Snugglecore: Are you guilty as charged?


All ye purveyors of kitty and poochie cuteness, read this and search thy soul.
Philly_Rheilly_20071010_41x

… cute as a new kind of pornography, cuteness exaggerated, cuteness fetishized until the tiny, scrunchable mammals—along with the occasional adorable snapping turtle—portrayed on Cuteoverload.com, Kittenwar.com and an ever-expanding menagerie of copycat sites exist as little more than mere objects to be brutally cuddled. Call it snugglecore.

Such is snugglecore.

And ponder upon thyself:
Philly_Rheilly_20071209_17x

… as our appetite for cuteness become impossible to satiate, as the standards for fluffiness and head-tilting and quizzical, big-eyed vulnerability grow so high few of our pets can measure up, is snugglecore truly going to make us happy?

Does thou find thy deepest doubts and uncharitable thoughts mirrored in these words?

Rheilly_20071230_02xHow many families will be torn apart, one wonders, as once-happy owners decide to trade in their dull, not particularly photogenic pets for younger, wobblier, more achingly vulnerable models? The fantasies depicted at sites like Icanhascheezburger.com and LOLcat.com, where the photos are captioned with fictional cat-speak (“Is it can be hugs tiem now plees?”) that amplify the cuteness to even higher levels are just that—fantasies.

Read the full text of truth and tremble in despair. Art thou guilty?!

Pop Culture: Can snugglecore satisfy?

January 24, 2008

by Greg Beato

Shame subsides in the addiction to cuteness

In the Web’s earliest days, when already-established media professionals had little interest in cyberspace and enthusiastic amateurs were left to fill the void, they hit upon a simple but potent solution: Poorly scanned photos of their pets. Look, there’s Colonel Fluffington rolling around on his back! And here’s Miss Penelope Rumbletummy staring at a goldfish bowl!

At the time, it seemed like a stopgap measure, something to keep people momentarily occupied until Barry Diller and Rupert Murdoch figured out what to do with the web. Fifteen years later, however, those early random snapshots have evolved into a tail-wagging, heartwarming universe of websites devoted to the cute and nothing but the cute, cute as a new kind of pornography, cuteness exaggerated, cuteness fetishized until the tiny, scrunchable mammals—along with the occasional adorable snapping turtle—portrayed on Cuteoverload.com, Kittenwar.com and an ever-expanding menagerie of copycat sites exist as little more than mere objects to be brutally cuddled. Call it snugglecore.

Snugglecore, it turns out, is a lot like regular porn, only fluffier. There’s plenty of pink tongues, for example. And nonstop licking. And taboo couplings: cats and mice, anteaters and beagles, pugs and parakeets, monkeys and pigeons. And experimental cuddlefests involving multiple partners. In the pre-web era, it took years of combing through back issues of Cat Fancy and browsing Goodwill stores for obsolete one-a-day calendars to amass even a modest stash of such imagery. Now, with a few clicks of the mouse, even young children can access explicit, hi-res depictions of tiny feline libertines shamelessly group-snoozing in Kleenex boxes.

Men, too, are being seduced by snugglecore as never before. In the old days, sure, you could go to Borders and slip a copy of Adorable Floppity-Eared Bunny in between the latest issues of Popular Mechanics and Juggs as you shamefully slunk to the register. But what if one of your friends saw you? Or your boss? The social prohibitions against snugglecore limited its availability. It was mostly consumed by adult women, and even within that demographic, only a small number of “heavy users” consumed the bulk of the content being produced.

Thanks to the Internet, however, a flood tide of ducklings nuzzling bunny rabbits and kittens doing shiatsu on golden retrievers is engulfing the nation. And somewhat paradoxically, as the distribution of snugglecore has become a largely private phenomenon, its consumption has become less taboo. It’s not uncommon, for example, to see office workers brazenly sharing images of inquisitive tabbies stuck inside computer cases. Even more alarming is the addictive, escalatory nature of the genre. Over time, most aficionados develop a tolerance for gateway snugglecore—like cats lolling in sinks—and start seeking out more extreme forms of cuteness.

What happens, however, when an antelope shows up on your deck and your frustratingly uptight corgi shows no interest in licking it? What if your boring Siamese never gets himself hilariously entangled in speaker wires, or your prissy Pekinese has no desire to consort with a friendly, open-minded ferret? How many families will be torn apart, one wonders, as once-happy owners decide to trade in their dull, not particularly photogenic pets for younger, wobblier, more achingly vulnerable models? The fantasies depicted at sites like Icanhascheezburger.com and LOLcat.com, where the photos are captioned with fictional cat-speak (“Is it can be hugs tiem now plees?”) that amplify the cuteness to even higher levels are just that—fantasies. Not every Pomeranian feels comfortable dressing up in exotic costumes simply to please Mommy and Daddy. Not every aging tabby believes its sole purpose in life is to serve as its master’s face-smooshing whore.

Invariably, snugglecore’s purveyors gloss over such ugly realities. Instead, they talk about free speech. They talk about how if you don’t want to look at snugglecore, you don’t have to look at snugglecore. They talk about how content—nay, how frequently ecstatic—the kitties and pups and even the typically somewhat sedate-looking deer seem to be having when engaged in snugglecore high jinks. They talk about the way snugglecore lifts the national mood, fills us all with a sense of warm, cozy benevolence. And it does that, sure, at least temporarily. But in the long run, as our appetite for cuteness become impossible to satiate, as the standards for fluffiness and head-tilting and quizzical, big-eyed vulnerability grow so high few of our pets can measure up, is snugglecore truly going to make us happy?

BamBam_20071214_07x(calsifer’s note:

I admit only to be being a partial corer – I do try to take snugglecore-worthy photos, but at least I do not lurk on core sites.

And in case you wonder, I just thought this was great relief from that other, much bigger, salabrity-core scandal involving that Canadian-bred Hong Kong male singer/actor with raging hormones and streaking exhibitionism making the rounds now)

 

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2 responses to “Snugglecore: Are you guilty as charged?

  1. i have never thought looking at a group of friendly creatures could be so… sinful

  2. Jacque,
    I know exactly how you feel.