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Tuesday, March 21, 2006


I am not a trope

Here at Catymology Central, we regularly attempt to dig into the heaps of false attributions and unfair accusations made about felines. Often these statements are made by humans, although many of them are attributed to cats themselves.

As long ago as Aesop, humans have enjoyed anthropomorphizing other species. Now, we have become afflicted with a worldwide phenomenon known as catblogging. It started, according to some sources, when a political blogger decided to take a break and post pictures of his cats every Friday. As I understand it, catblogging was originally intended to be diversion from the quotidian. But catblogging has by now taken on a life of its own. As you will see if you click through the entries on Friday Ark or the Carnival of the Cats, many of the catblogging entries are posted by cats themselves--or by humans pretending to be cats.

Recently, a number of catbloggers have fallen back upon the cliché that cats and dogs represent opposite poles of existence--the positive and the negative, if you will. I'm guilty of this myself, having written recently: "Cats are Democrats? Who knew?" This, even through I'd previously asserted: "It goes without saying that cats are conservative."

What's so bad about attributing political stances to animals? Some humans like to dress up their cats and dogs. Many humans think of their cats and dogs as children. I'm not saying these ways of thinking are bad, but certainly they are peculiar. Among the more fallacies that humans often pounce upon is the idea that if you talk about A in terms of B, then you actually think about A in terms of B. Certainly, humans' tendency to think of Republicans and Democrats as cats and dogs (or vice versa) is an example of this common fallacy.

Last night, as I was napping between my humans, I experienced a revelation: what if cats and dogs declared their independence? It's not that I'd suggest we all forego the pleasures of having human companions and go back to living a feral existence. I need my Friskies as much as the next cat. What I am suggesting is that we declare our intellectual freedom, our freedom to be simply cat, simply dog.

I know it sounds facetious for me to say this, since after all I am telling this to amanuensis, who is busily writing it down. But I think that regular self-licking is a good thing. Therefore, I call upon all members of the feline and canine species to declare Tuesdays as the day of the animal self. From now on, every Tuesday, we will refuse to be symbols of something, to be spoken of in metaphors, or to allow humans to write as though they are cats or dogs. This Tuesday, I am not a trope.



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