The Power of Cute

The Power of Cute➿ The Power of Cute Free ➶ Author Simon May – An exploration of cuteness and its immense hold on us from emojis and fluffy puppies to its uncanny subversive expressionsCuteness has taken the planet by storm Global sensations Hello Kitty and Pokmo An exploration of cuteness and its immense hold on us from emojis and fluffy puppies to its uncanny subversive expressionsCuteness has taken the planet by storm Global sensations Hello Kitty and Pokmon the works of artists Takashi Murakami and Jeff Koons The Power Kindle - Heidi the cross eyed opossum and ET all reflect its gathering power But what does cute mean as a sensibility and style Why is it so pervasive Is it all infantile fluff or is there something uncanny and even menacing going on in a lighthearted way In The Power of Cute Simon May provides nuanced and surprising answersWe usually see the cute as merely diminutive harmless and helpless May challenges this prevailing perspective investigating everything from Mickey Mouse to Kim Jong il to argue that cuteness is not restricted to such sweet ualities but also beguiles us by transforming or distorting them into something of playfully indeterminate power gender age morality and even species May grapples with cuteness's dark and unpindownable side unnerving artful knowing apprehensive elements that have fascinated since ancient times through mythical figures especially hybrids like the hermaphrodite and the sphinx He argues that cuteness is an addictive antidote to today's pressured expectations of knowing our purpose being in charge and appearing predictable transparent and sincere Instead it frivolously expresses the uncertainty that these norms deny the ineliminable uncertainty of who we are; of how much we can control and know; of who in our relations with others really has power; indeed of the very value and purpose of power The Power of Cute delves into a phenomenon that speaks with strange force to our age.


The Power of Cute ePUB Ó The Power  Kindle -
  • Hardcover
  • 238 pages
  • The Power of Cute
  • Simon May
  • 15 February 2016
  • 9780691181813

10 thoughts on “The Power of Cute

  1. Emily Mozzone says:

    How incredibly disappointing I came into this book with high hopes I truly believe in the radical power of cute Girls so often wield cuteness as a weapon or use it as a shield It's a topic that fascinates me and I love learning about And yet Simon May knows nothing about what it is to love cute or even what makes things cute He seems to struggle with differentiating things that are objectively cute Hello Kitty Mickey Mouse puppies and things he personally finds cute Kim Jong Il a painting of a monk cutting hemorrhoids off another man He fundamentally does not understand kawaii kawaii isn't just a translation of the word cute it's about cute for cute's sake Hello Kitty is kawaii she exists simply to be cute There's something so radical in that And yet he compares her to ET or Donald TrumpMay's thesis seems to work like this as I understand it although he really gives the audience the run around People are fascinated by cute People are fascinated by unpindownable things such as hermaphrodites or war or gods Therefore people with ambiguous gender war and godlike people are cuteNO If you think Donald Trump and Joseph Stalin are cute I frankly don't know what to tell you He'll say these things without backing it up too Stalin is cute Leaving the audience to go huh? What makes you say that? Then May moves on convinced his opinion was enough to sway the audienceLastly and most disappointingly he leaves out the perspective of women and children He asserts cute is genderless even saying Hello Kitty seems genderless were her bow and dresses not enough for you? Do you need cartoon eyelashes to convince you? and yet the world knows we associate cute with women We just do Babydolls and frilly dresses and sparkles and doe eyed unicorns are all cute and we associate these things with girls You can't ignore that for your thesis Simon May Cute does have power but to be frank it seems you'll never understand why

  2. Thomas Tobin says:

    This book was a collection of ill fitting examples that are brought out over and over to support the thesis that cute describes liminal bothand sorts of things It's a soupy hodge podge of digressions on top of digressions The whole thing coheres only if a one reads the notes at the end and b one is already familiar with the tropes and resources in the notes Meh Deeply utterly meh

  3. Vonia says:

    I do not care enough to write a longer review than this sentence 13 boring academia that even academics would even be confused by 13 useless facts and notes 13 ridiculous nonsense like Germany does remorse Japan does cute 100% information that could be conveyed in an essay rather than rehashed endlessly

  4. кай жук says:

    Inspired by Susan Sontag’s Notes On ‘Camp’ so just in time for this years Met Gala Read Emily Hill's Review in the Spectator it's my sentiments exactly

  5. Ben says:

    'But what if Cute is a miniature Trojan horse in the citadel of power in the intellectual citadel that for over three centuries has increasingly interpreted even the most altruistic compassionate freedom giving human relations in terms of power and the will to power?What if its real 'master trope' is not personification strategies understood as projections of power whether for good or ill but rather playful unpindownability the carefree evocation of uncertainty as a fundamental characteristic of life and world? '

