Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Sweaters

So, we've seen the pro-Christ and the counter-Christ factions in the debate over the meaning of Christmas. What conclusion to draw from these ongoing struggles? I think the only right conclusion to be drawn here is that God sure allowed a whole lot of ugly ass Christmas sweaters to be knitted. Not your average Bill Cosby type Christmas sweaters in this case mind you, oh no! Ones with a nativity scene on it, which for the occasion I shall call a knitivity scene.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Reason For The Season

Just like the hard-line secularists, the politically engaged Christians waste no time and get right on the battlefield. Their message of course is the exact opposite however. A central mantra in their crusade is: "The Reason For The Season." Yes Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God is still no match for some good old clever rhymes.

PS: Hey, what do you know, this is the 200th post!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Keep Christ Out Of X-Mas

Okay I tried to keep Christmas out of my head but it is of course very hard. I guess it's a bit late to the party but during the holly jolly days I did come across some stuff that did fascinate me that indeed had to do particularly with Christmas. It seems to be quite a political holiday you see. There are all sorts of interests involved. First of course and foremost we have the Christians themselves who care to point out that it is a day that has all to do with Christ and nothing to do with anything else. Then there are those who believe in the almighty dollar and say hey that Jesus guy was great but you know what is even better? Spending all your money on crap! These I would like to call those with a capitalist interest. But then there is a third category, the secularists. These guys play hardball during the Christmas time it seems, desiring to undo the sacred meaning it holds, making sure no religious symbolism seeps into the public sphere. I guess this includes time as well as space, since they take no shit and aim to keep the Christmas time a secular time. I am always surprised at the... how shall I call it... determination of the various American lobby groups. There might be a deranged protester or two out here on the street but over there... well, see for yourself.

Not too sure about how old or new the text is, the illustration strikes me as 1960s-ish. Anyone got a better date on this, please share.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ronald Reagan's 1981 Christmas Speech

It fills me with joy to know that yesterday's post certainly did seem to stimulate the stomach with some readers. Some believe that erst kommt das Fressen, dan kommt die Moral, and since we seem to have das Fressen out of the way, let us now seek some moral inspiration for these the Christmas holidays. And where else to turn than to that president of presidents Mr. Ronald Reagan? Perhaps the climatic blend of theater, politics and religion - a mingling that according to for example R. Laurence Moore might date as far back as George Whitefield in the eighteenth century - Mr. Reagan was at the very least a fascinating figure. A fascist perhaps, yes, but still quite a fascinating one. Fascistinating if you will. Be your heart's feelings about the man as they may, let them all melt in this warm Christmas message that Mr. Reagan wishes to share with you!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Meat Nativity Scene

What am I thinking? It's Christmas time! I should be talking about Christmassy things! So let's get to it and celebrate first with this meat nativity scene. I have been holding this one in, saving it up for a special occasion, but I do believe the time is here. Feast your eyes my friends!

Also, I think I'll have to include this Christmas video from the Epic Meal Time show.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Vintage Chalk Jesus Lamp

This was not what I had in mind initially, looking more for Plokhorst lamp shades, but hey, who am I to argue with the Divine revelations that God had in mind for me? So this beauty came to me in my Google. In case you were thinking of buying it, I have bad news for you, it's already sold. Not to me though, unfortunately.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Jesus Christ Eastpak

From my high-school days do I remember there were some people that had this particular Eastpak. Usually it was a bit tongue-in-cheek, sort of making fun of how eccentric it was by wearing it. Perhaps the high-school playground conversation would go somewhere along the lines of someone half-laughingly asking "oh so you're a Christian?" and the wearer of the backpack answering in just as half-laughingly a tone "oh yeah I'm a tótal Christian" after which everyone would nervously laugh their pubescent identity crises away. Lately I've seen it again, when on my way to the university I frequently see a girl that has this one. Somewhere deep down in my heart of hearts I sort of hope that she did not choose this particular Eastpak for it's kitschy, campy, tongue-in-cheek qualities, that she is even blissfully unaware of such qualities and motivations, and that she just really loves Jesus. I'd imagine her getting her books from her backpack in preparing to study and then putting the backpack in a spot where she can still see Jesus and she would smile at him kindly. I hope she is comforted by the thought that no matter what happens, Jesus got her back.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Buddha Bikini

So yesterday I talked about the Lakshmi swimsuit. I wondered if this was the only swimwear with religious imagery printed on it out there. Heavens no! Next one I found was this Buddha bikini. The choice of placement of Buddha on that first one is ummm... striking.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lakshmi Swimsuit

When talking to a friend from India, I asked how she felt about Buddha being positioned next to some oeh la la undies (that I talked about in this post). Blasphemous she thought, to be sure. She also cared to remark that the Indian population tended to look upon the West with utter bewilderment "when u made bikinis out of goddess pictures." To which my reply obviously was: "We did?!?" Oh indeed we did! The swimsuit was designed by Australian fashion designer Lisa Blue.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Women's Christian Temperance Union

At the end of the nineteenth century (post-bellum), there was a lot of controversy surrounding alcohol in the United States. It was perceived by some (and you might say more specifically by pious women at the time) as a social problem. Men were out boozing while the women were at home with the children worried about their husbands. Some say there are also (feminist) politics involved, in that it was a way for women (and one by God approved) to exercise power and authority over their husbands. Arguably also these temperance movements culminated in the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919, leaving the United States a dry nation. That didn't last long though.

One of the organized forces that tried to battle the bottle in the late nineteenth century was the Women's Christian Temperance Union, better known as the WCTU of course in the ever-so-abbreviations-happy United States. The artwork (and let's not forget photography!) surrounding this union is quite amazing.


 I wonder if any lips touched theirs at all really.

 Carrie Nation going around wrecking liquor bars with her hatchet!

 Pioneering women Frances Willard

 Great detail from a larger print.

Smash it up!

The WCTU made use of quite militant imagery. The lady up there looks like a knight! I bet today it would be considered a terrorist organization. These ladies were a force to be reckoned with indeed. What strikes me most about the photographs though is the deep deep bitterness. In part probably because they were, but perhaps also because the "smile for the camera" ideal was not yet in place. They were miserable and they were going to show it! Ah what times of honesty they were!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Buddha's Brassieres

Siddhartha Gautama was a member of a wealthy royal family in India. At one point in his life, he found a poor man, a sick man and a dead man laying next to a road. This led Siddhartha to ponder on life and death. He abandoned his life of wealth, secluding himself in the woods devoted to a life of poverty trying to come to terms with life's conditions. After a while he realized that it is not wealth nor poverty that can lead to a happy life, and he devised a golden way, in the middle of all extremes. It is also said that he realized that to live is to suffer and that this suffering is increased by being attached to things. This man is more popularly known as Buddha.

This is the short short version, based on what I remember reading about it. There is more to say about it of course. The story struck me as intriguing, I must admit. I felt it was a brutally honest story in a way, placing death and suffering center stage on the theater of life. It is for this reason then, that I wonder: What the hell is Buddha doing in a lingerie shop?

I passed this store up and couldn't help but think: Buddha, what are you doing in there? How did you get there? Now I don't like contrasting "true" Buddhism to "false" Buddhism, I just think there are a lot of Buddhisms out there, just like with all other religions. But, judging from the popular story above about the life of Buddha, I really wonder why a lingerie store would want him prominently featured in their display. What could have made them choose to do this? Buddha is a popular boy anyway. When I walked around in a popular neighborhood and I sort of casually tallied Buddhas vs. Jesuses, Buddha won by a landslide! But why? What do people want to express when they put a Buddha statue in their windowsill or in their display? That they associate with spirituality but not necessarily with tradition? That they are "thinking outside the box" because of this? That they value peace, a value attributed to Buddha, or that you will feel relaxed like Buddha the moment you put on one of their bras? That acknowledging the centrality of death and suffering to life is no reason not to still look just absolutely smashing and gorgeous? I don't know about the truth of any miracles that are attributed to him but appearing next to a decapitated mannequin with no limbs and just some undies on is quite a miracle he pulled off indeed!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

