Saturday, September 10, 2005

Cute Baby Pictures

If you are here as the result of a Yahoo search for "cute baby pictures", please read this post first and then use you back button to return to this post. Thanks.

We live by lots of foma, the little untruths that help us through the day. Many we are not even aware of. One foma in particular, though, is essential to our survival as a species. It is "All Babies Are Cute." They better be. They wouldn't live very long otherwise. They are blobby, whiney, needy, and prone to ejecting material from at least four different orifices.

But we love them anyways. And we think that at least most of them are cute. The one pictured here is particularly cute. Mostly because it probably has some genetic information in common with me. It is my father's sister's son's daughter. That makes her my first cousin, once removed, for those of you without Rainman-like skills at manipulating family trees.

Neoteny and the human response to cuteness would definitely explain the prevelence of "cats in sinks" pictures on the web. Stephen Jay Gould famously explained that even cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse "evolved" to become cuter and more likeable. Several years ago, Hanna Barbera and company took this to heart and Saturday morning cartoons were over run by "{insert source cartoon} Babies" including Flintstone Kids, Tiny Toon Adventures, and most cynically obvious of all, Muppet Babies.

Everything can be taken to an undesireable extreme. No amount of neotenic cuteness can ever excuse inflicting the world with the unbearably obnoxious Scrappy Doo.

Update (8/24/08):
The Stephen Jay Gould link went bad so I replaced it with another one. The Mickey Mouse essay also appears in The Panda's Thumb.

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20 comments:

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Great baby pics!

Here via Michele.

kenju said...

What a cute baby! Michele sent me.

I love what you said below about foot-in-mouth disease. I used to like her - but no more!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

This is distinct deja vu.

Michele sent me here.

Last Girl On Earth said...

I NEVER get tired of looking a cat in sink pix! But I want to hurl when I see cutesy pix of talking mushrooms and butterflies! Michele sent me. Have a great weekend.!

kenju said...

You got me, Yellojkt! Michele sent me, this time.

deputyswife said...

Here via Michele's!

Great blog!

Big Ben said...

ahh, that strange, wonderful thing that rules our lives . . .


cynicism.


i love it!

Big Ben said...

oh yeah, i wish that Michele sent me.

but she didn't

utenzi said...

Michele sent me.

I never liked Barbara Bush because she's always said things like that--and somehow was able to duck out of trouble. But this one was too big and glaring. About time.

I seem to be missing that "babies are cute" set of genes, Yellojkt, but I admit they must be there in most people. No other explanation for how we ever grow up since we sure are annoying when we're first born.

chatty said...

I am still doing the family tree relation...isn't she a second cousin or is that the same thing? I never got the "once removed" lable. Must be having a moment...

She is quite adorable and so glad Michele sent me to visit.

dena said...

Your family relationship is beautiful. And I'm so with you on your opinion of scrappy do...

visiting from michele's tonight

Claude said...

What a cutie pie!

Gould's theory brought to mind another thing I read awhile back (wish I could remember who it was) that suggested that cuteness in animals is directly related to how much that face resembles a human being's. Monkeys are cute, snakes are not. Lions (forward eyes) are cuter than squirrels (eyes on side), giraffes (apparently expressive eyes, look like they're smiling) are cuter than deer (eyes but no smile and what's up with the antlers?). Puppies are cuter than dogs because their noses are smaller, and so on. And everyone hates Scrappy-Doo.

I like that bottom photo; she looks like she might be supervising the whole diaper-changing process.

Marie said...

A cute baby indeed! I remember the pediatrician commenting on this very topic when he came to examine our newborn son in the hospital. We said that all the nurses were fawning over our gorgeous little boy. The doc nodded & commented that not all newborns are "aesthetically pleasing." I loved that line.

Thaleia said...

I remember the Muppet Babies :)

And your first cousing is adorable...


here via Michele's

panthergirl said...

Hahaha... loved this post. All babies are definitely NOT cute. I remember my mother greeting a friend who had a distinctly un-cute baby, saying "Oh...isn't he...DIFFERENT!"

(Your little cousin is adorable, though).

I think sitcoms should follow the Hannah-Barbera/WB/Henson model. Then we could have "Seinfeld Babies" and "Friends Babies"... and of course, the reality show spinoff, "Survivor Babies". Stop me now.

Here via michele today!

E said...

I'm here from Michele's but I've so enjoyed my stay! Several months ago, I wrote a post called "Ugly Babies"...much along the lines of this. It made me smile to read this!

meys said...

Oh god, I must know who this Michele is now. So popular and with such control over the masses.

VoteMyBaby.com said...

The pics are still cute, even if you don't normally post about cute babies. :)

kaylee said...

these baby's are soooooooooo cute!!! i love baby's!!!i get to baby sit them!!!

buy viagra without prescription said...

I think you're right, I mean the headline is right... indeed it's a cute baby and those pictures are wonderful, specially the first one, she's like angel, it's all about cuteness! 23jj