The Definition of Kitsch

kitschplay_w2(“K0080300”)    (kch)


1. Sentimentality or vulgar, often pretentious bad taste, especially in the arts: “When money tries to buy beauty it tends to purchase a kind of courteous kitsch” (William H. Gass).
2. An example or examples of kitsch.

Of, being, or characterized by kitsch: “The kitsch kitchen … has aqua-and-white gingham curtains and rubber duck-yellow walls painted in a fried-egg motif” (Suzanne Cassidy).

Dear Charlotte,

We’ve lived together now for over five years, and I think we’ve become quite familiar.  I am starting to understand your major roads and highways.  I even know how to get to that corner of the city where the highways don’t go.  I find NoDa quite charming and can honestly say it’s a regular visit for me.  I know why downtown is called Uptown.  I have visited the Levine Museum of the New South and have taken in your history from textiles to banking.

I understand that a big piece of your history and commerce comes from NASCAR.  I drive by the speedway on a regular basis — so much so that its size and scope don’t amaze me anymore.  I’ve even been to pole night once, and I have enjoyed Speed Street on a few occasions.

And yes, NASCAR is the only major sport that has completely sold itself out to sponsors.  Every inch of every uniform is covered in ads.  The cars are plastered with logos.  Even Pole Night was sponsored by someone, though it slips my mind which business it was.  It’s really part of the culture to reference your chosen sponsors and drink their beverage in front of the cameras.


Is it really necessary to have a sponsor’s name on the baggage claim conveyors at the airport?  REALLY?!

And then, as if that weren’t enough, to put ACTUAL BOJANGLES BISCUITS ON THE CONVEYOR?

You think it’s clever and kitschy, don’t you?  You had visions of white pasty Northern tourists coming south for a week in the sun and saying, “Oh look, the biscuits are coming out the oven/baggage area!  Isn’t that CHARMING, dear?!”

Can you listen to a little friendly advice?  REMOVE THEM.

Charlotte, you will never truly become a world-class city if this continues.  I was horrified to see this display as I returned home from a weeklong stay in one of the world’s greatest cities, New York.  They do not have biscuits on their luggage conveyors at LaGuardia.  They do not even have cheesecakes on them.  San Francisco International Airport does not have sourdough bread on their conveyors, either.

There are two things you need, in my opinion, to better yourself as a city.  One is some sort of large manmade body of water in center city.  Every great city has some water somewhere.  Just move Panthers’ stadium or something.

The other thing you need is TO GET RID OF THOSE BISCUITS.


8 Responses to “The Definition of Kitsch”

  1. Laura

    WOW! i have never seen them either, but I agree with you Kelly! that is NOT CLASSY! That is embarrassing!


  2. Rachael Starke

    What?! I'm seriously mystified. This was serious?? They were just plunked on the conveyor belt?? What were people supposed to do – pick them up along with their rollaways and nibble on them in the cab line??There was a local hardware store business in the news that got in trouble with the health dept. for giving out free coffee and donuts, but this is okay??


  3. Kelly

    They're giant biscuit stickers, to be clear. About 20 inches in diameter. And Rachael, I think it will be decades — perhaps even centuries — until North Carolina reaches the level of health-consciousness that California has. 🙂


  4. kellycowan

    Ha ha! I am friends with Michelle Bates and live in Seattle but am actually FROM Charlotte and luckily I thought this was hilarious :). How tacky are those conveyer belts!! They must be new because I've never noticed them. But…I do kind of want a bisquit…


  5. Jennie

    You are so hilarious! You are so observant and love hearing your perspective!!Perhaps those biscuits are just for returning natives to assure them they've made it back safe and sound to below the Mason/Dixon line and of course to remind them that their there is no place like home! When my mom moved back here after 5 years Vancouver, one of the FIRST things she wanted was a Bojangles Steak Biscuit! LOL! 🙂


  6. MovingtoN

    Looks to me like somebody's just thrown her hat in the ring to run for city planner…For the record, I like Bojangles, and I would have preferred to see borounds instead of biscuits.


  7. Megan Speicher

    HA HA HA!love it….baggage claim/oven and all:)!oh how i can't wait to be back in that city this summer…june 15th to the 24th, please tell you'll be in town??!!


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