October 31, 2010

The Great American Tchotchke Debate

A Bunch of Tchotchkes
*Also known as a Bunch of Crap
*Except for the Banana Mouse, All of American Origin
Jack Ass Tchotchke
*Possibly Made in America
I recently came out of the closet and confessed on I Antique Online that I was a Tchotchkaholic. I had no idea that there were other like-minded people like me. It was a relief to finally stand up and be accounted for because I am a Tchotchkologist and have been one all my life. I even left my gainful employment in the corporate world (okay, so I was downsized three times) to ply my love of Tchotchkes as a full time business, although my brick and mortar shop is also my home and a front for my writing. But then I began surfing the Internet and found that entire world of late is capitalizing on the word Tchotchke.

Bobble Head Tchotchke
*Can be Purchased in Washington, D.C.
First the American government has been referred to as "The Tchotchke Economy" perhaps because people everywhere are getting in on the Tchotchke band wagon and making money off of President Obama and other political figure souvenirs.  Contrary to Urban legend - a Tchotchke is not a piece of worthless crap, nor is it simply a knick knack, trinket, toy, gimmick, or promotional item, which serves little or no purpose such as bobble-heads or the giveaways at trade shows. I for one am tired of the word being bandied about and it is time to set the world straight on the true meaning of a Tchotchke.

Bull Tchotchke
*Possibly Made in America
Some resources claim the word Tchotchkes only invaded our culture since the 1960s.  In reality, Tchotchkes  have been around since the beginning of time.  For instance archeologists make a living out of studying artifacts left behind by the first people on earth and still are not quite certain as to the true meaning as to why small pieces of bone, shells, made into beads and other small items were carefully laid in patterns inside caves or burial tombs. Fact is these were the very first Tchotchkes, are universal and found everywhere. Michael Quinion from the website World Wide Words offers that a Tchotchke, "It’s one of those delightful Yiddishisms that do so much to enliven American prose." Wikipedia further claims otherwise that this is a derivative of tzatzke and that "the term could be construed as a more dismissive synonym for bimbo" meaning a slut.  

Gator Eating Bull Tchotchke
*American Made late 1960s
I beg to differ with Mr. Quinion, wikipedia, and others who are self-proclaimed experts because my mother's family was not Yiddish but of Slavic and Russian decent. My Great aunt, Tante who came from Russia to live with my family when I was a child and who did not speak English, called me her 'Tchotchkeleh.' My mother said it meant that I was an adorable little girl and would  grow up into an attractive, unconventional woman, which I did so this should eliminate any reference to a Tchotchke being a toy or excuse me, a piece of crap.

1 comment:

  1. If you are looking for the interesting facts about literature world, don't hesitate to click here american writers to read an article!