Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I can has Lolcats?

Speaking of Lolcats, I love them sub rosa, and the Wikipedia entry on this Internet phenomenon is one of the funniest things I've read since discovering Wodehouse. The level of discourse analysis in this Wikipedia entry is impressive! It's academic and wide-ranging: a true review of the available literature on Lolcats. Here's an excerpt (a long-ass one), but you should really go read the whole thing:

A Lolcat, or LOLCAT, is an image combining a photograph, most frequently a cat, with a humorous and idiosyncratic caption in (often) broken English—a dialect which is known as "Kitty Pidgin",[1] "lolspeak", or Lolcat. The name "lolcat" is a compound word of "LOL" and "cat".[2][3] Another name is cat macro, being a type of image macro.[4] Lolcats are created for photo sharing imageboards and other internet forums. Lolcats are similar to other anthropomorphic animal-based image macros such as the O RLY? owl.[5]

The term lolcat gained national media attention in the United States when it was covered by Time,[6] 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]." The superimposed text is usually assumed to be uttered by the cat in the photograph. There are parallels between the language used in lolcats and baby talk, which some owners of cats often use when talking to them.
Common themes include jokes of the form "Im in ur noun, verb-ing ur related noun."[11]. This construction is a snowclone stemming from the phrase "I'm in ur base, killing ur doodz," which became a common meme in several real-time strategy games. "I has a noun" pictures show a cat in possession of an object while "Invisible noun" show pictures of cats apparently interacting with said invisible object.[11] The related "flavor" shots specifically show a cat (or another animal) licking/eating an item, person or animal (including sometimes themselves) and remarking how "[noun] haz a flavor."[12] "My noun, let me show you it/them" pictures are accompanied by cats apparently presenting or offering an object. Another common lolcat displays a cat with a specific look, which is described by adjective, and the text, "[adjective] cat is [adjective]", "[adjective] cat is not [adjective]" or "Your offering pleases [adjective] cat." A version of this is also stated as "adjective cat is not amused", or "[adjective] cat has run out of [noun]" (when the cat in related picture seems to be feeling the opposite of the adjective used to describe it.) Photographs exhibiting the red-eye effect might be captioned with text concerning "lazrs".

End of extract. If Lolcats make you laugh until you cry, please leave a comment in which you identify your favorite Lolcats genre. Is it the "Im in ur [noun], [verb]ing ur [related noun]? Maybe it's the more ambitious "i can has cheezburger" category. Or perhaps, like me, your favorite is the "invisible [noun]" genre?


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