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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

 

Krazy Kat was right



Yo, cats and catted ones! Darcy here.

Let me tell you, I can't believe I've been gone so long. That feline spa I checked into was sure relaxing.

What got me to come home is reading about the new edition of Krazy Kat comics over at Fantagraphics. Krazy Kat, if you ask me, was some smart cat, a cat after my own heart.




There's some confusion about whether Krazy Kat was male or female. The poet e e cummings wrote a famous essay to introduce an earlier edition of Krazy Kat, in which he assumed that Krazy Kat was female--maybe because Krazy kept getting bopped on the head by Ignatz Mouse. But the Kat's creator, George Herriman, referred to Krazy as both he and she, and many times the other characters seemed genuinely confused about Krazy's gender. Krazy said once:

"I don't know whether to take unto myself a wife or a husband."

If Krazy were living today, s/he would have done what I did: marry both a man and a woman.

Some humans have either complained about or praised the fact that Krazy Kat's plots kept repeating themselves. It's always Krazy in love with Ignatz, who ignores and abuses him/her. Then Offisa Pupp (yeah, there's a dog here) arrests Ignatz. The way I see it,

repetition is the soul of art
.

In recent times, fans of Krazy have called him/her subversive. That's high praise, in this day and age. Krazy subverted ideas about gender, but also about race and class. Krazy is normally black, but there's one strip where Krazy turns white, causing Ignatz to fall in love with him/her. Sometimes Krazy is descended from royalty--Cleopatra's cat--but other times s/he sings minstrel songs about having been born in a cellar.

Krazy Kat is whoever s/he wants to be. S/he is infinite, always remaking him/herself. And who
else but Krazy Kat could ask the ultimate question: "Why is lenguage?" and then answer it:

"Lenguage is that we may mis-unda-sten each udda."

But I'm outta here! More soon.

Darcy X

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