Ethnic and Racial Slurs

Shortly after I bought my first set of salt-and-pepper shakers, I came upon this one: It’s a perfect representation of the kind of adorable miniaturized  cuteness that defangs–or at least makes less immediately noticeable–its toxicity.  What could be less harmful than this cheerful pair of people at rest, depicted in a world of shiny primaryContinue reading “Ethnic and Racial Slurs”

Cute Newt?

And continuing the theme of cuteness as a way of defusing danger, there are these guys: I’m not exactly sure, but I think they’re supposed to represent Humpty Dumpty.  But why would you have or need two Humpy Dumpties at the same time, unless one were whole and the other smashed?  Or, come to thinkContinue reading “Cute Newt?”

Self-Immolation in a Lobster Pot

I concluded my last post with the cheery thought that the miniaturized and cheerful cuteness of most novelty salt and pepper sets allows them to deflect the dangerousness of the objects and people they represent.  This set seems to represent that quality perfectly. Here we have two jolly lobsters, merrily celebrating their own imminent (andContinue reading “Self-Immolation in a Lobster Pot”

Cuteness

I’ve often had people look at one or another of my salt-and-pepper sets and say, “Oh, that’s really cute.”  And indeed, it strikes me that almost all of the sets I have in my collection do fit easily in the category of “cute.”  The exude cuteness.  Which raises the question: what do we mean whenContinue reading “Cuteness”

The Ultimate Amputee?

At first glance, this set is merely a little mysterious: Could it be the profiles of two pregnancies?  Or a couple of faceless guys with bad toothaches?  Or perhaps just a couple of chawed-off hunks of bubble gum? Bringing the two shakers towards each other solves the mystery: It is, in fact, the ultimate amputee:Continue reading “The Ultimate Amputee?”

Yet More Amputees

Here’s a set of shakers that happily acknowledges its status as a pair of amputated body parts.  Not only are the feet off the body they surely ought to be attached to, but they also proudly announce, “Walked my feet off in Niagara Falls Canada.”  It’s a visual pun, see?  There’s no body, right?  TheseContinue reading “Yet More Amputees”

Body Parts Sold Separately Together

Novelty salt and pepper shakers tend to be cute–that is, they represent the objects and animals and people they depict as harmless and adorable, as innocently jolly residents or cheerful artefacts of a blissfully utopian world where the sun always seems to be shining and there is no pain and no angst and no taxes. Continue reading “Body Parts Sold Separately Together”