We asked for the Internet to make Siku the Danish baby polar bear famous, and it delivered. The new adorable polar bear cub on the block's rise to fame includes Der Spiegel saying he's "conquered the Internet"; he's appeared on the Today Show; he has almost 15,000 Facebook fans; and his collection of YouTube videos asphyxiates at least one viewer a day. Clearly, by 2011 standards, Siku has made it. But, as we saw with Germany's Knut, cute-related fame can lead to tragedy.
This cute bear-cub effect has Siku on the same path as Knut, who passed away last March of an epileptic fit just before its fifth birthday. Unfortunately, like many victims of childhood stardom, Knut fell fast and hard. Knut's star peaked when he appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair with Leonardo DiCaprio (himself a former child star). At just five months old, Knut stopped being so cute. Without all the attention he grew up on, he developed psychological issues. A German Zoologist even called him a "psychopath," as The Wire's Elspeth Reeve noted when the bear died.
The parallels between Siku and Knut are undeniable. Due to strangulating cute, Knut came into this world as an international celebrity. Siku, with his lolling about is possibly even cuter than Knut. Don't believe it? Just watch and die:
Is Siku doomed to the same troubled fate? There's nowhere to go but down for those whose livelihoods (and egos) depend on their baby faces. See: Gary Coleman and that kid from Jerry Maguire.
Some Knut diehards argue that Siku will never reach the same status as Knut. ""#siku is not the new knut! no one can replace #knut!," tweeted one fan, notes The Guardian. Hopefully the Danish have learned something from their German neighbors. “Siku will be a completely different bear than Knut,” Frank Vigh-Larsen told te Today Show. “He will grow up in a different environment."
We guess that means less coddling. But not even Vigh-Larsen can stop the Internet. And, the Internet loves cute.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.