Is Jabba the Hut cute?*
Here in the manse of fluffy dollars, the SB and I have been consuming mass quantities of pizza and quaffing copious amounts "frothy amber goodness" and musing on the question "what makes something cute?" Over at m.n.f.b. (my new favorite blog) Cute Overload, proprietor Meg has been compiling / developing something she calls "the rules of cuteness." And her timing seems just right.
You see, we're not really so interested in beauty anymore. I mean, we like it and all, but the question of cuteness -- Cuteness Studies, if you will -- seems somehow more relevant. I'm not sure why this is so. Perhaps is the post-Thomas Kinkaid, post-museum, post-mall, post-nature age that's made extra room in our imaginations for the cute. And, I'm working only on hunches here, but I suspect our interest in the cute will overlap with my interest feminist politics and the SB's fondness for all things Marxist.
Areas of interest:
--"cuteness" and capitalism. The whole point of fluffy dollars has been to investigate the connectedness between the fluffy and the dollar, so this question is particularly compelling. From the sheer delight elicited by seeing windows full of mass produced Totoros in Little Tokyo to the sheer horror of reading about the puppy mills that stock mall pet stores.
-- "cuteness" and sexuality. "cuteness" are a non-gendered category, despite it's associations with femininity and "girlie-ness."
-- "cuteness" and feminism. Riot grrl ("huggy bear" et al)
-- areas where the membrane between the cute and the grotesque seems incredibly thin or where the cute and grotesque actually overlap (i.e. Jabba the hut?)
-- the semiotics of cuteness, cross-pollination, and cooptation. Paris Hilton and Hello Kitty, Hello Kitty vibrators, ect.
-- "cuteness" and the categories of "human," "animal," and "other"
-- "cuteness" and youth, "cuteness" and wisdom
--"cuteness" and aggression or the transformation / perversion of something cute into something aggressive and evil (i.e. gremlins, Willow, Hillary Duff)
--"cuteness" and class
-- "cuteness" and propriety. Check out the comment thread from this post over at CO. I HATE it when people tell other people what to do! Yuck.
--"cuteness" as an elicitor of both euphoria and empathy (Awwww....)
This little investigation should pair nicely with our "cutie crack" feature. What do you think? Does cute make you high?
*for the record, I do not think Jabba the Hut is cute. He reminds me of snot or a flaccid penis. This is, I believe, a popular opinion. So then why did/do people think Ectoplasm (he has similar qualities), the little ghost from Ghostbusters, was/is cute?