Jim Windorf at Vanity Fair: Is America’s obsession with cuteness a bad thing?

“You can take only so much sweetness before you crave something salty.” Deep ass truism, bruh.

Here is some more depth courtesy of Mr. Windorf:

A quick aside: maybe the cuteness has come for us because of the huge change we’ve gone through in the last decade in terms of our relationships with our machines. Those born in the 1960s or earlier remember a time when (even as full-fledged adults) they did not have something beeping in their pocket, a time when they were not tethered to the Web, a time when they could be truly alone. It’s not a new thing to note that machines have become an integral part of middle-class life in our increasingly digital age. But maybe this is another reason for the cuteness craze. Maybe the same anxiety that has given rise to the Matrix movies, to the latest Bruce Willis action vehicle, Surrogates, and even to highbrow works like Kazuo Ishiguro’s lovely novel Never Let Me Go is in play whenever we take solace in the kittens and puppies of sites like Cute Overload or Cute Things Falling Asleep, or turn our iPod wheels to the unthreatening and unmechanized sounds of Sara Bareilles. The cuteness craze may represent a nostalgia for a lost world. Or maybe we’re trying, in some pathetic way, to animate our machines, to imbue them with sounds and images that strike at the deepest part of what it means to be human: our desire to take care of helpless creatures. We’re like those office workers of the 1960s and 1970s who tried to beat back the alienation they felt as a result of being the first people to inhabit sterile-seeming cubicles eight hours a day by putting up that poster of the cute little kitten hanging from the tree.


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