Cat porn

November 27, 2008 at 2:00 am 3 comments

The title of this post should grab your attention! I’m pretty busy this week with work so less posts. But I am planning a future post on Prez-elect Obama, so stay tuned. I came across a really interesting article that tries to explain the appeal of LOLCats. If you’ve been living in another galaxy, you won’t have the faintest idea of what I’m talking about, so go here and here.

As an example of Web 2.0 user-generated content, you can’t really find a better example than the LOLCat internet phenomenon. Soon, the LOLCats site, Icanhascheezburger, will boast over a billion page views (mmmm…slightly more than my 2 page views!). And every day, about 5,000 cute kitty photos are uploaded to the site. Only 6-8 photos are selected from these – what I ask is the selection criteria?!

True to say that when we think of cats, we think cute, furry, kittenish, inquisitive, skittish. We don’t tend to associate sadness or craziness with cats. But that’s what the LOLCats site has managed to do – alter the imagery of cats into maniacal, scheming felines who will stop at nothing to get their claws on the Holy Grail – the cheezburger. I suppose it’s the feline equivalent of Harry Potter’s philosopher’s stone. The dude who came up with the LOLCats genre, Eric Nakagawa, started it all with this photo:

But I’m not sure how cheezburgers (spelt incorrectly intentionally) got in on the act. Leave a comment if you know.  But thousands of LOLCats photos depict kitty waiting or searching for the Holy Grail:

The article suggests that the pathos of LOLCats lies in an appeal to tragedy or an acknowledgement of just how tough life can be. Just like cats longing for cheezburgers, humans long for things. We don’t always manage to reach our goals in life and sadness and loss punctuate life’s journey. We experience unrequited love. And so LOLCats depict this:

That last photo: been there before! It’s such powerful imagery that it transported me back to high schooI. I remember a dude, Michael F, with flowing blonde locks. I used to drool over him, leave him notes in his schoolbag. But I don’t think he ever noticed me.

So the appeal of LOLCats goes beyond just being photos of cute kitties. The imagery is often comedic but it is also anthropomorphic – attributing human-like characteristics and emotions to cats – and quite possibly helping humans to find meaning or solace. So LOLCats are stand-ins for us and express the feelings, the sorrows and frustrations that we as humans so often feel.

Looking at cartoons, the article suggests that animals have always been used to convey sadness or missed opportunities.  Here is one by the famous cartoonist, Charles Adams, showing two unicorns watching Noah’s Ark sail away without them:

What feelings does this provoke within you? For me, it’s abandonment, being left out or left behind, so close yet so far away, missed opportunities, always stuck in the rain and not the happiness of sunshine, not being picked to dance at the school social event (mmm…where’s that psychiatrist’s couch!).

And now I’ve discovered LolSecretz where cat images utter the secret wishes or thoughts of humans:

i-just-wishes-i-wuz-white

So LOLCats is like a virtual psychiatrist’s couch! What I’d find really interesting to know is whether there is a correlation between uploads of sad looking, desperate cats with accompanying messages of angst and the global financial meltdown. As we try to be optimistic, I’m sure that many of us are privately worried about what the future holds – does LOLCats reflect this? I plan to find out!

About these ads

Entry filed under: LOLCats. Tags: .

Emerging social problems Rare species discovered in Switzerland!

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. umm u stocker hy u want MY name  |  August 5, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    lol u guys dont make sense ell some but u need to spell stuff right like i knowur trying to make it short and all but makes no sense ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    Reply
  • 2. Diana Jillian  |  July 18, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    cute post.

    Reply
  • 3. jenn  |  July 20, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    LOLCats is great—there is always on image/saying perfect for each occassion–if you can take the time to get through them all!! Great post!!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Search ThinkingShift

   Made in New Zealand
     Thinkingshift is?

ThinkingShift Tweets

Flickr Photos

Zsa Zsa

Zeph

Polocrosse

More Photos
 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia License.

ThinkingShift Book Club


Kimmar - Find me on Bloggers.com

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46 other followers

%d bloggers like this: