Friday, April 25, 2008


It was Dorien’s godfather, Oscar Wilde, who said: “A cynic is one who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.” Well, I know the value of a good many things, so I hope I don’t quite qualify under Oscar’s definition. However, someone else (it may also have been Oscar, but I'm not sure) said: “A cynic is a frustrated romantic,” and with this sentiment I concur completely.

I hate being cynical, but I am, far more often than I would like. It comes, I suppose from years and years of exposure to unrelenting hypocrisy, lies, greed and manipulation. Make no doubt, I am still a confirmed, rock-bound romantic and I still think there is more good than evil in the world but oh, my, it does seem to get harder and harder to hold on to unadulterated optimism as the years accumulate.

I saw a commercial the other day so seeped in “cute” that it should have carried a warning for diabetics. That I cannot recall what it was or what was being sold is a credit to my mind’s ability to totally block out what I don’t want to remember. Lord, but I hate “cute”!

Well, let me rephrase that: natural cute, as in babies and puppies, is fine. Forced “cute”…wearing baseball caps sideways ala multi-billionaire recording “artists” who can’t string a simple sentence together without several insertions of “ya’ know what I’m sayin’?” and seem incapable of pronouncing the word “ask” …induces in me the urge for projectile vomiting. And I’m not being racist in this: some years ago there was a white rapper named, I think, Vanilla Ice who, aside from his totally ridiculous hairdo, was a rather nice looking guy if you saw nothing more than a mug shot (and as I recall he had several, not all willingly posed). But his actions were just so with-it-cool-man-give-me-five-ya-know-what-I’m-sayin’ that I lump him in with those other cretins. It is not the color of the skin but the quality of their public persona that revolts me. Girls, I understand, thought Vanilla ice was “cute.” They were wrong.

TV has made a cult of “cute” on the assumption that “cute” sells. They inundate us with “cute” commercials featuring “cute” actors and actresses (and I am being charitable here) saying and doing “cute” things.

Kids programs are especially egregious. The “hosts” of weekend morning kids shows are typically really “cute” girls who think that dressing like an apprentice tart and wearing pigtails can hide the fact that they’ll never see 25 again. They address an audience of twelve year olds who are encouraged to look like they are 25. How can one see these things and not be tempted to cross over to the Dark Side?

CBS’s “Sunday Morning” is one of my favorite programs, but one of their featured “reporters” is a man called Bill Geise/Geisse/Ge...whatever: I take the fact that I have no idea of how he spells his name to be an indication of my opinion of him) who always hosts those folksy, down-home, good-ole boys segments which CBS apparently things are really, really cute. The segments subject may have some value, but Geise/Geisse/Whatever’s presentation goes far beyond “cute” to redefine the words “cloying” and “smarmy”. The man is the equivalent of chewing tinfoil, and I often knock things over in my rush to hit the channel changer.

Does this make me jaded? A bad person? A grump? Aw, hell…bring out those kittens!

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