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I Can Has Internet Phenomenon?

March 4, 2009

After Iconoculture referenced lolcats in a webcast last week, I decided it was finally time to share this phenomenon with the rest of the class, and confess that yes, I am infatuated with funny pictures of cats. It all started two years ago when my younger sister sent me a link to icanhascheezburger.com. At first, I didn’t get it. After all, I am allergic to cats and have never had an interest in them. But I clicked through a couple of the “lolcats,” and I had to admit, they were hilarious. That’s all it took. I was hooked. “What the hell is he talking about?” You might be asking yourself.

Definition. I has one:

“A lolcat is an image combining a photograph, most frequently of a cat, with a humorous and idiosyncratic caption in (often) broken English-a dialect which is known as “lolspeak,” “kitteh,” or “kitty pidgin” and which parodies the poor grammar typically attributed to Internet slang. The name “lolcat” is a compound word of the words “LOL” and “cat”. A synonym for “lolcat” is cat macro, since the images are a type of image macro. Lolcats are designed for photo sharing imageboards and other internet forums. The term lolcat gained national media attention in the United States when it was covered by Time, which wrote that non-commercialized phenomena of the sort are increasingly rare, stating that lolcats have “a distinctly old-school, early 1990s, Usenet feel to [them].”

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Happy Cat

Happy Cat

There are two versions of the origin the of lolcats movement. One involving a curious cat looking down on you from the ceiling (Ceiling Cat), and another involving an overweight cat who loved cheeseburgers (Happy Cat). I prefer the Happy Cat version (see video below). The name of the best website for lolcats, icanhascheezburger.com, is a tribute to Happy Cat and his love of cheeseburgers.

There exist hundreds of Facebook groups dedicated to the sharing and aggregation of lolcats. There is even an application you can put in your profile that posts a new lolcat every day. In 2007, VH1 even mentioned lolcats as having “The Best Year Ever.” The beauty of the lolcats movement is that it is completely user-generated. Anyone can create their very own lolcat. All it takes is a sense of humor, a little imagination, and a cat picture. So, the next time you’re bored,  feeling down, or in search of cheap entertainment, do yourself a favor and look at some lolcats. Be careful though; they can become highly addictive.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. MelissaHamilton permalink
    March 4, 2009 12:15 pm

    OMG, I have never heard of this and frankly I am frightened.

  2. alexmkerlick permalink*
    March 4, 2009 1:08 pm

    Don’t be scurred.

  3. March 4, 2009 3:17 pm

    Um, Melissa.

    YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THIS?

    I am shocked.

    I’ve only ever done one LOLCat myself, which doesn’t really count because I didn’t do the photoshopping of the text, I just used it in the caption

  4. melissahamilton permalink
    March 4, 2009 3:20 pm

    I have never come this, seriously.

    #1 I am deathly allergic to cats

    #2 I hate cats.

    this makes me giggle though.

    Where have I been?!

  5. March 4, 2009 3:25 pm

    I don’t know. It routinely makes me laugh hysterically.

    I can’t believe you are Queen Nannerpuss and don’t know from LOLCat.

    And ps – Alex, entry title FTW

  6. March 6, 2009 8:44 pm

    Seriously new knowledge for me, too. I’m just not this cool. Thanks for bringing us up to speed, Alex. I hate cats. I think we should start a Loldawgs movement. Just saying. Kittens and cats have taken over the internet. Stop the madness.

  7. March 6, 2009 8:59 pm

    Oh Crystal. That’s Faildog. I’m on my bberry so I’m not sure if this is the websit but I think it’s faildog.com.

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