Friday, March 12, 2010

Syllabus: Cute as Hell

A study of a compendium of the following:

  • Smurfs
  • Bjork, "It's Oh So Quiet"
  • Film: Babe: Pig in the City
  • The Cuteness of the Avant-Garde
  • toadstool mushrooms
  • miniature: small pies & muffins, pencils, miniatures taken out of their dollhouse context
  • animals: puppies, sleeping babies, baby pandas, koalas, otters, bunnies
  • Sad Little Breathing Machine by Matthea Harvey
  • Bows & bow ties
  • tv show: The Littles
  • Fashion: round collars, rolled pants, color!, ruffled bloomers, Mary Jane's, baby doll dresses, suspenders
  • Hair: pig tails, the bob
  • Film: Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • pixies & hobbits
  • eco-houses, houses built into the ground
  • butt cracks & short stubby hands
  • little bowls
  • plastic buttons
  • baby faced men: Matthew Broderick, Elijah Wood
  • cute women: women with short hair, manic pixie dream girl
  • Joanna Newsom: The Milk-Eyed Mender
  • candy
Course Objectives:

Is cuteness asexual happiness. Elisa Gabbert's post on cuteness here. Is calling something cute condescending. Does cuteness come from darkness. Cute: beauty plus pity. Are people who like cuteness to be trusted. Forced cuteness: dressing kittens in doll's clothing, kittens in mugs. Big people folding small people's laundry. Sesame Street: debate. How come being short is cute. Weigh in: the old man thinks Mia Farrow was cute in Rosemary's Baby. How come southerners are always calling things cute. Texture: wood v. plastic, suits v. dresses, linen v. silk. Animals that reach out to you. Do we all them cute because they can't talk. Any sleeping being, sleeping beings sleeping next to animals. Dogs who show guilt. Debate: leprechauns aren't cute b/c they are all-knowing. Is Tin Tin cute. Aw, reactions to cuteness: document. Anti-cute: children singing Christmas carols. Cultural cuteness: Asian girls, black babies. Cute irony: (Film) The Incredible Shrinking Woman. List: the new childishness. Genitalia v. butts: discuss.

9 comments:

Dan Magers said...

I've got to check out Cuteness of the Avant Garde. Figure 1a and 1b are a riot.

Farrah Field said...

Wish I could of thought of more music...

steven karl said...

Yes the Cuteness of the Avant Garde.

Dan- sent you the pdf many cuties ago.

Music... jpop (the way Asobi Seksu (often referred to as "dream pop" or "noise") suddenly becomes "cute" when the lyrics are in Japanese. Veronica was telling about the cute "boy band" craze while she was in Taiwan & Sueyeun Juliette Lee's new book is an interesting contrast between the "cuteness" of k-pop bands & suicide. How about movies?

Farrah Field said...

It's hard to think of movies that aren't kids' movies. What about Welcome to the Dollhouse? Amalie?

steven karl said...

Yeah, both of those movies definitely fit the criteria.

v said...

Asian boy bands! There are so many of them. Superjunior (k-pop) has like 500 members. Okay, maybe 13, but man, that's a lot of time spent on hair every day.

Both of those movies are cute but dark and vengeful - they're like mushrooms. Cute, but dark underside. Oh wait, you already listed mushrooms.

Indie rock is cute. What about Japanese fashion? Lolita/harajuku. Can we make something cute through appropriation. Are the 90s preppy look cute. Russian dolls? Small boxes? Anti-cute: high school girls.

Farrah Field said...

It's funny how some boy bands can be cute. Menudo, for instance. But no N'Sync.

Do you think real mushrooms are cute or fake ones? I've never seen a toadstool mushroom, you know, the little gnome homes, red with white spots, but I have a sewing pattern to make one. I think I would die from the cuteness if I saw a real one.

High school girls are not cute, but what about high school nerd girls? Often overlooked. They are pretty damn cute. They are good at math and sometimes play Dungeons and Dragons.

v said...

maybe it's a size thing with real mushrooms? portabello, not so cute. bella, pretty cute. toadstool mushrooms as represented in illustrations and mario games, VERY CUTE. "2D" mario, cute. "3D" mario, not cute.

v said...

maybe it's a size thing with real mushrooms? portabello, not so cute. bella, pretty cute. toadstool mushrooms as represented in illustrations and mario games, VERY CUTE. "2D" mario, cute. "3D" mario, not cute.