Field of Science

Tacky is as tacky does

Garden gazing balls (even when the size of the one in Millennium Park), plywood cutouts of some one bending over in their garden, and, yes, especially, garden gnomes are tacky, as are plastic ducks and deer.  Sorry, that's just the way it is.  Not even the fact that after 100 years the Chelsea Garden Show is allowing celebrity decorated garden gnomes to be auctioned for charity changes the fact that they are tacky.  You have to take a large hop, skip, and jump to get from tacky to whimsical, which in gardens is actually OK.  Now you may ask how do you know what's tacky and what's whimsical?  A fair question, and the answer is simple enough: something has to be a bit clever, a bit creatively odd, a bit tastefully fanciful to be whimsical, and you know it when you see it.  Mostly you do not get whimsy ready made; it has to be transformed from ordinary, so there's a chance that a gnome decorated by Elton John just might make the grade to whimsical, or like Liberace, it may end up just wildly, fantastically, grandly tacky, but tacky nonetheless. Hope this raises a lot of money for a worthwhile charity because how else could Chelsea bear the indignity?   

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