Tuesday, 13 July 2010

"Cute" as an All-Purpose Superlative

I'm sorry, ladies (and twee gentlemen), but I can't take you very seriously when everything you like from kittens, to clothes to shirtless firemen apparently triggers some giggly maternal reflex.

Please try to emulate a semblance of intellectual worth by using more specifically expressive words so we have insight into why you like the things you like and stop wasting our semantic attention with what amounts to a satisfied grunt, devaluing yet another word.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

The New Infantilism

I'll admit that I'm something of a child. I like poring over gadgets, cars, helicopters and fighter jets, and I regularly make a detour past the toy section to see if there are any satisfying tiny versions of real machines I can't otherwise afford to own. I have told the occasional cashier that my purchase is a gift for a younger relative. I'm not proud of it. I'm vaguely concerned that someone's going to call the cops on the sinister adult male figure lurking in the toyshop fondling the blisterpacks.

All this said, I'm beginning to find the current trend towards an infantile iconography of style really worrying. You must have noticed it. Those overweening Apple ads with their twinkly, soothing, neo-folkie lullabies. The unbearably twee soundtrack of "Juno", featuring Kimya Dawson's glibly chirpy vocal stylings. The children's-chorus-escapee quacking of Joanna Newsom. The adult-hipster-targeted "Where the Wild Things Are" with hipster-approved soundtrack. Hello Kitty vibrators. Hell, Hello Kitty everything, snapped up in bucketloads by everyone from playful executives trying to cutesy up their thronerooms to goth princesses hoping to up their lolita quotient. The rehashing of toy-hocking 1980s cartoons as feature films. The explosion of shops selling cupcakes. Women's fashion reincorporating the babydoll dress, the empire line and gathering of toddlers' party dresses. The electric guitar has been usurped by the glockenspiel.

What's going on here?

I think we've got to the point where we're so far up our own collective recta in inoffensiveness that we seek to couch our beast urgings in unthreatening mock-playfulness. Cute is the new sexy, and it's fucking repulsive. It's repulsive on 21 year-olds who don't need to look any younger. It's repulsive on 40 year-olds who are fooling no-one. It's repulsive when it's megacorporations like Apple infiltrating the scene like John-Wayne Gacy in his clown-suit infiltrating a playground.

Is it because you all started sharing playlists and discovered that guilty pleasures were the new sophistication?

Stop it.