Sorry to be a day late this week. I place the blame on cats. My Thursday afternoon, usually occupied with beavering away at the keyboard writing Listening Post, was instead occupied by an NPR webinar–with a crew gathered in my office to kibbitz and make comments about the presentation while eating popcorn. To illustrate one point, the webinauts trotted out an animated gif of leaping cats–lots of cats leaping over and over in a loop. Disturbing really. I can’t remember what the point was.
But it all put me off schedule, leaving me writing instead on Friday morning, and still thinking about cats. Internet cats in particular. When I Googled “cute cat videos” the search giant delivered 277,000,000 hits in .42 seconds. And I find every one of them really annoying.
I think the people who make cute cat videos actually hate cats. I love cats–not that they care (that’s part of their charm). Cuteness is way too low a bar. Cats are mysterious and aloof, graceful, regal and fierce, they have a gift for stillness.
In cute cat videos, cats act like people–they play the piano, they ride skateboards, they ride on top of other animals. But here’s the thing; cats are not like people at all–they are like lions and pumas and ocelots. Monkeys are like people. And there are very few cute monkey videos.
I’ve been waiting a long time for the cute cat fad to fade. But it has become something of an industry, jumping off the Internet into old media TV advertising. There’s no escape. The only thing worse is the talking babies that seem to have a corner on sound financial advice.