Monday, February 22, 2010

On The Feline Psychedelic Movement

One day, in the formative years of my childhood, my parents brought home a Siamese cat. I cannot remember where this cat came from, or what it looked like, or even whether it was a male or a female; what I remember is that we named this cat Trouble. The name arose because this cat was the feline equivalent of James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. At night, it would slip out of the house unnoticed, and in the morning, it would return, looking like it had gone 12 rounds wth a steroid-addled jaguar. The other thing I remember about this cat is that it had periodic digestive problems; in the morning, at some unholy hour, I would wake up and scurry downstairs to watch the sepia-toned, intermittently racist Looney Tunes episodes that would air before Superfriends. Inevitably, I would have to slalom through several mounds of coughed-up hairball-based material (or materiel) Trouble had left behind during the night.

My point is this: I've never understood cats, but I admire their inscrutability. If I weren't prone to sneezing fits of Biblical proportions in their presence, I'd probably own one myself. But I am also fascinated by the unwavering intensity of cat culture (my book editor was, in fact, the acquirer of the I Can Haz Cheezburger books, which turned out to be one of the great money-making decisions of his career). Which brings me to the Olympics. Or more specifically, to the Olympic broadcast, whose sponsors include a cat food company called Friskies. And based strictly on their ad campaign, the Friskies company seems like it would be a hell of a place to work.

It makes sense that Friskies would advertise during the Olympics: I would imagine that when stereotypical advertising executives are sitting in their stereotypical wood-paneled boardrooms and engaging in stereotypical conversations about demographics, one of the things they probably say is, "I'll bet 93 percent of the crazy cat ladies in the top Northeast markets spend at least sixty minutes watching pairs figure skating during the Olympics." And maybe they took this information to Friskies, and the Friskies executives said, "All right, let's design a campaign that appeals specifically to people who would like their cats to have more active fantasy lives centered around foodstuffs." And the ad executives took this information, and they created a commercial that is the cat's equivalent of Yellow Submarine.

So my overarching philosophical question is this: Are we on the cusp of a feline revolution? Have a generation of housecats been so turned off by the ignominy of LOLCats that they will now readily embrace psychedelia? Will catnip be driven underground? And how do we, as humans, prepare ourselves for the uprising? Our only hope is their inherent inability to spell will hamper their efforts. Also, those flying fish are pretty distracting, man.


Your escalator operator said...

Good analysis. I saw the same ad yesterday and had the same basic thoughts, just not so well articulated. I think my actual comment was: "Perfect for cats on acid."

WarningTrack said...

I think the feline rebellion will frighten quite a few people until we realize that we can distract them by jangling our keys together. After that, word will spread quickly and the National Guard will hand out shiny things, and the rebellion will be quelled, but not before many people are buried amongst the litter.

If Michael Bay reads this comment, this sucker'll be optioned by the end of the week.