Monday, July 07, 2008

Cuteness Gap Widens

At the start of 2008, the cutest 1% of Americans had 39% of the total cuteness. This represents a substantial jump from 1998, when their share was only 22%. Kitten futures, traditionally a leading indicator of the cuteness economy, have spiked in recent months, though some economists blame this on international speculators.

But things are tough at the bottom: after inflation is taken into account, the bottom 25% of Americans are actually less cute than they were ten years ago. Some could have flirted their way out of a speeding ticket in the past, but now struggle to get strangers to make eye contact. Others only manage to get by with the help of federal assistance, such as the Cute Stamps program. Some drop in cuteness might be expected with an aging population, but this does not explain the phenomenal gains at the top. Cuteness inequality is rising, with no end in sight.

We risk becoming a two-tier society, where masses of barely-cute and plain citizens are reduced to begging for attention, while the mega-cute become so appealing that they can essentially get away with anything.

No comments: