Is it possible to make a clear distinction between kitsch and sentimentality? It

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Is it possible to make a clear distinction between kitsch and sentimentality? It seems to me that many philosophers equate the sentimental with shallow and inauthentic, but I assume that most of them wouldn't say it always bad to be tenderly moved by a story or event. But at the same time it seems much popular literature, television, and film really aims to ratchet up the emotions: is this not problematic? Sorry, running different questions together, but I'm just trying to figure out how to understand when the sentimental is good and when it is not. Thank your for your interesting website.

I doubt that there is a distinction to be made between kitsch and the sentimental. What is wrong with these aesthetic categories is that they are so undemanding. I very much enjoy both, especially the little cute things one can hang from bags, like the small animals and symbols, and also the emotions induced by country music. Both readily produce pleasurable emotions in those conditioned to enjoy them, but they have no depth. Except for irony, there is no way of using them to extend our understanding of what we are seeing or hearing. That is not to say that there is anything wrong with them, it is just that they have a limited use and once that is over, they fail to resonate with us.

There is no good sentimentality. As Kant suggested, if we are to make aesthetic judgments we need to hold our feelings in abeyance.

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