My "hostess" for SP9 has challenged us to post a picture of a tacky Christmas decoration. Which is perfect, because I was going to post about this little lady anyway.
She's a beaded Christmas Angel. I made her myself, from a kit Alexis sent me from LA. I know red, white and blue could signify a whole set of countries, but you can just tell she's all-American can't you? I whipped it up last weekend and, currently, it's our only decoration in the flat. I think this angel is extremely "tacky" for several reasons, and delight in her being so.
Firstly, there is her "patriotism". I've been listening to some BBC podcasts on American heritage. From a British perspective, the American concepts of national identify are fascinating, being so different from our own. This is especially apparent in terms of our relationship to the flag. The many flags of the United Kingdom are not, to me, celebratory symbols. We might, on occasion, wave them at sporting events or fly them on the top of a public building, but sporting ones are symbols of what team we support as much as anything else, and there are only very few public buildings that fly a national flag. Like many Brits, I'm very aware of the legacy of our flags as symbols of racism. Both in terms of feeling more than embarrassed by colonialism, but also in terms of far-right "skinheads" of the late 20th Century and nationalism debates today. That's a long-winded way of saying, personally, I don't associate flags with comfort, familiarity or really any particularly positive image.
Differences between UK and US attitudes to nationhood aside, surely appropriating religious symbols like angels* with the colours of the flag is a bit "tacky"? And if we do invest a lot of meaning in those stars and stripes, how can we make an allusion to it out of such cheap plastic?
Most of all, for all her plastic-patriotic angelic qualities, this lady is a secret punk. Her skirt is actually made from safety pins. You might be able to tell this from the shot I took up her skirt, although even then they are pretty hidden. Because, you see, our all-American fairy seems to have had a bit too much of the Christmas spirit and fallen over, told you she was a tacky lass. A right old lush, I bet you.
* I know we could also consider her a fairy, and as such a pagan rather than Christian symbol, especially if I put her on a Christmas Tree. I think my argument for her tackiness in this respect still stands.