The New York Times has a piece today on the furr-nomenon that is Cute Overload. The site has been an online antidote for our troubled times for a few years now (never underestimate the healing power of a baby panda!) and it’s good to see it monetising some of that appeal with a sell-out calendar. However, the article fails to mention Cute Overload’s vernacular of cute which we think is a core element of its success. Meg — who founded the site and does most of the writing — has constructed an almost Tolkien-esque language which regular readers will be able to decipher but which casual visitors may well struggle to understand. There is even a glossary to help readers out. For example, a post of a tiny kitten has the accompanying text:
TEEEEENY Caturday paw danglage
Puh-lease. Too, too moshe:
black and white?
miniscules and striped?
ear flappage and paw danglage?
This language is the glue of a ‘club of cute’ which drives the site’s popularity and makes for a hugely entertaining read. A similar tactic was once deployed by Perez Hilton before he vanilla-ed out for the sake of ad dollars (for example, the gleeful insult ‘whoreanus’ has been dropped). Celebrity snarking site GoFugYourself, however, continues to address its audience as a teenage confidante. To whit, a comment on a photo of Alice Dellal (no, me neither) which reads:
This is one of those photos that I would put in a 2008 time capsule, so that in 30 years people will go, “Ripped nylons as pants? Are you f’ing KIDDING ME?” And I’ll be like, “I KNOW, it didn’t make any sense THEN, EITHER, and yet it HAPPENED.”
Creating new languages and forms of expression, and giving import to supposedly trivial matters such as dress sense and the cuteness of furry things are just a few of the myriad ways in which bloggers are creating a new media. And this stuff really *talks* to us in a way that traditional media never has. It talks to us as fans, as politicos, as gossips, as snarks… as ourselves. And, of course, it’s a two way conversation.
Anyways… we’re off to buy our calendar. Later!
Picture of Iggi to compensate for never having made it onto the shiny lights of either Cute Overload or Stuffonmycat despite numerous attempts.