Sức mạnh của sự dễ thương: Ngọt ngào, âu yếm và chiếm lĩnh thế giới

có rất nhiều điều thú vị và thực sự đáng yêu trong “dễ thương”, một cuộc triển lãm mới ở london. nhưng cũng có một số điều đáng sợ và đáng lo ngại.

Try this: Ask someone you know to define “cute.” They are not allowed to simply give an example of a cute thing, so no babies or sweet little rabbits singing a song about being brave; they must try and give a definition for the adjective itself. See how long it takes before words give way to gestures (hands making clutching motions (động tác nắm chặt), arms squeezing tightly around invisible teddy-bear-size objects) or inarticulate (không rõ ràng) noises (cries of anguished delight (tiếng kêu vui sướng thống khổ), high-pitched vowel (nguyên âm) sounds). See how long it takes before they are scrunching up (nhăn mặt) their faces in what looks a lot like pain.

It’s not just that the term (thuật ngữ) is difficult to define, it’s that there is often a confounding (khó hiểu) gap between the smallness, or seeming irrelevance (không liên quan), of the cute object, and the strength and range of the feelings it invokes (gợi lên). Words alone don’t seem to cover it.

Cuteness — its properties (đặc tính), its uses and its increasingly dominant position in culture — is the subject of a dazzling (ấn tượng) new exhibition in London called simply “Cute,” running at Somerset House through April 14. Not exactly a history of an aesthetic (thẩm mỹ) and not exactly, or not only, a collection of particularly (cụ thể) cute commodities (hàng hóa), the show explores the unsettling (đáng lo ngại) power of apparently (rõ ràng) powerless things, looking at the fantasies (tưởng tượng) that cuteness enables and creates, and making us think about how and why it has come to saturate (xâm chiếm) our world.

Why does everything have to be so cute now? What does it mean that we have so enthusiastically allowed ourselves to be manipulated by an aesthetic that prioritizes the infantile, the teeny-weeny, the doe-eyed? Why, when I saw a can of Hello Kitty-branded motor oil in one of the show’s first rooms, did I desperately (tuyệt vọng) want to pick it up and give it a big hug while shouting, “Awwwwwww?” Why am I trying to buy one on eBay right now? I don’t even have a car.

source: nytimes,

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