the cute object

Sianne Ngai Our Aesthetic Categories

“Even the cute object’s strangely powerful assertion of its powerlessness- its insistent demand for love and protection from a more powerful being nonetheless compelled to fulfill its needs- mobilizes a mix of affects that theorists from Edmund Burke to Elaine Scarry attribute to beauty, characterized by the latter in particular as the experience of something fragile, perpetually in danger of being crushed or destroyed, that for that very reason compels us to copy it.”

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