American Kitsch: Pink Flamingos

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Imagine an exotic pink flamingo - made of plastic - proudly adorning your garden or lawn.

The plastic pink flamingo is considered bad taste by many people and admired by others as retro cool. As a symbol of American kitsch, it has remained inexplicably popular for 53 years. The original flashy flamingo was sculpted in 1957 and 30 million have been sold since then.

Pink flamingos have a special place in the history of my old school, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1979, as students walked the campus on their first day of classes, they were greeted by an unbelievable sight: 1,008 pink flamingos covering Bascom Hill (see photo). The idea was devised by two students and is remembered as a wildly popular and legendary prank (joke).

If you have any examples of kitsch in your country, please let me know!


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