Diana Sheron Fingar df632694 at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Sat Feb 26 16:00:04 UTC 2000

I'm sorry; I didn't mean to say that ALL knicknacks are tchotckes, or that
all the things you bring back from vacation are tchotchkes. Far from it!
Let me put it this way: all tchotchkes are knicknacks, but not all
knicknacks are tchotchkes. Tchochkes can be kitsch, but they aren't always
and neither is everything that's kitsch a tchotchke. One person's
"tchotchke" may very well be another person's "pretty" and vice-versa. But
tchotchke is definitely perjorative (not nice) and strongly implies ugly
and/or worthless junk. Again, what I think of as tchotchkes may not be
your definition: if you absolutely love a small plastic seashell with the
resort name written on it in glitter, that's fine and more power to you.
You would not call that a tchotchke and I would. The point is, it's not a
complementary term and so I'm confused as to why one would have an exhibit
of these items. It's like having a "Putz of the Year" award: who'd want to
win? (Note: "putz" = "penis", so colloquially it's equivalent to "dick.")

For what it's worth, good knicknacks that aren't tchotchkes are just
knicknacks (or statuettes or vases or figurines or anything else a
non-Yiddish-familiar person might call them).

I didn't mean to imply anything bad about anybody's taste.

Diana Fingar

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