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Published July 29th 2021
Australia - source: Pixabay.com.
Some Australian souvenirs can be so tasteless, while others are indeed excellent. It can be a discomforting feeling when seeing a t-shirt with a really silly slogan, a bawdy postcard or even bawdy aprons - or the international fame of Fosters yet seeing it seldom move on the shelves of Australian bottle shops!
There are several silly slogans that have been printed on the front of a baseball cap. I think it's possible for everyone to have seen something along those lines, so this is a chance to share some of the most tasteless pieces of nostalgia - perhaps to get us to think about why they continue to circulate and reappear. Tacky and not-so-designer Aussie products appear in souvenir and general shops Australia-wide, as well as online.
Tasteless or tacky items, regarded as more commonplace decades ago, can't really reduce their aesthetic impact - and that's because people obviously can choose what they buy and consume and that probably doesn't appeal to other people's tastes. I think things such as cheesy gifts keep Australians level-headed yet one can make a profit from selling tasteless souvenirs - a sign people have tolerance of strange or unordinary things when it helps to bring people down to earth. Tacky souvenir shopping can also involve the idea of receiving an unwanted gift.
Some ideas on gift-giving are listed on easierwithpractice.com, but that doesn't cover intentionally giving unwanted gifts, but they aren't always mean either - deliberately giving unwanted presents could easily be done to get someone to think about being greedy or have a cultural meaning or as a non-violent way of fighting back. But I am not sure if a whole market could be based on this. It's an interesting market, that of the tastelessly designed, and, I think sensibly, it's sometimes genuine and other times catering for the need for unwanted gifts.
On that note, there certainly has been some 'levellers' or unorthodox gift ideas over the years. Australian souvenirs bring up more than eleven million results on a Google Search at the time of writing, while Australian gifts is more than 200 million results. If there were any natural obstacles faced over this then my concept was given a serious boost from seeing the unusual gifts section on www.souvenirsaustralia.com/novelty-other/unusual-gift-items.
On that link, you'll see bottle openers that use strange designs based on Kangaroo body parts, a cane toad coin purse (with legs), Aussie meat pie lip gloss, and while I thought novelty upside-down world maps and Sydney Harbour Bridge coat hangers were creative, Kangaroo anatomy gifts were quite frequent in the product range. So I realised, this was quite a question, and perhaps even some more ideas from other places might really get others thinking and recalling things that weren't upsetting, but not tasteful and very memorable.
But are tasteless souvenirs just an Aussie phenomenon? The answer is a resounding no. Americans have lots of them, so do the British, but because those nationalities are familiar to Australians due to music, Hollywood movies, British comedy and sports and having English as the most commonly spoken language, that is a bit more understandable or acknowledged.
For the globe, it turns out they are everywhere as seen on the travel blog flightsandfrustration.com. Is it more memorable for bad taste to occur in Australian gifts? As an example, because Kangaroos are uniquely Australian, then unusual Aussie souvenirs like unusual Kangaroo ones really become quite notable. I think it's safe to say that lots of things indeed are uniquely Australian and that's why the few bad taste items from Oz are so extraordinary in effect.
Sleepy kangaroo closeup - source Pixabay.com
Some gifts are the black sheep - source Pixabay.com.
I think ultimately though, Aussie souvenirs are memorable because they usually and clearly get good manufacturing, safe design and in terms of holidaymaking a really good theme - the beach, the outback, the wildlife, even gum trees and Australian foods can be a bit of a basis of some great gift designs yet oppositely for wacky souvenirs. That range of ideas becomes an interesting point about weird memorabilia, when applied to the Australian souvenir scenario.
There is also pop music, soap operas, sports as bases for souvenirs to name a few and I think that is why when analysed in a more global sense that it's an interesting effect. Globally, there is good and bad taste everywhere, in an Australian tourism context, it's noticeable, and makes me wonder what is the most tasteless Australian souvenir? It's a question that ventures to the unknown - with so much personal taste involved yet so many design mistakes are possible, including from a really silly logo to a derogatory bottle opener related to Kangaroos.
Displeasing, yet with two feet on the ground, source: Pixabay.com.
The word tasteful is about good aesthetics and behavior. It will indeed be interesting to hear about the many encounters people have with gifts of poor taste, poor design or even obnoxious in presentation, yet it's also a fun shopping and travel question that will not change this phenomenon, yet may justify or help ponder such somewhat tasteless occurrences.