The popularity of Cute Overload (and the more than 150 other cute-animal sites catalogued by the recommendation engine StumbleUpon, including Stuff on My Cat, Cute Things Falling Asleep, Kittenwar, and I Can Has Cheezburger) reflects a growing self-infantilization that is also in evidence at the social-networking site Facebook, where countless subscribers have posted photos of themselves as babies on their profile.


Maybe the move toward cuteness has come about partly because the idea of “edge” has gotten old. We used to romanticize tortured souls like Dylan Thomas, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin, but their equivalents from recent years—Kurt Cobain, Elliott Smith, Heath Ledger, David Foster Wallace—have elicited expressions of pity more than anything else.

More here. (Spoilers: Ojamas. "In a decade that has slapped us with a recession in the wake of 9/11 and an unending war waged in two theaters, Americans are producing a popular culture that seems to be saying, Please like us." Dancing babies. "Social misery and cuteness seem to be linked." And cupcakes. )