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April 22, 2013


even when she was (objectively speaking) still squashed and purple-looking

We referred to our first son as a gila monster soon after his birth. The second son is just "the monster" for other reasons.

My mother called her three boys "the monsters" well past puberty (you know, when we pretty much were).

Someone noted that one of the transformations that Disney characters, most notably Steamboat Willie to Mickey Mouse, was that all their features became infantilized.

I remember when our first daughter was born and my wife was breast feeding and we were talking a walk and saw someone walking 4 or 5 baby dachshunds or some similar long short legged dogs and she actually said 'ouch' cause her breasts hurt.

I'm still trying to crack the code of Japanese kawaii but I think it will take me another lifetime here.

I am very reactive to cuteness in animals without being reactive to human babies. Just a deficet in me, I guess.

On the other hand i just got through reading a book about Stalingrad and the only part that made me cry was the description of the nine hundred some kids that cam crawling out of the rubble once the Russian forces fially prevailed. The author describe them as nearly feral, unable to make eyecontact, ready to bolt and flee like stray dogs. Those kids survived the fighting on their own by eating dead hourses and dogs and by making little caves i the rubble. Of the nine hunded plus only nine were reuintied with family. That's really haunting me even those it happened a long tiime ago.

My physical anthro professor pointed out that many of the physical differencences between us and chimps and bonobos are "cuteness" differences -- humans retain in adulthood many of the characteristics of baby chimps.

I'm with Laura in not finding newborns cute; I wonder if she, like me, is delighted by toddlers.

"Lucy Morgan" comment above this one is link spam.

IIRC, the essay about the gradual infantilization (neoteny) of Mickey was written by Stephen Jay Gould, and appeared in Natural History magazine.

Google says: yes. I't's here in smeary pdf, and collected in his The Panda's Thumb

Joel, I'm afraid I'm not automatically responsive to toddlers, either. I tend to assume that they will be annoying until otherwise is proven.

I think I just don't like humans very much. Exceptions for individuals, of course.

What, no link to Cute Overload??


The fact that I (and others) find cats cuter than other people's babies seems odd. It suggests that animal and baby cuteness have different causes. (One could stem entirely from culture - but how? And why did people domesticate various animals in the first place?)

Possible I should analyze this more thoroughly before proposing an answer. But I have heard people talk about the, er, Excel Saga hypothesis.

Well, everyone knows that cats domesticated us not the other way around ;-)

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