[show=kittykittykitty size=large]I take online video very seriously as a medium and as an art form. But that doesn’t mean I’m above enjoying some of its cruder pleasures, such as the antics of adorable felines, a phenomenon which has evolved to the point where subgenres like “cats playing the piano” now exist. And I’m prepared to say that’s a good thing. Why?
- Let’s start with Keyboard Cat, because you know I’m going to. Much has already been discussed about the coolest cat on the Internet, though the most coherent breakdown of the phenomenon is definitely the Rocketboom team’s Know Your Meme installment (which has been useful in explaining the phenomenon for everyone from MSNBC’s David Schuster to my boyfriend).
But what Know Your Meme points out succinctly is that what Keyboard Cat brings to online video is a tres cute way of saying “Fail,” which is something that this occasionally harsh world desperately needs. Please note for the future: If someone is going to point out to me that I’ve screwed up, I’d prefer the news come from a tabby in a blue onesie.
- Of course, Keyboard Cat isn’t the only kitten who knows how to tickle the ivories — the grey shorthair Nora, piano player extraordinary, has been Internet famous for much longer. But why does Nora make the world a better place? Because she inspires feats like this “catcerto”. Yep, that’s right, Lithuanian conductor Mindaugas Piecaitis took some of Nora’s original compositions and built a full orchestral piece around it, which was performed live in June 2009. Silly on the surface, maybe, but when you consider that Piecaitis found a way to transform the seemingly random into a lively and coherent piece of music. That is the kind of brilliance and the kind of creativity that could only find a home on the Internet.
- Here’s another example of that. Apologies if you’ve already seen it, but it’s too fantastic not to mention — the Amazon.com favorite Three Wolf Moon shirt got itself mashed up with Keyboard Cat. The concept for this T-shirt is awesome, but not just because you get three fierce Keyboard Cat poses for your 15 dollars — it also represents one of the best things about the Internet, the way in which ideas float about and evolve, bouncing from site to site, from person to person, from Twitter to Tumblr to the shirt on your back. It’s that hive mind which goes a long way towards defining our community. (Threadless, is it possible for me to receive a woman’s medium? For review purposes only, of course.)
In short, I’d argue that these theoretically trivial pleasures are a major part of what defines us as a community of international viewers and creators and thinkers and dreamers. Our interaction with these videos is not passive — it is evolving. It is exciting. It is…oh, lookit, kitty! ity