First of all, I must tell you, that to me, a bathroom is a sacred space. I know several people who view the bathroom as a ‘magical’ room. My parents (who are likely not reading this - I hope!) have always referred to the bathroom as ‘the library’ based on my father’s practice of resorting to that mystical place of leisure to read his newspapers.
Yeah, he isn’t the only one, but no one talks about it... Or they make a crude comment to hurry the subject along...
Az & I both love books, & we feel no need to hide in there to read. Our kids respect a parent with an open book more than any closed door. So our bathroom is not the ‘library,’ it is the ’meditation room.’
I will openly admit my love for the private sanctuary of the bathroom. If your body is a temple, the cleaning of the temple ought to be a holy process, yes? And, ok, as a mom, it is (sometimes) the only place I am left alone. It is the one door they will knock on, and the only door that if I say ‘not now’ they go will retreat until I exit. I can soak in a warm tub of suds, slather on lotion, give myself a pedicure, and still no one will return to knock again... Since it is so special to me, I have always paid special attention to the room I lavish myself in.
But, it is still a bathroom. It isn’t all smelling of roses. (However, right now, our jasmine tree is blooming in there...)
What does any of this have to do with kitsch?
If kitsch is ‘bad taste’ then I believe the simple placement or use of an object can also make something kitsch.
So, our meditation room, filled with religious relics, would likely make folks shudder. See for yourself:
We use many differing religious &/or spiritual artifacts, so if we are going to hell, it won't just be Catholic Hell, it will be much more fun!
After all, are you really supposed to pee next to a crucifix?
Hey, some people do their best thinking on the can, why not use the Magic 8 Ball there? In the glass is a vaireity of computer chips & memory processors, topped off with a chain of holy relics. (Yes, a geek lives here!)
Yes, Virginia, that is a tapestry of The Last Supper used as a window treatment...
We have our own holy water!
Note: this does not face Mecca; it points to the south, so I can reach Eva Peron.
My pagan alter. Also, the missing head to Jim Morrison's grave. And the devil-red-boombox. All nestled under the jasmine tree.
No matter how high-brow-art a piece is, I can & probably will, turn it into trash.
Apparently I need not have worked so hard. According to Gillo in Kitsch: The World of Bad Taste, all religious items are kitsch:
"To say that all contemporary sacred art is kitsch might possibly seem slightly blasphemous; and yet this is precisely the opinion held by certain religiously & artistically enlightened monks... What unfortunately must inevitably make a considerable part of religious art kitsch, if not all of it, is that it is usually aimed at a public which, it is thought, ought to be fed with inferior products rather than with products of any artistic merit, for fear that anything 'new' in art may lead the faithful away from religion (or rather away from the ‘old’ element in religion)."
"From the point of view of taste, Christian kitsch does not pose a specific problem. Most of what is produced and offered for consumption today is tasteless. ...So churches and the faithful are simply staying within this same framework if they take kitsch into the realms of the mystical."
All I know is that if I had Elvis on velvet, to put next to my Jesus on velvet, I'd likely bring more asses to pews in my bathroom too.