Thursday, April 17, 2008

169. Rock Crab and the Evolutionary Design of Cuteness

Vic's Rock Crab. An Investigation of Evolutionary Design of Cuteness.
Vic's Rock Crab. An Investigation of Evolutionary Design of Cuteness.
King Crab by Robert Hayes in The Brave Monkey Pirate,

King Crab by Robert Hayes in The Brave Monkey Pirate,

This is in celebration of finally designing a list of questions in order to complete and "frame" the rock crab film with an organized list of questions. I will be needing to create a "matrix" of spacetime knowledge of what people know and don't know about rock crab. How certain people know very well certain pieces of the puzzle and certain people don't. And why? And how this reflects value systems. And how this reflects management and future visions of long-term sustaining fisheries.

There is an open niche space in the American Market for the design of "cute crabs." Nearly all the crab stuffed animals and cartoons were just un-cute and un-cuddly and just flat out un-attractive. Except for the King Crab of Robert Hayes, my most favorite and influential cartoonist of all time. It's all about "Bluebison" (check out the website!) and Calvin and Hobbes. Most of the rest can eat dirt. So Robert Hayes won the crab cuteness contest. Second cultural representation of cute crabs was actually the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM). I am considering in becoming a Pastafarian. It's almost like becoming a believer of "skeptical absurdity." Please visit for more information on the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

[blog fragment] My father commented on "charismatic megafauna" only policy for non-profit organization agendas. "It's just human nature to fall for cute and cuddly creatures, mostly for females. For the males, you have to get those big, ferocious organisms with blood and fangs--wolves and the like--they are like "super-macho-megafauna-trucks" for the environment. They are endangered. There you go! Donate to the NGO!"

The idea of Evolutionary Design of Cuteness is very crucial, simply because the Cuteness Factor is a surface value dimension that convinces relatively uninformed audiences to donate to non-profit groups or not. Rock crab in true biological representation is not exactly "cute." So if you placed a photograph of a rock crab on a brochure, and went door-to-door to convince a lay audience to save rock crabs and donate 15 dollars to the Defenders of Sea Insects non-profit group (subsection of UO, UN equivalent for organism-centri non-profit group, their agenda cneterd around tehd declaration of humans as invasive species, incumbent umbrella organization, ) most likely people would not do it. Instead, many people fall for the the more popular biological runway model poster children: sea otters, butterflies, snowy plovers (a local Santa Barbara fave). It's not like we exactly EAT sea otters. So, basically, our own evolutionary brainwashing tremendously influences consumer decisions to donate money to a non-profit group for some environmental cause, in which the money ultimately ends up being used towards maintaining bureaucracy and people's jobs rather than solving and managing the problem itself. Many non-profits are very economically inefficient entities and exist for two reasons (1) there is an issue that needs to be addressed that is not being tackled by business, government, or academia and (2) rich people want tax write-offs so they donate money to non-profits.

Non-profits need to exist because they are entities that can easily sprout and die based on the current, fleeting issues of a given human system. They are like ephemeral weeds (weeds can be good, it's a matter of perception). But the tragedy right now is that many non-profits have grown large, incumbent, conservative, and massively inefficient. E.g. Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, a few others I can't think of off the top of my head. As there was an essay on the Death of Environmentalism (Shellenberger and Nordhaus, mispelled?), which called for an overthrow of incumbent megafauna of environmental non-profits. Amen.

[blog fragment] Phil Freeman the rock crab fisherman has a friend who is in great agreement with me in terms of the running of non-profits. I need to find that guy and interview him.

[blog fragment] I think the goal here is to challenge people into seeing alternative beauty. Finding beauty in a typically-defined, non-aesthetic creature, like a rock crab. Or more its sublime properties, and all that a rock crab can mean. Most people find a redwood forest "beautiful." What about a land fill? Why? Why NOT? ~#~ would say.

[blog fragment] It's tragic that foundations only give money to inefficient non-profits and not individuals who refuse to construct and conform to absurd bureaucracy, who will be more productive as an individual than operating in a larger, incumbent system.

Now the questions that I skipped over are "What is the Mathematical / Spatial / Temporal formula for the Evolutionary Design of Cuteness?" and "Why does this phenomenon exist?"

The answer for the first question is the "baby alien formula." Big head, small body, big eyes, small nose, smiley mouth. Pretty standard stuff. Barbie dolls. Brats dolls. Sea otters. Dolphins (well, they have a different form of evolutionarily attractive design). Frogs from rainforests. Mini Miss Einstein the Cairn Terrier (my housemate's dog). Sanrio. Hello Kitty. Kerroppi. Pichacco. Parasite Pals. Even stick thin models in New York. It's an economic driver. It's so obsessive that stupid teenagers like myself get compulsive about Sanrio and we are willing to pay five extra dollars for a pencil with a Kerroppi frog on it rather than just a regular pencil. Shut up. I was in high school and I was stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Now I figured it out and I'm over it.

The answer to the second question is that before we humans knew about evolution, natural selection, genetics, Darwin, and Mendel's Saturday Night Live with his pea plants, mothers used to still take care of kids, without any genetic incentives. Human babies are basically parasites. They slow you down, consume resources, and pee and poop them out in an unconstrained fashion. They're just helpless living blobs. Babies are dependent on the host mother for survival. In order to compensate for the initial parasite-host relationship between the mother and child, the baby was "alien designed" and the mother's mind was evolutionarily designed to detect this visual proportionality and ultimately receive a euphoric pleasure center high for keeping this "cute little baby" alive, even though it just cries, eats, poops, pees, and sleeps. Evolutionary design of cuteness is basically a form of disillusionment for the mother such that the initial parasite-host relationship is obscured. Then I think as the baby grows up and learns more and self-sufficient, the relationship becomes more mutualistic. And the cuteness fades away most times. *Sigh.*

So that is my grand theory on cuteness.

[blog fragments] weeds, fleeting ephemeral, I am really glad I am representing organisms that are not under the mainstream popculture cuteness cult. I represent the underrepresented. Crabs. Worms. Smelly salt marshes. And the like.

[blog fragment] Evolutionary Disillusionment

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