THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BAD TASTE by Jane & Michael Stern Stem


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The Sterns are back, laden with another bundle of souvenirs from their latest good-humored foray into tacky Americana--this time, an A-Z offering of ""bad taste"" items, fads, and personalities, from accordion music to zoot suits. As in their previous work Elvis World (1987), Sixties People (p. 36), etc., there's much nostalgia (bell-bottoms, Elvisiana, mood rings, perky nuns, Keane paintings, and so on), but there's also much to savor here of the contemporary kitsch life: maraschino cherries (""Who doesn't look for the maraschino cherry half when canned fruit cocktail is served, and who doesn't feel privileged if he gets it?""); Bob Guccione (who ""perfected male dÉcolletage""); surf 'n' turf (an example of ""classic kitsch: adding two swanky things together in hopes of doubling their value, and in fact winding up with a flatulent faux pas""). With 300 b&w and 50 color photographs, and a wide and imaginative array of entries--135 in all--this is delightful pop-cultural anthropology, the Stems' most entertaining work since Elvis World.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1990
Publisher: HarperCollins