Monday, July 02, 2007


There’s a strangely amusing meme floating about the Internet these days, one of which I only recently became aware. (Mister With-It, dat’s me.)

I speak, of course, of lolcats.

WTF, you are probably wondering to yourself, is a lolcat? Let’s ask Old Uncle Wikipedia...
A lolcat is an image macro featuring a photograph of a cat with a humorous and idiosyncratic caption...lolcat images usually consist of a photo of a cat with a large caption characteristically formatted in a sans serif font such as Impact or Arial Black. The image is, on occasion, digitally edited for effect. The caption generally acts as a speech balloon encompassing a comment from the cat, or as a description of the depicted scene. The caption is intentionally written with deviations from standard English spelling and syntax, featuring “strangely-conjugated verbs, but [a tendency] to converge to a new set of rules in spelling and grammar.”

Frequently, lolcat captions take the form of snowclones in which nouns and verbs are replaced in a phrase. Some phrases have a known source while others seem to be specific to the lolcat form. Common themes include jokes of the form “Im in ur [noun], verb-ing ur [related noun].”
That’s a lot of long-winded explanation of what is basically a dopey Internet joke, but what the hell - I’m the guy who put the “anal” in “analysis.”

Snowclones. Now, there’s a word to reckon with. The term may be new to you (it was to me), but it’s something with which we are all too familiar. Once again, Wikipedia weighs in:
A snowclone or catch structure is a type of formula-based cliché which uses an old idiom in a new context. It was originally defined as “a multi-use, customizable, instantly recognizable, time-worn, quoted or misquoted phrase or sentence that can be used in an entirely open array of different jokey variants by lazy journalists and writers.”
Snowclones have been around a long time, and new ones are invented almost daily. F’r instance, think of all the variations you hear along the lines of “Pink is the new black.” Or, going back to the origin of the term “snowclone” itself, how ’bout: “If the Eskimos have 100 words for ‘snow,’ Elisson surely has 200 words for ‘shit.’” The one that drives the lolcat phenomenon - “Im in ur [X], [Y-ing] ur [Z],” lifted in its entirety from the 1998 gangsta rap classic “I’m in yo crib, nailin’ yo mama” by the People Of Color With An Undernourished Sense Of Humor - somehow works especially well with cats. Don’t ask me why.

The site “I Can Has Cheezburger?” is an excellent introduction to this demented business. Is it stupid? Is it silly? Sure...but there are occasional flashes of pants-pissing humor. Especially for those with a predisposition toward incontinence.

And since Erica asked, I’ll be happy to share with you some of my own attempts at creating a few lolcats. Look below the fold.

Coaster Hat lolcat

Fat Ass lolcat

Money lolcat

Dryer lolcat

Trippin’ lolcat

Kibblonium lolcat

Frenz lolcat

Quantum lolcat

Mattress lolcat

Sink lolcat

And it’s not just for cats anymore!

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