I personally think the rest of us would be in a world of hurt without them.

    It’s not a huge leap from paint-by-numbers to foil-accented cedar art … from Precious Moments to polyresin truck-stop figurines of guardian angels … or from Our Lady of Guadalupe collector plates to ceramic forks and spoons screen-printed with crucifixes.

    Taste — like faith — exists along a continuum. I’m not sure either commodity is a predictor of the other.

  7. Amen. Kind of how you could always count on there being a pre-frozen ice ring in the church freezer waiting for a potluck dinner punch bowl to be dropped into…and Lord knows I never remembered to refill the thing after it got used. Somebody was watching that, and whoever it was probably owned a whole room full of Precious Moments figurines, judging from the vast number of PM ornaments that got handed around that church every Christmas. Someone’s divine purpose that day was to drive to the church and make sure the ice ring mold got refilled. Don’t kid yourselves, folks — that WAS a divine purpose executed out of love. God bless the little church ladies. :)

    Oh, and Emily–your brother-in-law wanted me to tell you he thinks “Jesus’ Fork Killed My Dog” would make a bitchin’ Facebook status update as well…

  8. Ah, well. Fair enough.

    Who was it that said “You can never go broke underestimating the taste of the American public”?

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