From My Own Backyard: Heart Hangers

We got these in some time ago. I really wonder under what neon-color paint explosion Catholic rock they find these things. It's really an assault to the eyes. And in case the title made you wonder what purpose these things serve, let me tell you: none whatsoever. They are just there to destroy your eyesight.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Virgin Mary Sex Doll

As it turns out, I have quite a lot of allies in my quest for kitsch meets religion. I was already aware of blogs such as Codex and Scotteriology, and recently I found JesusJunk too. One I didn't know yet was weirdreligiousthings. It seems young and ambitious and kitschiously delicious. Now, I am not a fan of reblogging, but there was one find on there that I cannot pass up unnoticed. Just by the time you think you've seen it all, you stumble upon this. And yes folks, it really did blow my mind. My mind, mind you, and nothing else! ;) All kinds of Marxist questions came to my mind like who made this and who buys this and who made all those pictures and on what graveyard!?

Is it me or does she really kinda look like Courtney Love?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Baby Krishna

Today I was flipping through a book at the local ramsj section. Guess that's a local Dutch term but I think you can figure out what it means. Anyway, this book was one about pictures of babies in Indian art. A deliciously kitschiously book by itself. However, I noticed there were a lot of pictures of baby Krishna in there. Now previously, I wrote that I can never find any art outside of the religions most familiar to me that strike me as kitschy. I take that back now, these images of baby Krishna were actually sentimental enough to cut it to the kitsch. Something else that struck me was that all these images of Krishna depict him rather, well, feminine. I know of the whole feminine Christ vs. masculine Christ discussion going on, but this doesn't seem to be limited to only the Christian religion. I wonder why the baby Krishna is depicted as so female, sometimes it's just really hard not to think he's a baby girl. I do think Freud, who indeed has had quite an influence on the field of religious studies, had a few things to say about this. Something along the lines of the idea of the mother giving protection being projected upon the idea of a God looking out for you. I don't believe in psychoanalysis but I can't deny it's tempting to invoke his theories in this case. Anyway, enjoy baby Kitschna!

In case you were wondering, the pictures of baby Krishna with the butter refer back to a story of him stealing butter from the Gopis. Not sure what the meaning is there though. Don't know much about what all the other symbols like the birds and the feathers are meant to represent either . In case you were also wondering, yes that winking Krishna is quite disturbing , just about as scary as all the animated Christian gifs. By the way, if there is anyone out there with some Photoshop skills, please shop one of these baby Krishnas into a Christian nativity scene replacing the baby Jesus!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Heart Belongs To Jesus

Ladies and gentlemen of the public, it seems as though you want some personal recognition. And so you shall receive it. The previous post was on Christian embroidery and indeed one pivotal piece was missing that someone was kind enough to make for me while on an embroidering spree (and no folks, she's not 80 years old yet). I didn't know if its reproduction would go appreciated though, so cautiously I didn't include it. But since the producer herself is demanding it be published, then by all means, let the world behold your Good Works dear. ;)

I must admit it is the winner compared to the others in that previous post. I can't remember who is the rightful owner of that thumb though, her or yours truly.

Christian Embroidery

It's not uncommon to run into those framed embroidery renditions of Christ or the Virgin Mary when you walk around sometimes, usually you see it hanging in someone's hallway or when you look inside someone's house, usually hung in a place of pride. I can very much imagine old 80 year old ladies patching away their retirement days. Found dead one day with their needle still in their rigor mortis hand. The ones I found just now are nice but I've seen far better in the wild. Striking that a lot seem to be from the Orthodox Church rather than from the Catholic or Protestant.