A certain level of cute short-circuits rational thought. We abandon discernment. We forgo acumen. We jettison evaluation. We bow down to cute.
The photograph shows a baby platypus. Nestled into a human hand, the tiny creature is undeniably, endearingly cute. The photograph has been widely shared online. Platypus, of course, are famously strange. They have a ducklike bill but also have fur. They produce the milk of a mammal, but lay eggs like a bird or reptile. When the first specimens were shipped from eastern Australia to England in 1798, scientists suspected a taxidermist’s hoax.
The photograph shows a sculpture by Serbian artist Vladimir Matić-Kuriljov. “Probably the cutest thing I ever made,” he says. It resembles a baby platypus, sometimes called a “platypup” or “puggle,” only vaguely. A graduate of the University of Arts in Belgrade, Matić-Kuriljov made the miniature of “Super Sculpy” polymer clay finished with fast-drying acrylic polymer paint. The overlay of cute (and gullibility) is applied by individual viewers.