From the Braver Institute
Wait, that is not entirely true, I should rephrase that. I am seriously annoyed by things that are artificially cute. Things that are created or manufactured to be cute I find truly nauseating. Things that are cute naturally are fine: babies, puppies, women. Things that are made up of contrived cuteness are not: toys, boy bands, women.
The paintings of big-eyed kids back in the 60’s were the pinnacle of sickening cute. They had creepy, pouty looks on their faces, and those big eyes made them look like they were about to start crying, even if what they were doing was supposed to be fun. For some reason paintings of kids who are about to cry while doing fun things are cute.
Things that have cutesy names can be particularly annoying. Arby’s fast food restaurant chain offers a condiment that they everso cutely call Horsey Sauce. I’m here to tell you that even if it was made of 100% pure bacon, and hundred dollar bills were handed out with each serving, I would never eat anything called Horsey Sauce. I am assuming that it is horseradish sauce, and horseradish sauce is a wonderful thing unless it is trying to be cute by calling itself Horsey Sauce, and then it is just plain repulsive. I am a little surprised by this choice of name especially from a restaurant that is named after roast beef. Roast beef, thankfully, is not cute.
The thing that set me off on this whole rant is an annual Thanksgiving Day footrace held in many places around the country known as the Turkey Trot. For some reason the organizers of these events cannot just call it the Thanksgiving 5k or 10k, or whatever the length may be. No, they opt for something that is cutesy and not at all clever. I cannot imagine anyone who would not ordinarily enter a footrace deciding to enter this one because it is called the Turkey Trot. The merits of its name are not enough to make people want to sign up. On the other hand I can imagine people who would not enter it because of the name. The name Turkey Trot is enough to get some people to run— but not in the race. These people would run far, far away. I would be one of them. On top of that, turkeys don’t trot. Trotting is for the aforementioned horsey. I must admit that I would enjoy watching a foot race called the Turkey Trot as long as its participants were indeed required to trot.
It reminds me of another race that is held before the Independence Day parade in my hometown of Marquette, Mich. (and probably elsewhere since the world seems to be full of event organizers who are desperate to attach what they feel is a clever name to that which they feel needs to be clevered up) known as the Doggie Dash – a foot race where people run with their dogs.
Now that I think about it, there is also an outdoor art show in Marquette the name of which makes me insane. It was supposed to be the winter counterpart to the annual Art on the Rocks show (which is a fine name). The name of this winter show is Glacier Glide. I cringe just typing it. Yes, this entire region was once covered by glaciers, but it is hardly a name you would associate with anything in the Upper Peninsula now, and it has even less to do with art. I don’t know what would have been wrong with a name like Art on the Ice.
I think my aversion to things that are cute dates back to childhood. My best friend Denny and I used one of our sister’s Baby Tenderlove dolls as an archery target when we were kids. Saying that now sounds like we were a couple of sociopaths, but the truth is that Baby Tenderlove suffered a hail storm of arrows not because she was a baby doll (countless others never succumbed to such a fate), but because she was unnaturally and therefore nauseatingly cute.
There was (and perhaps there still is) a cute teddy bear used to advertise Snuggles fabric softener. The Snuggles bear is one thing I would have loved to use for an archery target. You can imagine my joy when a commercial was made (years ago now) for a video game called Battletanx where a bear very similar to this fabric softener nightmare is shown being chased, fired upon, and ultimately run over by a tank. Apparently I am not alone in my dislike of that which is cute.
I guess I am a proponent of the anti-cute, which explains why I cannot get the image of a car I saw in a movie last week out of my head. This car reminded me of the Deathmobile from “Animal House.” It was a blown 72 Buick Skylark with flat black paint. It was called Medusa, or at least that is what the huge block letters on the side of it read.
I think Medusa may be the coolest thing I have ever seen, probably because it is about as far from cute as you can get. Medusa, as you may recall, was the snakehaired Gorgon in Greek mythology who was so ugly that those who gazed upon her instantly turned to stone.
We would never have shot a Medusa doll full of arrows.
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Waye Braver can be contacted on Facebook or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.braverinsitute.com.