I have been pondering about writing something about lolcats for quite a while, but lots of people have been commenting on them, so I have held back. However, I am increasingly concerned about the widespread tendency of people to understand lolcats as devoid of any education and sophisticated use of language. Some people patronizingly link lolcat-language to babyspeak. In order to draw attention to the growing discrimination against lolcats based on their perceived disability to write purrfick grammr I decided to make this small survey of lolcat literacy available to my discerning readers.
Consider this stereotypical view of lolcats, blatantly accused of causing illiteracy!
Lolcats are being accused of degrading the English language with their ignorance and apathy.
Contrary to popular belief many lolcats have a keen interest in language and learning. In fact, many lolcats claim desks and libraries to be their favourite places.
lolcat imporving her range of vocabulary
lolcat lost in reading
lolcat browsing library
lolcat grabbed by story plot
It is not just the materiality of books locats are fascinated with. Lolcats love reading books. Studies have shown that lolcats prefer reading novels of the fantasy genre over all other genres. Lolcat reading includes Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”, C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and of course, “Harry Potter” by J.K. Rowling.
The following case study shows that lotcat literacy is a situated social practice.
The average lolcat overcomes initial difficulties motivated by her desire to communicate and stay in touch.
Locats have shown a great admiration for the beauty of the English language, always trying to improve their literacy skills, expanding their range of vocabulary, and even master punctuation.
Literate lolcat improving her grammar.
Lolcat using apostrophe where it should.
Here are some samples of lolcast using big words almost correctly. This serves to show: lolcats are not cognitively challenged!
Lolcts have a also a great affinity for computers. Most of them are digitally literate, many of them keen bloggers or wikipedia editors. An empirical study of over 1500 cats has shown that 89% percent of lolcats own a computer and a high speed internet connection. (Infintecate.com 2007)
Here is a sad example of lolcat discrimination – an innocent lolcat accused of stealing the internets, while in reality many lolcats are highly trained computer specialists.
Discrimination against lolcats has been compared with sexual and racial discrimination, however leading lolcats claim that it is all about being a cat. Some people express such phobia of lolcats that they want to get rid of them alltogether. “We must rid the internet of not only LOLCATs, but of all cats.” says downwiththeinternets, (2008)
Despite all prejudices, discrimination and social disadvantages and long gruelling work hours many lolcats are successful high school and university graduates. However, until now only a few are holding respectable teaching and research positions in universities.
Lolcat studying for exam.
Lolcat writing dissertation.
Studies have shown that lolcats on average do not cheat or plagiarize more that the human population.
Lolcat scholars are known to employ creative methodologies, thinking both inside and outside the box.
Lolcats have been accused of being politically indifferent by being impossibly cuddly. But having attractive looks does not indicate low intelligence (necessarily)! Some lolcast have been forming oppositional political movements, as you can see here – a radical locat activist politizising – dismissing derogative assumptions about lolcat language and culture.
We would argue with Ethan Zuckerman that “Web 2.0 was created to allow people to share pictures of cute cats.” Zuckerman states that pictures of cute cats may be an important part of political activism as “making activism viral probably means making it funny as well as political and heart-wrenching.” (The Cute Cat Theory of Digital Activism, 2008)
It is about time locats receive the respect they deserve. The MIT is one of the first universities to open their catdoors to lolcats and locats lovers. Read more about a recent lolcat panel discussion “I can haz case study?” at ROFLcon held at the MIT.
Guardian (2008) Internet celebs gather to swap memes
Wired (2008) ROFLCon: It’s Not Easy Being Memes
Chiu Kevin (April 25 2008) Really Short Summary: LOLCATS Panel: I CAN HAZ CASE STUDY? ROFLCon
ELFN 2007 (April 24th, 2007) LOLspeak as a Second Language (LKSL-101) in Five Easy Steps
Green Joshua (2007) Oh Hai! Cats, the internet, and tactical communities #19 receiver magazine http://www.receiver.vodafone.com/
Herwig, Jana (April 27 2008) Niedlichkeit als kulturelles Bindeglied (Online wie Offline) http://digiom.wordpress.com/
Linguistic Mystic ( May 29 2007) im in ur programmz, codin in ur dialect: LOLCode and Feline Dialectology linguisticmystic.com
Linguistic Mystic (Feb 7 2007) im in mai blog, postin’ bout cats: The Cuteness of Grammatical errors linguisticmystic.com
Lolspeak Wiki SpeakLOLspeak
Merchant Guy (May 28 2007) Lolcats myvedana.blogspot.com
McRaney David (May 8 2007) A Special In-Depth Analysis by – L337 Katz0rz
LOLTrek Start Trek meets lolspeak
HOBOTOPIA Hand drawn comic strip about stray lolcats, based on lolcat meme