Paul Parillo Welcome to the Era of the Internet Cat

I hope everyone is sitting down. If not, please take a moment and find a suitable place to rest your bottom; I’ll wait. 

Think of all the incredible world events within the last couple years: Osama Bin Laden’s assassination, the discovery of the Higgs boson, the Eurozone crisis etc. – all of these groundbreaking social and political climates have really only prepared us for the genesis of something even grander.

The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis will be home to the first ever Internet Cat Video Film Festival, MEOW! Katie Czarniecki Hill, an avid LOLcats supporter, has spearheaded this mission to discover which video featuring an adorable feline will win the grand prize (which is undecided at this point – other than the respect of fellow filmmakers, what could really be a worthy prize?) It’s nearly impossible not to get caught up in the internet hullabaloo when a popular video has been seen by millions of people. Television executives who boast budgets of a few million dollars an episode are always on edge when it comes to the demography and popularity of their show. If a project fails, there goes the money, the time and the opportunity of making another show; it’s hard to get the money for another show if your track record isn’t perfect. 

What does the filmmaker lose if she/he/he-she doesn’t get the recognition of millions of people video-snacking some LOLcats videos? Other than the forty seconds to make the video and a little dignity, no skin off anyone’s back has to be shed. It’s a very forgiving and potentially rewarding practice to make videos of such trivialities. Every time you watch a video on Youtube and an advertisement plays prior to the video – yeah, that means the person who filmed their cat playing a keyboard just made a couple thousand dollars. And now with a festival promoting the recognition of an already immensely successful pop culture phenomenon, I shudder thinking of whether or not this will be the LOLcats epoch.

And who the fuck doesn’t like kittens? If you don’t like watching these precious animals doing random, useless things, then I suggest you take a peek at your lineage, because you’re probably related to Hitler. With all the meows, big eyes, general naivety to life, it’s no wonder these videos (among other popular Youtube vids) have been pleasing people of all ages and all walks of life from the comfortable and learned environments of their bedrooms. I’m constantly hearing old fogies complaining about the mental and physical degradation of our youth due to the time wasted on a computer when they should be outside ploughing the fields for Pa. And even though this may have some validity to it, you can’t argue that this very same generation that doesn’t know how to spell the word library, hasn’t become the most computer literate generation with their almost “robotic” ability to load important information to social media platforms like Youtube and Facebook. 

Minneapolis might be far from Toronto, but I can assure you, the Internet Cat Video Film Festival will be well worth the time, the money and the lack of self respect required of anyone attending. You never know, maybe it will be great, maybe it’ll spawn other festivals (epic fails festival, news anchor bloopers festivals, popular songs covered by closet cases expecting to become the next big phenomenon festival). This is the age of internet – it’s sink or swim, cutthroat, dog eat dog – if you can’t handle it, go read a fucking book, you pussy. 


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