Thursday, May 6, 2010

Where Can I Get a Cuteometer?

In looking around, all in the interests of scientific measurement and furthering good taste on the internet, I encounted oblique references from time to time to an instrument called a "cuteometer." I immediately saw this as a potentially useful device for assessing stimulus materials that might be useful in evolutionary psychology research, as well as a practical device for avoiding excessive syrupiness in producing and selecting illustrations, choosing words judiciously, and in general avoiding excessive sentiment. After all, in a multi-aged and pluralistic internet, we have to be equally careful not to be pornish, vulgar in language, too graphic in violence, and maybe we ought to throw in constraint against being too creepily sentimental. After all, diabetic Americans have rights too! Maybe this dialectic should include some give and take, like in date movie choosing: "Let's see, we did the Clint Eastwood movie last week, so this week we do Pride and Prejudice.

This would be good for assessing illustrations. Take anime girls, for instance. Some are edgy, some are sweet lolis, and hopefully you will avoid hentai entirely. Or LOL cats. Kitties and puppies and bunnies are cute; but in most cases small humans are acceptably cute. Kewpie dolls and teddy bears cross the line: refrain from this secret vice! Holly Hobby is definitely! And let us be spared the "Love is . . . . " illustrations unless we first all turn into tween girls.

And for words, it depends. A woman referring to her "girls" is acceptable if she is referring to her daughters below age 18; but not if she is referring to the contents of her brassiere. Folks, they're breast! Or, boobs, if you insist! The same applies to "the little girls' room." That room should be called that only if it is expressed dedicated to very young females. Also, calling said necessary facility a "powder room" is inexact (who would put on powder in a gas station powder room?) but barely under this imaginary line. Anyway, where can I get a Cuteometer? Google Shopping and Yahoo Shopping do not help.

I would like to apply for a National Science Foundation grant to develop such a device.

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