Geesh, I’m getting it in the ear for suggesting that the Gaffney Peach is ‘bad taste’. C’mon, it is bad taste, just like the hot dog car and those those bottles of holy water from Lourdes shaped like the Blessed Mother with the crown that unscrews.
The question is not whether it is bad taste or not, but whether it matters, and whether bad taste is okay. Now I agree with Thomas Traherne who said something like, “Can a man be just unless he loves all things according to their value.”
This is a wise saying, and my second favorite quote after, “A man is most often right in what he affirms and wrong in what he denies.”
If we love all things according to their value, then we can cheerfully love the Gaffney Peach and all other bad taste artifacts. We just love them according to their value, that’s all.
So what is the value of the Gaffney Peach? Well, it’s a cheerful, happy bit of vulgarity. It’s a great bit of public relations. It’s a comical piece of Americana, a monument to a cash crop, a local identity and a fun artifact, and a testament to American chutzpah.
Does it compare, say, to the Statue of Liberty, Mt Rushmore or the Lincoln Memorial? Nah, but it wasn’t meant to. Does it compare to the Sistine Chapel, a Raphael Madonna or Rembrandt’s head of Christ? Nah. It’s the Gaffney Peach.
So if I say it’s ‘bad taste’ that’s all I mean. I really do like the Gaffney Peach. Honest!
The principle is a good one though, when extended. If we want to know how much to value a movie, a book, a work of art, decide it’s intrinsic value and love it accordingly. Some stuff, therefore, we love simply as entertainment. That’s okay. Some stuff we love because it is so sublime that it is almost sacramental in its power.
Other stuff we ‘love’ not at all. If it is trash or absolutely negative in its influence, like Sex in the City, bikini mud wrestling, Stalin, or Taco Bell, well to love it according to its value is to hate it with a perfect hatred.