[Issola] Cute

Sun Jun 16 11:16:32 PDT 2002

(I've been reread Cherryh's _Cyteen_, which, among other things, has
characters who are very good at reading body language and controlling
their own, in part because they do things like practice being cute by
watching themselves in videos and in the mirror....)

How well do the races in the Dragaeran novels understand and
experience the concept of "cute"?

*** Spoilers for Issola ***

I guess we know very little about Serioli, and Vlad doesn't even
understand their body language, so who knows how they stand with

Easterners appear to be pretty much the same as we are now, so they
grok it good, e.g. Vlad watching Loiosh and Rocza (p216).

Given Dragaeran's lineage, it wouldn't be surprising if they had many
of our hard-wired responses, e.g. "big head and big eyes on a small
body = cute".  But although Teldra uses the word cute (p155), and
Morrolan and Aliera don't like being called cute (unlike Loish, "I
*am* cute" :), it seems like cute for them is an intellectual concept,
not an emotional response.  So I don't know.

The Jenoine seem rather unemotional.  Sure, they are said to hate
Verra and be jealous of the gods, but that seems to me like a cold
passion, not a hot fire.  So Telda saying the Jenoine think they
(Vlad, Morrolan, Aliera, Teldra) are cute (p155), particularly strikes
me as Jenoine regarding "cute" as an intellectual concept, not an
emotional response.  Plus, Teldra may have been translating a Jenoine
concept into Dragaeran/Easterner terms, which is another further remove.

Tangent: Hell, what would a Jenoine joke be -- assuming they have a
    sense of humor?!

Hm.  Since Vlad's got a narrow view of the world, it doesn't
necessarily mean much, but I don't remember there being anything like
psychologists... [1]

[1] Vlad in De Niro's role in "Analyze This"?  (I haven't seen the movie yet.)

... or maybe I do.  Couldn't we say that Yendi practice applied
guerilla psychology?

Anyway, what I'm wondering is: Should Dragaerans send in various teams
to probe/provoke Jenoine to learn more about how they think from
observing their responses?  Except that the Jenoine might learn much
about Dragaerans by analyzing the provocations.  Damn.  Or maybe it
would be a good thing: Is it a plus or a minus that the Jenoine and
others don't understand each other?  Sethra says, "They don't
understand us, that's all [2].  They never have. [...] that's been
their flaw from the beginning." p252.

[2] _Cyteen_ has (temporarily) sensitized me to "that's all", since it
    shows up so much in that book.


- tky