December 5, 2008

I Can Has Over-Analysis

Jay Dixit at Salon weighs in with nearly 1,800 words on why the lolcats of Icanhascheezburger fame are so appealing. (Left, the book inspired by the website. After the success of blogs turned books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Stuff White People Like, does that seem like a backwards process anymore?)

More on Dixit's analysis in a moment, but the real news (for me) was that lolcats have spawned legions of lol-imitators. There’s lolpresidents, loldogs, lolhan (that’s Lindsay Lohan in lol-speak), and lol-walruses, which are known as lolruses (picture down below).

Returning to the felines, there’s also the lolcats Bible Translation Project. It’s what it sounds like; a complete translation of the Bible in lolcats lingo. First entry, Genesis. (FYI, the Ceiling Cat is the Divine Entity):
Boreded Ceiling Cat makinkgz Urf n stuffs. "Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat maded teh skiez An da Urfs, but he did not eated dem.… At start, no has lyte. An Ceiling Cat sayz, i can haz lite? An lite wuz. An Ceiling Cat sawed teh lite, to seez stuffs, An splitted teh lite from dark but taht wuz ok cuz kittehs can see in teh dark An not tripz over nethin."
Wow. As to the Salon article, Dixit supports his thesis with these points, which I'll reveal after this lolrus picture.
— The amusing misspellings and bad grammar of the lolcats result from the imagined reality that, “Cats are dumb and can't spell.” (Check.)
— As engineered by human photographers and caption writers, the lolcats are not trying to be cute. (What?! No check.)
— Jay argues that lolcats “don't represent cats at all. They're a completely different kind of beast, [who are] mischievous (if incompetent) rascals.” Jay adds that “We've gone from cats as cats... to cats as human beings. The sad lolcats represent people.” (Check withheld as I contemplate why this would make the lolcats more appealing than… cats.)
— The sad lolcats are “tragic figures of grief, yearning and unrequited love.” And the cheeseburger is not really a cheeseburger— it's a symbol of that ineffable something that we all yearn for. Jay continues:
“The comic form is generally a prophylaxis against sentimentality. By articulating profound feelings through cats… speaking garbled English, we're able to shroud genuine emotions in pseudo-irony— which means those animals can evoke deeper emotions without fear of mockery or cheapness.”
Check? No check? I have just one word:

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