I must have a Yiddish fairy godmother who brings Yiddish words into the path of my awareness.
Three weeks ago I read another Yiddish word. I loved it. I wrote it down so that I could look up its definition and then write about it here. But then, I couldn’t find where I had written it down. Was that Yiddish fairy godmother playing a trick on me? Or, was it a sneak preview to what Alzheimer’s would be like?
I looked in all the usual places — the little notebook I keep in my purse for just such use. I looked in the Excel file where I keep track of the words I share here. I looked in every folder on my computer. Zip. Nada. Gornisht (Yiddish for nothing).
Then, just moments ago, I opened up a program that I seldom use. Voilà! There was that Yiddish word . . . hiding from me. . . I have captured that recalcitrant word, put it in my Exel file, and am finally writing about it here. (Whew! What a long — and possibly unnecessary — introduction to the new word!)
And that word is kitsch (kich). Kitsch is a noun that means something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste. Costume jewelry that you might find at Wal-Mart could be called kitsch because the jewelry there is more faddish and ‘in.’ It appeals to people who are more concerned about getting something cheap than something of high quality and value.
Many faddish or ‘in’ clothing could be described as being kitsch. It has been created to appeal to popular taste. Music videos could fall into the kitsch category. As could Harlequin novels and recently elected U.S. presidents.