I was probably one of the last people on the internet to know what a lolcat was. See I'm a dog person and if there had been loldogs, I'd have known all about 'em. But grammatically challenged pussycats? Not so much. "I has funnie pitchures and capshuns? Wut you talkin' bout Kitty?"
Of course I'd seen a couple of funny cat pictures with cutesy sayings and I'd seen the phrase, "I Can Has Cheezburger" but I just thought it was some wise acre blogger poking fun at McDonalds. It wasn't until I was assigned to go see the "I Can Has Cheezburger, The MusicLOL" at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York that I truly understood the size, the scope and the power of the monstrous lolcat phenomenon.
First, for the four or five of you who don't know what a lolcat is, a little lolcat history. Way back in the dawn of the internet age, some guys and gals were sitting around taking pictures of their pussycats. They uploaded 'em to the web and to make them even more funnie, rote capshuns for 'em in a kitty pidgin Englush.
They called 'em lolcats--meaning "laughing out loud cats"--and before you could say "humanz is suckers," lolcats were everywhere.
Here's a documentary by Ben Burns, the long lost brother of documentarian Ken Burns, that details even more lolcat history:
Eva Thury of When Falls the Coliseum recently explained her theory about why "radioactive lolcats" are such a big deal:
The humor is predicated on an image of cats as
bimodal: endearing but powerful, and affectionately resentful of the
humans who give them shelter. A fairly typical one shows a cat sitting
on a computer keyboard, with the caption, “I sez SYSTEM IZ DOWN:
Petting will now commence.”
Written by Kristyn Pomranz and Katherine Steinberg, the musiclol tells the tale of the original lolcat (Seth Grugle) who wanted that legendary cheezburger:
After being uploaded to ICanHasCheezburger.com, a young, impressionable LOLcat embarks on a journey to find his one true love: A cheezburger. Along the way, he meets a colorful cast of characters who help — and hinder — his mission.
Along the way, he has to do battle with Mr. Wrong (Clint Carter), makes friends with Drop (Bryan Welnicki) and romances the keeper of the cheese herself, Jodie the mouse (Carly Zien).
A parade of actual lolcat photos are projected in the background throughout this fanciful tale of kitty kravings, and who could help but laugh at the evil antics of Mr. Wrong as he tries keep the innocent Lolcat under his spell using the promise of that elusive cheezburger?
Yes the musiclol was cuter than cute and I wanted to slap Lolcat a couple of times, but the delightful performances by Clint Carter, Bryan Welnicki and Lauren Kampf who plays Sumz, and some of the catchy tunes, made up for any of the musiclol's shortcomings. And the audience I saw it with was ROFLMAO throughout the show.
However, not everyone loves the lolcat kitty kraze. Matthew Gasteier created the FU Pequin Blog partly in response to the lolcat phenomenon. Just last week my fellow CE ClizBiz did a Babs Walters on Matthew's butt to find out what he has against our cute, furry friends. His answers may surprise you.
But what Mr. Gasteier may not understand is that "Evolution Explains Why Lolcats Control Your Mind." That's right, lolcats were part of a Yale study on the human brain.
Marie of the At The Lighthouse blog isn't quite so sure about Yale's conclusions that an obsession with lolcats indicates humans are conditioned to monitor the animals in their lives because of the hunting instinct:
No, for me the allure of lolcats is definitely rooted in humanities, rather than in biology, with that whole evolutional hunter-instinct thing. It’s fun to imagine that things and animals around us have human minds to match our human minds.
I think Marie has a point that when it comes to animals, humans are more comfortable when they can imagine their pets as cognizant as they are. After all, that's the way we get to create fanciful cheezburger lovin' worlds for them.
Megan Smith is the BlogHer Contributing Editor covering Television and Online Video. Her personal entertainment blog is Megan's Minute, Quirky Commentary Around The Clock.
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