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Archive | 12:00 am

Mr. Blog Versus The Lolcats

1 Jul

July 1, 2011

If there is anything about me that you have to know it is that I hate lolcats. Hate them! I hate them with a passion that most people usually only reserve for their summer school teacher or mother-in-law. I hate looking at them, I hate talking about them, I hate people who like them.

I can barely restrain my rage long enough to type this.

Those damn things are everywhere. It is like somebody’s 50-year old unmarried aunt took over the internet. “Oh look! How cute! The cat wants a cheeseburger! Silly kitty! Kitty-cats can’t eat cheeseburgers.” She then forwards it to everyone in her address book, including her nephew who deletes her messages unopened, all her book club friends, and her pen pal in Michigan, who calls her up later that night to tell her about the wonderful kitty picture she found in her mailbox.

Why do I hate them so much? It isn’t the pictures themselves as much as it is the mindset behind them. I can’t imagine who would find them so cute/funny/loveable. It has to be the same people who keep The Family Circus in business and I hate that too. (I also hate the illiteracy. Cats are usually personified as wise and aloof. Where did the lousy grammar come from?) There is a simplicity and purity about them that drives me nuts. Their wholesomeness only serves to feed something very dark in me. It is a visceral reaction. Very, very visceral.

So of course the lolcats came up in conversation with my brother. It was no accident. He knows what they do to me so he dropped them into a conversation just to hear the bile and venom in my voice, the growl as I started ranting “I hate those &$%^# things! HATE THEM!”

It went on from there. I can be quite eloquent when screaming in near-incoherent rage.

I finally wound down, caught my breath, and ended my side of the conversation with the eminently logical “I was here first!” Since I am old enough to remember rotary phones, LP’s, and my manners, not to mention a time before the internet, I felt pretty secure in my position.

Well, I was half right. Just not the half that counts.

Despite the fact that research into what would eventually become the internet reaches back as far as- yes, this is fact- the 1950’s, the world wide web as we know it didn’t pop into existence until the 1990’s and the first lolcat puked itself online in 2006. (Yes, I actually researched the damned things.) But the story doesn’t end there. I was shocked, awed, dismayed, and just plain flabbergasted, gobsmacked, and slobberknocked to find that the unfunny felines have a history dating back to… hold on for it…the 1870’s.

Yes, the lolcats are part of a tradition that stretches back 140 years.

1905, by Harry Whittier Frees

A very stupid tradition.

Time Magazine once stated that lolcats have “a distinctly old-school, early 1990s, Usenet feel to [them].” Old-school 1990’s? Go back to school, Time Magazine. In Britain, Harry Pointer was taking pictures of his cats and adding funny captions back in the 19th Century.

Thanks, Harry. You have a lot to answer for.

Taking a picture back then was a bit of work. You couldn’t just whip out your cell phone and snap a picture. Even a still life took a good deal of setting up of equipment. On top of that, who would then take the time to get the cats to stay still, let alone dressed, long enough to those pictures? What kind of lonely weirdos were those guys?

I can only imagine my great-great-grandfather looking at that daguerreotype and ripping it up in disgust.

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