  6. Carlos says:

    There were three things that caught my eye about this book the cover May’s reference to Harry Frankfurt’s “On Bullshit” in the first page of the introduction and the chapter heading “Cute and the Monstrous The Case of Donald Trump” These three things sufficed to announced that this book would be a philosophical take on something trivial that the author brilliantly uses to explore a deeper aspect of our culture and if it was anything like Frankfurt’s “On Bullshit” I would thoroughly enjoy it Perhaps because my expectations were so raised I ended finding the book a little short of them May’s does a brilliant job at discussing the common aspect of cute the sweet yet compelling side of it He gives a wonderful explanation of it in the context of the two countries at its forefront the US and Japan using it to flesh out the “cult of the child” in the US and Japan’s coping mechanism after the traumatic defeat in WWII He also does a wonderful job of communicating the nuances of cuteness and even exploring the weird sadistic aspect of it wanting to sueeze something cute After masterfully dealing with these aspects I felt that May became too ambitious and stretched the meaning or understanding of the word cute to propose an explanation of Donald Trump’s appeal This felt too much of a stretch to appear “relevant” in today’s political culture Nonetheless the book does a great job at exploring the nuances historical context and deeper implication of the rise of cuteness in the world culture

  7. Holly says:

    “Characterized by worthless pretentiousness” is a phrase used in this book to describe something else but I rather think it references itself I bought this audiobook for the narration and was not disappointed on that front The subject matter had the potential to be really interesting but I found the often outdated language and references distracting the inclusion of figures like Donald Trump nauseating and overall I think the author just tried too hard to make his thesis work Sometimes things are just CUTE and it doesn’t have to be that deep

  8. Justin Evans says:

    Simon May has published a book of aphorisms which I will not read because aphorisms have to be perfect to be anything other than tedious But that fact explains a lot about this book May clearly belongs to the camp that thinks philosophy should be thought provoking rather than clear or coherent There's nothing wrong with that but this book is an example of what happens when the thoughts provoked are dull or they remain unprovoked Others have pointed out the silliness of his chapters on the Kim family and Donald Trump I have a academic gripe May offers a uick literature survey of academic writing on cute This is nice because most of that writing is so opaue that only people who are paid to read it will read it and much of it is a simplistic regurgitation of fashionable theory speak; Sianne Ngain is an exception to this latter point May also pitches his book at non academic readers but makes a huge deal about how he is subverting academic norms by arguing that cute isn't just another commodification of desire or desublimation of fascist bullying He is in short overturning the entire modern intellectual edifice by claiming that some parts of human life aren't just about power relations It seems to have escaped his notice that most people who write about power relations also think precisely that and are writing to point out that we should try to overcome power relations instead of just replicating them So if cute isn't just commodification or power relations and if May is too respectable to just say 'cute will save the world' why has cute become so popular? Because it is a revolt of the commoners against the power theory wielding elite And because it releases our 'caring' drives and makes us like other people And because it mirrors the cult of the child true And because it is a symptom of the modern lust for independence and uncertainty May clearly shares that lust and is honest enough to admit it And you will think this is parody but it is not because Japan Europe and the United States reacted to world war II by searching for perpetual peace and an end to violence and cute is an expression of that It's a bit like Stephen Pinker on acid the same neglect of historical facts the same idealization of the liberal first world And like Stephen Pinker I finished this book with much understanding of why people vote for Donald Trump It's because of the immense ignorance of intelligent people like Simon May Also if I have to read another sentence that piles up near synonyms in the belief that those piles clarify a concept I will cry and scream 'This is the world that is overlooked by conventional views of Cute as merely innocent playful guileless helpless it involves a dialogue between the familiar and unfamiliar the unthreatening and the menacing the present and the withdrawn the visible and the invisible' 25 Kill me now

  9. Elizabeth Judd Taylor says:

    Maybe a 25 but I’ll round up rather than down This small book seems to simultaneously throw up a lot of ideas and not really say much at all The definition of cute is discussed as anything uncanny in between ie not pretty or ugly male or female etc and something which feels vulnerable or perhaps makes us feel vulnerable We get lots of writing about the cult of the child Hello Kitty and a couple Japanese artists and the idea that big heads and eyes are cute but also unnerving Then we get not very well explored ideas—can dictators and politicians be cute? Is Trump cute because of the odd way in which he presents himself dyed hair and exaggerated mannerisms? Who knows because these ideas get about 8 pages spread across two very short chapters while the ones previously mentioned get discussed over and over Also this book feels like it needed to reach a word count and as a result sometimes feels like a thesaurus was overused The long sentences where cute is discussed as uncanny not sweet childlike dark light androgynous dangerous and on and on and on make reading it a bit tiresome To recap some interesting ideas not all very well explored OK but a bit tediousI also forgot to add that the author does not always understand the full context of what he’s writing about—for instance a painting which references lyrics from a 90’s indie band which he instead interprets as a really dark take on children’s psychology

  10. Ashley says:

    Eh I was intrigued by the subject matter and the cuteness of the cover given the subject matter but I feel like what I gleaned from this short book could’ve easily been covered in a 15 page essay May makes the argument that what makes cute things so compelling is this unpredictable balance of the familiar and unfamiliar It’s an interesting theory worth contemplating The chapters on the evolution of Mickey Mouse and the appeal of Trump are especially interestingThe problem is the same examples are used over and over and over again The prose is exhausting Nearly every sentence has a list attached And if the sentence doesn’t have a list it probably has multiple parentheticals instead Overly long at 180 novelty book pages overly philosophical and overly wordy but an interesting idea nonetheless

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