Sunday, August 07, 2005

That Dratted Potato Song (2)

My apologies to the Japanese.

Looking back as I was assaulted by images of singing, dancing potatoes and potato products, I remember exactly why I stopped watching Japanese channels on local cable six or seven years ago.

The Japanese have a... preoccupation with all things cute. The, uh, mania is so pervasive and so cloying and over-the-top that it borders on the pathological. Consider the pleasing (yet disturbing) preoccupation with youth, short skirts and sailor suits. Consider too that until Utada Hikaru came along and broke the mold in a big way, women singers tended to strangle themselves trying to turn their make their voices child-like. (This is not to say that there weren't singers with brassy or smoky voices, but that preoccupation with wanting to be cute often kept those singers from well-deserved audiences and accolades.) Too, the Japanese tended to burn through their pop idols quickly, frequently discarding yesterday's idol for the new face and voice ingenue.

I have visions of ex idols scrabbling for scraps of fame, vainly trying to hold on to their youthful good looks and high-pitched voicesagainst the inexorable march of time. Brrr.

Thankfully the women do tend to get over it (as evidenced by the very competent female staff at the Jap Language school I study in). Granted also that I was watching a kiddie show when my senses were assaulted by the potato song. But the lady host's brand of cuteness -- even the male hosts were trying to speak in piping tones when they sure as hell didn't have to-- have the words fake and soon-to-be-desperate written all over it.

I got sick of all the blasted sugar-substitute cuteness six or seven years ago and I'm still sick of all the blasted sugar-substitute cuteness now.

I'm all for cuteness when it comes naturally. And one doesn't have to speak in piping fake-kiddie tones to be adorable. But there comes a time when you have to relegate oozing cuteness to someone else-- preferably someone under 18. Your own "cuteness" -- a function of your innate and developed beauty will come out of its own accord without being forced. It will likely be treasured all the more.

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