So let’s continue our redecoration of Sally’s House with crosses. The picture I thought I had found of the house yesterday turned out to be her old house; her new one is much lovelier.
And lovelier still, will it be, when we’re done?
Thanks to some readers’ suggestions and a few Internet searches, here’s another good coffee table:
With a table lamp for one side of the sofa:
(What are those yellow hanging things? Lucky Rabbit’s Feet?)
and another table lamp for the other side:
A wall mirror:
A wall clock:
Add a couple vases:
and we’re set: an entirely cruciform living room.
Two things struck me while searching for Sally’s items.
The first is that nearly all the objects are tacky—but, at least for these living-room furnishings, the tackiness comes mostly from the hipster, would-be artiste end of things. Mockers of Christianity, for the most part—although all of them, as artistes, claim that some deep thought is instanced in their work.
There’s an easy moral equivalence, of course: A remarkably similar point is being made by both the objects marketed to a perceived audience of naive and vulgar believers and the objects marketed to perceived audience of ironic and sophisticated non-believers. And that point is that the Cross means something.
As it happens, the meaning for the believers is larger; it’s metaphysical and religious, while the meaning for the non-believers is, at most, historical and political. But this has the curious result of making the non-believers’ ironic use of cross shapes more inclusive, for the irony can encompass almost any Christian object. This is the pattern, for example, that Sally and I have both seen with buyers on Ebay purchasing old religious objects—relics and altarware, typically—for display in their homes: often genuinely beautiful antiques, thickened, for their purchasers, with the irony of their origins.
Thus, for a wide range of the cruciform furnishings I’ve been finding in this game of “Decorate Sally’s House,” the object must come from the ironic non-believers: Given their sense of the divine expressed in the cross symbol, believers simply aren’t going to make things, for instance, like those lounge chairs, in which the user assumes the position of Christ.
The second thought that occurred to me involved the fact that it was difficult to find all these objects, until I realized that searching for “crucifix furniture” was better than searching for “cross furniture.”
Didn’t see any crucifixes in what I posted, did you? The misuse of the word crucifix to mean cross is interestingly widespread these days—and it may reflect, I think, the extent to which Mainline Protestantism has declined and Catholicism taken its place as at least the visual and artistic image of Christianity in America.
But more on that later. In the meantime, my actual desire to purchase any of these cruciform living-room objects is pretty low.
[Ranking: 12 out of 100]