How great are cats?

by Hannah Rudow. 0 Comments

In ancient Egypt, cats were worshipped, and in America cats are still one of the top pets. In American pop culture the cat-obsessed woman is also a prominent stereotype. But, with the advent of the Internet, the show adoration of cats has ballooned. Some would say that the amount of cat pictures on the Internet is now way out of control. Others would just post a picture of their cat.

In the affection war over cats vs. dogs, I have always counted myself as a ‘dog person’ despite having had both cats and dogs in my home growing up. However, on the Internet, I find myself enjoying cat and dog pictures equally. I think that this is because I don’t have to worry about what said animal might physically do in immediate area.

Getting back to the point- cats are a big part of Internet culture if for nothing else that they played a huge role in creating many memes.

This image is one of the first classic cat memes (by my definition). It features the caption of “can I has cheezburger”, which has become quite famous throughout the net.

(http://blogs.laweekly.com/arts/2012/11/lolwork_emily_huh_ben_i_can_has_cheezburger_cat_meme.php)

The Internet at large has dubbed the feline in this image “Happy Cat”, and the joke is, of course, that “Happy Cat” is hungry and wants a cheeseburger.

The ‘cat picture with caption’ has been dubbed the “LOLcat” type meme, though recently the term has fallen out of vogue since there are so many other kinds of “LOL-something” type memes with other animals. “LOL” being texting slang for Laughing-Out-Loud.

Before delving too deeply into the topic of LOLcats (and other famous cat memes) I ought to sum up what the heck a ‘meme’ is, just to have all the bases covered.

A meme is a viral Internet phenomenon. There are alternate definitions because ‘meme’ was a phrase developed on the Internet, where there is always someone with a different definition of something. Some people say that a meme can only be a picture, while others cite videos (primarily on youtube) as also being included under the meme umbrella. I prefer to include videos/youtubes in the meme category, so I will wind up posting those too (not just pictures).

Getting back to the cat with the cheeseburger...

The grammar and spelling in the phrase is bad, but not so much that it isn’t understood. Perhaps it is written that way to evoke the idea that cats wouldn’t have a good concept of grammar or spelling if they could suddenly could speak English? Perhaps. Regardless, such a writing style has become popular throughout many memes, often making used of accepted alternate spellings or ‘txt tlk’ that is prevalent online, such as this image and this one

(kitteh=kitty, luv=love, k=okay, thx=thanks, bai=bye)

Two sites devoted to posting amusingly captioned cat photos are the appropriately named:

http://www.lolcats.com/

http://icanhas.cheezburger.com/

The allure of these sites is that they encourage you, the viewer, to re-caption previously submitted pictures or to caption and upload your own. However there is a huge distinction between these two sites I just posted. If you are looking for comical and witty cat pictures aggregated to one convenient list, and only that, the first site is the one for you. The second site used to be just LOLcat pictures, but now it is home to many other kinds of memes. The ihascheezbuger site is home of Memebase, FailBlog, and other sites it has absorbed.

Memebase is one of my personal favorites, because it houses many ‘themed’ pages, including ‘Pokememes’ (Pokemon), ‘My Little Brony’ (My Little Pony FIM), and ‘Picture is Unrelated’ (random funny things). The Pokememes page is devoted to jokes for the Pokemon fandom (which is a subculture of fans of a particular show/book/movie/game/whatever). It is so hard for me to no to merrily skip off into the world of ‘other memes’ while singing the praises of each respective fandom I am a part of with a blatant bias.

This post is already long, and I’ve gotten off topic, but I haven’t covered all the cat-meme things I want to go over. Therefore, I’ve decided to make a series of posts about cat-memes before moving on to other things. Even if you’re not a cat person (like me) knowing about these memes is still part of your Internet education and will help you understand other memes!

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