July 13, 2007
I’ve been holding off on updates about lolcats and related memes for a while because it’s easy to get burned out and probably as boring for you as it is for me. But there are still some interesting parts to it. As I alluded to in Inadvertent Lazymeme Clearinghouse Lamentations, once you’re known for something like writing a post about lolcats and grammar, you become the central place for both people looking for information about such things, as well as the go-to place for people to pitch their new ideas about the topic, whether they’re exciting or not.
As is usually the case, most people who are just trying to fill in the blanks with a lolwhatever site are not only unfunny, but tedious. I have what’s called a “Hippo Problem”, based on the problem of someone offhandedly mentions a fondness for hippos once, and is plagued the rest of their days with hippo-emblazoned kitsch for the rest of their days.
My hippos are captioned cats.
It’s a thankless burden — imagine if you were an expert on “I Kiss You!”, or the go-to guy for All Your Base. I’m just glad I didn’t write anything about that goddamn dancing baby.
The truth, of course, is that it’s not so bad, and I try to remember that there’s inevitably somebody out there who feels like they really understand this topic. They’re sitting in a cafe somewhere with a laptop, resentful and bitter that a hack like me got associated with lolcats in the first place. I’m sure the I Can Has Cheezeburger folks get hate mail from people who said they started a lolrus site exactly four days earlier and have thus been completely ripped off.
For every angry would-be lolcat expert, though, there are some perks to this kind of thing. “Cats Can Has Grammar” is (I think, I’m lousy at tracking stats) my most popular post in the nearly 8 years that I’ve been blogging, with something like half a million people having read it since it went up. I’ve gotten mentioned or quoted in stories all over the place, from the Chicago Tribune to a TV station in North Carolina to an Associated Press story that ran all over the place. I even talked to the Wall Street Journal, though I’m hoping some editor spiked the piece that was being researched, in a fit of good taste. Somewhere, Mahir’s talent agent is shaking his head sadly. “Enjoy it while it lasts, kid.”
The picture above shows that the Houston Chronicle actually ran a cover story about the lolcat phenomenon that referred to me as a “legendary blogger”. Look, mom, I still don’t have a college degree, but now I’m a lolcat legend!
And the final lesson is that we all create our own misery. If I complain that this one lighthearted and offhand piece gets more attention than all the writing I’ve carefully crafted over the years, then it’s of course only fair that I get my comeuppance. My favorite newsweekly, Time, published their own lolcats story today, and I was kind of disappointed to see that I’m not mentioned anywhere in it. Be careful what you ask for…