So you see on your friends page, a syndicated journal, or just a blog that you bookmarked, something that you dislike yet others do like. And that something is the first of its kind in maybe 6 months, perhaps more. Now, what should you do?
- Lecture about what contents the blog that belongs to its owner—not you—should reflect your taste.
- Scream “This was so intended for one of your other blogs that I don't visit, amirite? Yeah?!”
- Just close your eyes, scroll down enough to put the thing in question out of screen, then open your eyes.
- Threat the owner that you would stop visiting the blog.
(Hint: If you have no clue for a four-choice question, #3 is usually a good guess. And if your pick is #1, #2 or #4 of the above, you are indeed clueless, so change your answer to #3.)
Exhibit: Cute Overload: “Pa-sickie”
Leisa: Ugh, what's with all this worshiping at the altar of the baby? Babies are not cute, they're noisy and leak fluids. Do not want!
kayouko: Uhhh... animals are noisy and leak fluids too. Wake up! :p
berthaslave: If I weren't already more than 75% done with my dissertation, I would change my topic. This would be the title:
"The Born Commentroversy": Human Presence in Animal-centric Digital Media.
Abstract: Cute or sad? Or worthy of boycott and outrage? When animal-oriented websites and weblogs veer into the realm of representing human bodies and behaviors, user comments can sometimes become increasingly hostile. Commenters who typically react with child-like exuberance to images of newly-born rodentia or comically pudgy-faced canines often vociferously protest similar images of human babies. Is this reverse species-ism? Or does it indicate a deeper anxiety about the designation of so-called "human" and "animal" virtual space?
This study will examine the reaction of users to the presence of humans and human-related activity on the website CuteOverload.com. Case studies include: the infamous "people with their puppies" week, wherein over 1000 comments were posted in regards to photos of young, caucasian females with their pets; the ongoing debate about a posting category known as "cats 'n' racks," wherein feline pets (and other small creatures) are placed in proximity to a (clothed) female torso; negative reaction to postings of "cute" shopping items like shoes or handbags crafted to look like animals or Japanese anime; and, finally, the April, 2008 posting of a baby demanding a popsicle that contained no reference to or representation of non-human activity.
Borrowing from the work of Clifford Geertz ("Notes from a Balinese Cockfight"), Judith Butler, and Michel Foucault, this study will also deconstruct the use of written language as practiced by CuteOverload viewers, in an effort to determine whether or not it is any different to represent a baby visually (through a picture or video) or semiotically (through the use of "baby talk" in responses such as "Squeeeee," ""WANT! WANT! WANT!", "cute widdle doggeh," etc.)