Kenny Be's Yard Arteology: Cultural cuteness collection

The study of neighbors through their lawn ornaments....

Figure 26. Globeville: Mockey Mouse, Guard Poodle and Green Angel

Unlike the Japanese, whose entire economy is now dependent on cuteness, American culture has never been very good at handling the concept of cute. Perhaps it is because cuteness stimulates the same areas in the brain as drugs, alcohol and chocolate, and overstimulated Americans are already too drunk, doped up and obese to even notice the tiny and twee. Perhaps we can blame our puritanical forefathers for the fact that even our best attempts at cuteness, like Blue's Clues, Rugrats and Dora the Explorer, are all self-consciously grotesque. Anime-inspired cuteness is creeping into American culture, but it still remains on the fringe of society. In much the same way, overtly cute yard art exists in Denver, but only in fringe neighborhoods like Globeville.

The home pictured in figure 26 is only a few blocks from the city's northern border, and "living on the edge" allows this resident to literally cover her home in cuteness. Statuesque guard poodles sitting atop the fence's corner posts suggest that the yard artist is intelligent, high strung, easy to train and loves to "bark." The lattice board "blinds" nailed to the porch indicate an antagonistic relationship with the current neighbors, while the mock Mickey Mouse cut-outs insinuate a love for visiting garage sales. The predominate green-and-pink color scheme of the decorations hint that this yard artist is a naive sentimentalist whose greatest desire is safety and whose greatest strength is endurance. The inclusion of the praying angel is evidence of the American tendency to feign forgiveness in the face of fun.

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