Friday, June 27, 2008


Though I couldn’t immediately find it, I’m pretty sure I’ve already done a blog on this topic, talking about how warm and cuddly I always feel when beat over the head with the “cute” stick. It is apparently a given in the advertising world and on TV in general that I am incapable of recognizing “cute” when I see it unless my jaws are forced open and a gallon of the stuff is poured down my throat.

I know I have talked probably several times about weekend-morning kiddie programs hosted by absolutely adorable “little girls” who will never see 25 again, but seem convinced that by wearing their hair in pigtails or in those cute little side-buns and dressing like six-year-olds, no one will know the difference. (When I worked for the porn mill in Los Angeles, such attire was regularly featured in magazines appealing to men who I sincerely doubt watched weekend kiddie shows.)

And I know I have raled against those legions of recording “artists” who firmly believe wearing a baseball cap at any angle but straight ahead is the height of both “cute” and “cool.” Obviously they are correct, since I have not seen more than three baseball caps worn correctly in several years. Probably it’s just me.

There is an ad running currently on Chicago television for some phone company whose name I have blocked out of my head in rebellion. It features a guy who looks like he’s wearing a body-sized bowling ball. And he says he represents the “dot” in”dot com”. (“I used to be a period” he says, thus doubling me over with laughter.) But in case I don’t get it, a young woman passes by wearing…now get this…a polka dot dress, and he says (please keep up with me here, because the zingers just keep coming): “Hi, Dorothy.” Dorothy, get it? (Okay, okay, obviously you’re too dumb to figure it out: let me get out my blackboard and chalk. Follow along now: people named Dorothy are often nicknaked “Dot.” Get it now? No? Oh, forget the whole thing!)

The general assumption of our stupidity goes back to the days of radio when laugh tracks were invented. They are omnipresent today and an absolutely invaluable tool to the industry. They let you know when something is funny (“Those pants make you look fat!” .....Uproarious, prolonged laughter. “Yeah, well you ain’t so skinny youself!” Absolute pandemonium, screams and shouts and applause and guffaws that go on endlessly and reduce the amount of time and effort the writers would otherwise need to try to write something that is even vaguely amusing.)

TV programs like “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (the show’s title itself an oxymoron) often feature hilariously funny clips which are so obviously set up and staged you can see them coming a mile away…often enhanced by the cause of the cuteness glancing at the camera just prior to stepping on the rake or tripping into the swimming pool as if to assure the cameraman doesn’t miss it.

Ya’ can’t fake “cute.” Those velvet paintings of the little kids with the enormous eyes (usually with a tear at the corner), or those of the dogs playing poker, or those little “I wuv you” statuettes tend to induce projectile vomiting in me.

A puppy being a puppy, a kitten being a kitten, or a baby being a baby. Now those are the real thing, and you don’t have to grab me in a choke hold for me to recognize it. “Cute”, like any form of “beauty” is in the eye of the beholder, and I’ll decide for myself, thank you.

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