Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fancy That

the secret to feline mind control: cuteness. [Photo credit: Paul Mayne]

the people i go to school with would like to get published. they’re writing for the journal of pragmatics or discourse and society or college composition clusterfuck quarterly.

meanwhile, i’m trying to get into cat fancy.

this is perhaps why no one takes me seriously as a scholar. they’re exploring abstract theoretical aspects of meaning-creation and their ramifications for English language learners. their papers have titles like “the genre of the end comment: conventions in teacher response to student writing.”[1] i want to make some jokes about living with a kitty for a magazine with articles such as “pet memorials” and “dogs in disguise.” (kitties—more than meets the eye?) if no one takes me seriously, it’s because i never give them the chance.

so, anyway, yesterday i popped into the bookstore near work to read the latest issue, but it was sold out! cat fancy was sold out! it was the only empty space in the entire magazine section! stacks of news weeklies were still on the shelves. other animal mags, like bArk, were stocked aplenty. there were heaps of those magazines for beadworkers and quiltmakers and scrapbookers and figurepainters.

if the title wasn’t as cutesy i would understand why it was sold out. i can't imagine people buying a magazine called cat fancy with a straight face. i would pay someone to buy it for me or have it delivered anonymously by post.

if it were called feline times or cat review, perhaps it would be different. i would read feline times. i picture a persian kitty in a gray pinstriped business suit with a monocle and a bowler hat. “the global rice shortage: how much more will you pay for kibble? by lord waffles q. fuzzy-bottom.” (take that, t. s. eliot.)

i guess it makes some sense. cats are more popular than dogs if we judge things strictly by the numbers, and, according to steve dale, my town is one of the top 10 cat friendliest cities in the nation.

of course, all of this is in spite of the overall shittiness of the kitty demeanor. there is no better evidence for feline mind control. when dogs bite, they get put down. when cats bite, we assume that we did something to piss them off and we cling to the hope that they’ll stop someday. but they won’t stop. oh sure, kitty might say she can change, but you know that if you want the violence to stop, you have to leave. the classes didn’t work and you’ve got to think of the children.

  1. Smith, Summer. “The Genre of the End Comment: Conventions in Teacher Response to Student Writing.” College Composition and Communication 48.2 (May 1997): 249-268.[x]