Ask A Genius 265: Why is Kitsch?

In-Sight Publishing

August 20, 2017

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: So, can you explain to me again what the hell is Kitsch? How does it differentiate from quiche? Why are we talking about it?

Rick Rosner: Quiches is an egg pie. Kitsch is easily appreciated pandering to the easy emotions art. Like cute puppies, cherubic figurines that your grandma, your unsophisticated grandma likes. Last time we talked, we talked about how kitsch is an endorsement of order that you have to have these fragile glass figurines, though kitsch can apply to any art.

It doesn’t have to just be breakable art. But it endorses things like love and beauty and kindness and innocence and flowers and babies. Part of my thesis here is kitsch provides a touch of order for people, maybe, who have less order in their lives or less satisfaction in their lives than they’d want to.

I think the last time we talked about how Michael’s the crafting store – and it applies to Hobby Lobby too, these giant craft stores. So, you can always find people in there who have been disappointed in other areas of their lives, disdained by their families or spouse, unsuccessful in other areas.

But you can always scrapbook or make stuff. It’s pretty. So, the opposite of kitsch is sophistication and sophisticated art, which embraces hard to appreciate aesthetics and themes. It’s for people who have order to spare.

It’s like bragging. But I don’t need any extra order in my life because I’m rich, well-educated and I have control of my life. So, I have the sophistication to appreciate art that ponders less easy to comprehend sensibilities and certain sentimentalities.

You can make a case that it’s like Thorsten Veblen and his theory of the leisure class that you’re not really rich; unless, you can afford to squander money on bullshit. So, people who spend hundreds of thousands or millions on art where the aesthetic satisfaction is hard to find or where the easy appreciation is undermined by sneering irony like Jeff Koons stuff.

These are people who have enough resources in the rest of their lives that they can show that they have sophisticated taste. They don’t need to resort to cheap kitchen sentimentality. They can buy expensive, nihilistic or sophisticated stuff that explores darker themes.

Now, that’s my thesis that sophisticated art says, “I have order to spare. I don’t need to resort to cheap satisfaction and cheap sentimentality. I have power in the world.”

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


(Updated July 25, 2019)

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.*

According to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing hereRick G. Rosner may have among America’s, North America’s, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher HardingJason BettsPaul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writers Guild Awards and Emmy nominations, and was titled 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Directory with the main “Genius” listing here.

He has written for Remote ControlCrank YankersThe Man ShowThe EmmysThe Grammys, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He worked as a bouncer, a nude art model, a roller-skating waiter, and a stripper. In a television commercialDomino’s Pizza named him the “World’s Smartest Man.” The commercial was taken off the air after Subway sandwiches issued a cease-and-desist. He was named “Best Bouncer” in the Denver Area, Colorado, by Westwood Magazine.

Rosner spent much of the late Disco Era as an undercover high school student. In addition, he spent 25 years as a bar bouncer and American fake ID-catcher, and 25+ years as a stripper, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television. Errol Morris featured Rosner in the interview series entitled First Person, where some of this history was covered by Morris. He came in second, or lost, on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? over a flawed question and lost the lawsuit. He won one game and lost one game on Are You Smarter Than a Drunk Person? (He was drunk). Finally, he spent 37+ years working on a time-invariant variation of the Big Bang Theory.

Currently, Rosner sits tweeting in a bathrobe (winter) or a towel (summer). He lives in Los AngelesCalifornia with his wife, dog, and goldfish. He and his wife have a daughter. You can send him money or questions at LanceVersusRick@Gmail.Com, or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Founder, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight Publishing and Editor-in-Chief of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal (ISSN 2369-6885). Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and the advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.


[1] Four format points for the session article:

  1. Bold text following “Scott Douglas Jacobsen:” or “Jacobsen:” is Scott Douglas Jacobsen & non-bold text following “Rick Rosner:” or “Rosner:” is Rick Rosner.
  2. Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott.
  3. Footnotes & in-text citations in the interview & references after the interview.
  4. This session article has been edited for clarity and readability.

For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:

  1. American Psychological Association. (2010). Citation Guide: APA. Retrieved from
  2. Humble, A. (n.d.). Guide to Transcribing. Retrieved from

License and Copyright


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at and


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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