Lolz Cats and My Beef

You have to admit, there’s something terribly wrong with a society that places more importance on Lolz pets and  the freaks that shop Wal-Mart than on the Fine Arts. If our future's generations were genuinely  interested in paying just 1/3 as much attention to wisdom-inducing activities or matters of real value than they do to the Lolz Cat, Lolzers et al., then perhaps I’d be able to feel good about such sites.  But not until then.

It saddens me  that all these forms of crass entertainment are preferred over the ones that procure a truer and lasting enjoyment but demand some effort. But why should that be surprising?  Less than 12% of North Americans have ever set foot in an arts museum; anyone can locate a Lolz Cat site but not everyone can locate their country on a globe, and, on the street, people are more likely to recognize an obese redneck that was featured on “The People of Wal-Mart” blog than Noam Chomsky.  A Youtube video of someone farting has over eleven million hits while you'd have a hard time finding 1% of eleven million people who can tell you what happened in Sierra Leone or Bosnia.

Sure, I awww-ed and giggled when the Lolz Cat pictures first hit the net, but now that I’ve been bombarded with countless such pics, I feel I’ve pretty much seen ‘em all.  The captions are trite clichés barely surpassed in insipidness by the ones found on those pseudo-motivational images.  The pictures and videos have become  disturbingly similarly unimaginative whether they’re from Haz Cheeseburger, Lolz Cats, Hot Dogs or the slew of other Hallmark-for-the-mentally-challenged type of animal or feel-good site that’s out there.

That’s because Jim-and-Jane-with-a-pet-and-a-camera are flooding these sites with content, hoping to get their 5 minutes of fame by posting a staged or waited-forever-to-get-lucky but out-of-focus picture of their pet and writing a witless caption in a way that guarantees never having to reach for a dictionary, while site owners are pulling in great advertising bucks thanks to senseless but free content while somewhere yet another truly talented artist is forced to pawn his medium in order to cover rent, throws in the towel, and ends his days in a call center selling bogus products no one makes and no one needs for some guy he’s never seen but rumours are he owns three Bentleys.   

And the “humans sicken me so I prefer relaxing by laughing at cute, harmless, uncorrupted animals” line doesn’t fly with me.  What’s the one thing these pictures have in common and the real appeal: anthropomorphism.  It’s not that you love animals, it’s that you enjoy seeing yourself in an animal. Escaping reality by hunting down and pointing out basal human traits and behaviours in anything that’s non-human, including human babies???  In that case how do you explain the comparable popularity of "Failblog" since logically, who'd want to escape human failings by focusing on human failings and harshly judging those that erred, and thus, are human? So, is it that we prefer to imagine ourselves as creatures possessing a mere fraction of our intellectual capacity and potential?  Or is it the belief that less-intelligent creatures would provide a better world if they possessed our intelligence?  That still doesn't make sense to me. Do you really think we’d still be the dominant species?  If your Golden Retriever had your level of intelligence, do you honestly believe that you’d still be the Alpha-male or that he’d still be your best friend?  And I can only imagine that any animal that would think like Cheney would do a hell of a lot more damage than the real Cheney?    

We humans have wondrous abilities; we’ve produced extraordinary things of astonishing beauty, breadth, and depth; we’ve probed and theorized and proved parts of the impossibly mind-perplexing. At any moment, at any time, nature bursts with unbridled animation.
And yet we prefer to watch others live a directed reality on TV, a simple story recapitulated for twenty of the show's forty minutes.  We smell digital roses and we can't be bothered  to observe the raw nature of nature through a non-raciocentric lens. We’ve created an awesome tool like the Internet, and porn, fraud, and content-less content for a pay-click is what prevails.  We prefer to share stupid-but-cute pictures rather than a minute of worthwhile information. 
Our obsession with the stupid infuriates me, further still when non-participants are frowned upon.  It’s glorified brain porn.  And these types of sites and attractions now dominate our cultural landscape in between the reality shows and the empty, depressing lyrics and banal beats of synthesized sex heroes.

So why should I be happy about the Lolz-crap site formula when what I see is yet more evidence of our general mental decline through our destructive obsession towards The Spectacle?  
This isn’t to say that pipi-caca-tit jokes and annoying pet owners and the Britney Spears don’t have their place in this world and that, by default, anyone that enjoys aspects of such things endorses retardation to a socially-revered anal phase.  Original potty humour will always find a way to make me laugh.  However, the limits of toilet subjects and (especially) of the people that usually create such jokes are easily reached.  Predictable potty humour is as pleasant as a badly performed root canal.  Ditto for the dripping-with-sappy-sentimentality crap that’s supposed to warm my heart and the redundantly worn-out pop-picture trends.
What's shocking is that these forms of entertainment haven't just become barriers to true culture, they are becoming its equivalent. Human stupidity is the new art form!  And while we're all complaining about this, we're more than willing to make it happen.
Whatever happened to our sense of discovery?  Have we really become blazé and numb to the point where we’re barely willing to search, to unearth within ourselves emotions and thoughts heretofore unknown.  Instead we flock towards the safety of mass acceptance through empty forms that scream out the feelings we’re meant to feel so we don’t have to wonder how we should feel, relying on the same codes that make us increasingly easier marketing targets?

But it’s the government's and the corporations' fault that you don’t care, right?  
At this point our future relies on the sacrifices we're willing to make. 

Keep on clicking!


 © 2010, Pascal-Denis Lussier 

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