You have to know the rules of good taste to have bad taste. With good good taste, you just know the rules. You like something not because it’s worth money, but because you know its value, and you don’t care if anyone else knows it. You pull it off seamlessly without looking down on anybody.
Good bad taste is celebrating something without thinking you’re better than it. You think it’s so amazing, and you could have never even thought it up. But the people who have [this thing] have it without irony. And so you’re stupefied by it and you have to respect it because it is so peculiar and so weird and much crazier than you could ever think, but those other people think they’re normal.
Bad bad taste is condescending, making fun of others. An old plastic pink flamingo on a lawn that two older people have had forever is just good taste. But a plastic pink flamingo on a yuppie’s front lawn is bad bad taste. It’s not even the original—it’s mass produced, and they’re way too late on the joke.
So that’s the difference for me: if you’re celebrating something or you’re looking down on something.
John Waters in Rookie Mag.