Chapter

Gremlin Child <i>How the Cute Became the Cool</i>

Gary Cross

in The Cute and the Cool

Published in print May 2004 | ISBN: 9780195156669
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199868254 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195156669.003.0005
 						Gremlin Child How the Cute Became the Cool

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The 1984 film Gremlins is a classic example of how wondrous innocence can go astray. The adorable Gizmos on which we lavish love and attention in our typical middle-class homes can become the bratty Gremlins almost without our seeing why. In real life, most parents today think that this transformation has to do with their “breaking the rules”. Ironically, the ways that adults have shared the image of wondrous innocence with their children explains part of the shift from the cute to the cool. Adult fascination with the image of the cute child — the naughty-but-nice boy and the sweet and coquettish girl — redefined adult understanding of childhood in the rituals of family life in the early 20th century. Even more important, parents passed that fascination on to the children themselves. It is no surprise, then, that the entertainment industry appealed directly to children, in effect, accelerating the parents' penchant for passing the cute to the cute.

Keywords: Gremlins; cute; children; cool; parents; childhood innocence; wondrous innocence; entertainment industry; advertisements; television

Chapter.  17173 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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