I Can Has Cheezburger?

March 3, 2008

Now I realise I’m late to the party on this one, but I appear to have developed an unhealthy fascination with lolcats. For those unfamiliar with this murky world, it involves a photo of a cat with superimposed type representing what the cat is thinking. (And yes, it’s a combination of ‘Laugh Out Loud’ and ‘cat’.)

I know, it sounds rubbish – and lot of it is. But there’s something seriously addictive about it. A big part of it is the language used – a bizarre mash-up of baby-talk and the creative typing loved by the IM generation. ‘Your’ is always ‘ur’, ‘like’ is ‘liek’, the correct form of greeting is ‘O hai’, and as for the grammar – well, the biggest lolcats site is called ‘I Can Has Cheezburger?’ which kind of says it all.

Anil Dash makes the point that the language that’ s grown up around it is particularly interesting because it “has a fairly consistent grammar. I wasn’t sure this was true until I realized that it’s possible to get cat-speak wrong.” And somewhere in these unwritten grammatical rules lies the secret of its appeal – when I’m scrolling through pages of the stuff looking for my next hit, the ones that don’t have the right sort of language don’t appeal to me at all.

Try it for yourself. The best way in is to read this slide-show essay and to follow the links in it. You might find the lolcats a little twee, but I defy you to resist the lolrus – the ongoing saga of a walrus and his blue bucket. (I Has a Bucket. Noooo they be stealin’ my Bucket.) And the lolpresidents can be pretty funny too.

One final note. After hangin’ with the kitties, I clicked onto Evol Kween’s blog, to find a post containing the lolcat-sounding sentence “For realz.” Could such an ultra-groovy artist and horror fan have been seduced into this saccharine world?

I asked him. It turns out to be a hip-hop gangsta phrase. So maybe the cats are tougher than I thought.

One Response to “I Can Has Cheezburger?”

  1. Evol Kween Says:

    Hahaa, that was the last thing I was expecting you to post about. Funnily enough, my secret shame is that I’m obsessed with http://www.stuffonmycat.com but Shhhh, don’t tell anyone.

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