Memewhile … how cats won the internet (and helped kickstart the Arab Spring)

…[I]n the past few years, cats have stopped being simply pets and become a phenomenon. In a weird act of convergent techno-evolution, the metamorphosis of cats into cultural icons is powered by – and in turn powers – the growth of the internet.

“The prevalence and popularity of cats on the internet is due to the wide variety of ideas and feelings associated with them – cats are very versatile signifiers,” explained Dr Radha O’Meara, lecturer in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne and author of a recent study titled Do Cats Know They Rule YouTube: surveillance and the pleasures of cat videos.

“Cats are common throughout much of the world, so they can be readily accessed as subjects to be recorded with little regard for geography, culture, language and class. When people engage with cats, it is not necessarily dependent on language. Much of the internet is segregated by language, but cats can transcend this.”

…Indeed, as many have noted, the internet is made of cats. The cute colonisation of the web is closely linked to the advent of social media. The earliest known cat clip, CatBread by Hirose Takuro, cropped up in 2002, two years before the launch of Facebook. After that, proliferation was exponential…

h/t pislamonausea central

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  • Cats are taking over. By the way, nice to see that Gary is back.

    • Frau Katze

      He’s on Tumblr now. We will see how long he lasts.

    • AlanUK

      Cats were always in charge – it’s just that they are moving to retake their correct position in the WORLD.
      We don’t have a cat – a cat has taken over our house.

      • Waffle

        I have to agree — Farfel owns me — I just share his apartment and his balcony and just about everything else here. But what always amazes me is that we understand each other purrfectly — the tone of the Mehs or the yowls, whether his tail is up, down or sideways and the incredible accuracy of silent communication.

        • Xavier

          Concur. Once you manage to get on the same wavelength, it’s almost like talking to a person. Nom Nom has a repertoire of grunts, groans, and warbles that would do a mockingbird proud: “Dinnertime!”, “Hi!”, “Please laser toy”, and “It’s 2 AM, wake up!”.

          If they had thumbs, they’d rule the world.

          • Waffle

            Farfel is so polite — I get to sleep in until 6 a.m. at which point, if I don]t haul myself out of bed and make his “soup”, he nibbles my toes. (and he has very sharp little teeth)

          • Frau Katze

            They wake you at bizarre hours because they’re nocturnal. They have very good low light vision.

            A highly successful predator who larger cousins are extremely dangerous.

          • Waffle

            Don’t kid yourself — the little ones are natural born killers — ever watched them “play” with a mouse or a bug?

  • Petrilla

    Who was that very handsome terrorist, as they all and always seem to be, videoed and made fun of all around the world, for his Miss Kitty notebook? Remind me, so many of these bearded wonders in the news.

    • Frau Katze

      Strangely enough, terrorists like cats too. There’s a Hadith that Mo was a cat-lover. Cats were useful (and still do ensure your house remains mouse-free).

      • Waffle

        We should actually thank the ancient Egyptians for that one — the carnivorous little wild cat found a rich source of meat on the hoof in the graineries where mice were having a field day nibbling on the carefully stored surplus grain which the ancients used for export trade and became rich. Not only were cats worshiped as goddesses (Bastet), it was a capital offense to kill or abuse them. Ironically, however, there was a booming business in the mummification of kittens to be used as votive offerings or to take into the next world with you. Hard to believe but if you’re really curious, there are a few on display at the ROM (bring Kleenex).

  • Barrington Minge

    What’s the mooslim take on cats? are they haram or halal?