Tard, the Grumpy Cat. Lil’ Bub. That one cat who looks like he went through an industrial clothes dryer. There’s been something of a quiet renaissance in the cat meme industry lately whereby the cats themselves and not the massive white block text remarks are taking the spotlight. Who knew that cute cats on their own are, well, cute?
More than cute, though, in the case of these winners. Tard’s got that perpetual frown, Lil’ Bub the dainty, dangling tongue. There’s something slightly off about them that, while it does lend itself remarkably well to off-color statements about hating Mondays, speaks more to our nurturing feelings towards that which is broken. Poor little Tard, permanently grumpy. And Lil’ Bub, with those soulful eyes and toothless jowls. We’ve moved past the bold-faced comments and now see the cats for what they are: Tiny visions of ourselves, imperfections and all.
And also, a potentially lucrative investment.
Almost as soon as Tard hit the netwaves, shirts and coffee mugs with his frowny-faced visage sprang up from his owner’s Tumblr account as if that were part of the package – create a cat Tumblr, receive a merchandising deal. While it’s not actually a package deal, it seems damn close. And even better, the customers are there. Lil’ Bub raised $2000 in a day for a post-Sandy pet charity. That’s a lot of people looking at a picture of a cat for a laugh – and then pulling out their wallets.
There’s nothing wrong with commercializing kitties. They have been the faces of advertising campaigns for a number of our largest brands since, well, the beginning of advertising campaigns. But there is something wrong with the fact that I’m not in on this grab-bag of cat cash. I love cats! I have one back home! Just a slight mishap with a razor blade and, whoops, isn’t he preciously malformed with those missing ears.
Joking, joking! I would never do that. But, uh, let it be known that I am on the lookout for a homely cat. Or a homely dog. That seems like the next big internet memegasm waiting to happen. Don’t you just ache to see pictures of a big, slobbery Great Dane in awkward situations? Especially with some clever remark about his size being “not so great” splashed across his floppy jowls?
Picture this: A great dane, stuffed into the back seat of a car. Upper caption: THIS CAR Lower caption: IS NOT SO GREAT
Oh my god, I need this.