Disapproving Rabbits and Cats that Look like Hitler
Sometimes you build what you think is going to be the best missile defense system EVER and instead you end up with rabbits who look at you with disdain. Or bulldogs wearing sunglasses. Or squirrels with casts. Or cats with tiny Fuhrer staches.
It amazes me how much of the internets are dedicated to odd animal phenomena. It’s almost as if America’s Funniest Home Videos is actually the wizard behind the curtain of Internet 1.0. Throughout the early nineties I watched that show with my brother. And there were always animals doing things like running through the legs of toddlers, knocking them on their diapered butts, and then sliding down waterslides to land in plastic pools. Only to shake off the water on mom’s new rug. No one was hurt. We laughed. It all seems so innocent now.
Now, that is, that we have Disapproving Rabbits, Cats that look like Hitler, Pets who want to kill themselves, or Upside down dogs, available, like anthropomorpha-porn, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
I spend a lot of time thinking about why animal shows that feature orangutans dressed up like small, orange, human boxers are still funny and interesting in some parts of the world (Hello, Safari World) and extremely disturbing in others (hopefully the latter group is growing faster than the former). But the internet is still a place for animal shows. Not all of them are exploitative and usually they deal with domestic animals (not smoking chimps or boxing kangaroos or elephants playing soccer– though all of those still exist in real life in various places). Online there’s mostly Photoshop and ironic captions. The most popular feature nonhumans doing human things in weird ways (wearing casts or sunglasses). Or animals being sarcastic (Fuck You, Penguin) or Cute Ones Falling Asleep. They get book deals. Probably good ones.
I don’t know why this is. Except that as we allow ever fewer real polar bears and tigers to exist, we make more and more baby onesies with their likenesses printed on them. Animal shows may be somewhat similar in that as they have disappeared from Central Park and downtown Chicago, they nonetheless show up online. I think that we simply don’t want to get rid of our animal avatars. On our water bottles, baby clothes, earrings, or profile pages. It is probably because we miss animals themselves. Being human can be extremely lonely. So we dress up others to keep us company or to make us laugh and because we, I believe, still want to connect. Also, because living with an ironic wolf T-shirt is easier than living with a real wolf in your backyard. Even if they’re wearing sunglasses.
ps. Check out this hamster (with giant testes) falling asleep.