November 18, 2009
Coochie, coochie, coochie, coo!
Cute article in the December issue of Vanity Fair, by Jim Windolf entitled Addicted to Cute. In it, the author discusses the “tsunami of cute” rolling over modern America. “We’re drowning in puppies and kittens and bunnies and cupcakes.”
Try living with three little girls, Jim.
But seriously (if serious is possible in a story like this), the author is on to something. Cuteness has become more than just the providence of young girls and their grandmothers. All one has to do is look at how many immensely popular websites are devoted to cuteness or what the keeper of YouCan’tMakeItUp called “bittersweet sadness and heart-splosioning adorablosity.” She’s talking about a collection of photos featuring small animals in casts. Kittens with leg braces!
Windolf’s essay opens with a discussion about a YouTube video called “Hahaha.” Perhaps you’ve seen it. It’s about a laughing baby. It has over 100 million views. Apparently YouTube officials showed it to Queen Elizabeth when she visited their headquarters in London. She said it was “lovely.” 100 million views? Queen Effen Elizabeth? It’s a laughing baby, folks.
Where all this gets interesting is where you least expect it. Take the phenomena of the Mini Cooper and the Smart Car. These adorable vehicles come off the assembly line smiling and America can’t get enough of them. Low gas milage? Sure. But it’s their unabashedly cute aesthetic that is driving sales.
And speaking of cars, Wildoff points to the GEICKO Gecko as a commercial manifestation of the cuteness pandemic. Over the years the popular spokes-creature has evolved from skanky reptile to adorable critter. His color has been warmed, his scales diminished and his eyes widened. Bigger eyes are a surefire marker of cuteness. Just ask the Japanese. Hello Kitty!
Finally, consider our President, Barak Obama. That smile. That gleam in his eye. All that hope! Could the guy be any cuter? Yes he could. By adding the perfect American family, right down to a dog named “Bo.” Let’s face it: the edgiest thing about our President is his skin color. Obama is the Commander in Chief of Cuteness.
So, what is up? Is cuteness backlash to the crippling financial crisis? Lord knows that’s been depressing. Is cute the antidote? Can puppies and cupcakes take our frazzled minds off staggering unemployment and underwater mortgages? Do laughing babies and big-eyed lizards placate the unemployed? Obama’s been in the Oval Office a full year. If nothing else, Cash for Clunkers was a cute idea. Public Health Care not so much.
Whether cuteness is spoiling our country or merely distracting it, we can hardly avoid its presence. Or can we? I recommend a good zombie movie. Try Dawn of the Dead, the original or remake. Of course zombies are my answer for everything.