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I can has vintage lolcats?
April 11, 2012 10:11 AM   Subscribe

Even in the 1870s, humans were obsessed with ridiculous photos of cats
posted by desjardins (42 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
THIS WAS A DIFFICULT SHOT BECAUSE A PIG IS A DIFFICULT SUBJECT
posted by griphus at 10:12 AM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


A GENUINE PHOTOGRAPH OF THE LAUGHING CAT
posted by The Whelk at 10:13 AM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, all of those cat pics were instagram-ed.
posted by birdherder at 10:17 AM on April 11, 2012


Might I be able to acquire a grilled Hamburg steak on a bread roll, preferably with cheese?
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:18 AM on April 11, 2012 [26 favorites]


These are wonderful.

What's delaying my dinner?
posted by odinsdream at 10:19 AM on April 11, 2012


Cat have been LOL'ing since before you were born son.
posted by Fizz at 10:19 AM on April 11, 2012


Also, all of those cat pics were instagram-ed. Facebooked

Fixed.
posted by Fizz at 10:21 AM on April 11, 2012


Man, I would like to hear some stories from children raised in a room with that photo of the Angriest Cat.
posted by griphus at 10:22 AM on April 11, 2012


I felt a chaser was needed to this depressing post.
posted by desjardins at 10:22 AM on April 11, 2012


THIS WAS A DIFFICULT SHOT BECAUSE A PIG IS A DIFFICULT SUBJECT

More difficult than cats? Cats must have been very different in the 1870s.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:23 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


This post makes me soooo happy. I have a weird sense of 'completeness' knowing that people were taking funny pictures of cats 140+ years ago.
posted by Drumhellz at 10:24 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cats must have been very different in the 1870s.

A little known fact is that, prior to 1900, herding cats was actually pretty easy. Something seems to have changed at the turn of the century and cat herding became a lost art.
posted by asnider at 10:24 AM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Laughing Cat address traces to a quaint suburban neighborhood north of Buffalo NY. I wonder if the people that live there know anything about it. It might give them some creepy ideas what might be in the basement, too.
posted by crapmatic at 10:28 AM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


A little known fact is that, prior to 1900, herding cats was actually pretty easy. Something seems to have changed at the turn of the century and cat herding became a lost art.

Opiates became illegal.
posted by yoink at 10:42 AM on April 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


NOTHING CHANGES LOL!
posted by fuq at 10:43 AM on April 11, 2012


It all makes sense now. The Sphinx was created for the lulz.
posted by zippy at 10:45 AM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


THIS WAS A DIFFICULT SHOT BECAUSE A PIG IS A DIFFICULT SUBJECT

I feel that, perhaps, someone needs to update The Best Picture On The Internet.
posted by maryr at 10:50 AM on April 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


I guess that's why they elected Garfield?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:59 AM on April 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


wait, these are live cats? not taxidermied kitties? how on earth did he do these with the camera technology of the time? i thought there were long exposure times etc that would make this difficult (pigs aside). can anyone with photography knowledge offer some insight?
posted by sio42 at 11:09 AM on April 11, 2012


One wonders if indulgence in and/or an appreciation of cat photography are symptoms of toxoplasmosis.
posted by DU at 11:11 AM on April 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


sio42: "wait, these are live cats? not taxidermied kitties? how on earth did he do these with the camera technology of the time? i thought there were long exposure times etc that would make this difficult (pigs aside). can anyone with photography knowledge offer some insight?"

My thoughts exactly. This was a time when people had to wear neck braces to keep their heads still for the ten minute exposures.

All I could think while looking at the pictures was, "Those poor dead kitties."
posted by mullingitover at 11:13 AM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the technology was faster by c1900 - a day or so ago, there was a post of c1900 candid (and hidden) street shots.
posted by jb at 11:14 AM on April 11, 2012


Also, and I'm not sure if you've noticed this, cats are pretty good at sitting still and staring at nothing.
posted by maryr at 11:19 AM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


they definitely are...unless you WANT them to. glad to know they aren't dead kitties. they looked pretty alive, but i wasn't sure if i needed to temper my glee or not.
posted by sio42 at 11:21 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


> It all makes sense now. The Sphinx was created for the lulz.

You haven't yet reached the deeper truth: we were all created for the lulz.
posted by languagehat at 11:34 AM on April 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm actually curious about your question, sio42--I remember a post on Metafilter a few years ago about dogs acting in classic MGM motion pictures and I remembered a comment stated that in order for the animals in the movies to make such funny poses and faces, there was a great deal of torture that occurred (I can't find the comment now, but I distinctly remember a discussion--sigh). Does anyone have more information about this, or reputable links? These staged photos don't seem like they'd be much different than the movies as far as techniques used by the filmmaker/photographer...how do we know the cats did this willingly? It seems unlikely.
posted by nonmerci at 11:37 AM on April 11, 2012


ICANHAZHUMMUSHIEROGLYPH.jpg
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 11:38 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I dunno about torture, but cats don't do anything for humans willingly. They occasionally grace us with their presence at their whim.
posted by desjardins at 11:39 AM on April 11, 2012


In most of the photos of the kittens in clothes, it looks to me like the clothes are what is holding them in position. For example, in this photo, it seems like the clothes are attached to the backdrop somehow and the upper kitten is just hanging in them as he checks out the jam jar.
posted by postel's law at 11:47 AM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cats must have been very different in the 1870s.

Due to the Great Cat Depression that began in 1848, by the 1870s, cats were desperate for any sort of work. Thus, some learned to behave. Others became even angrier, organized, and caused the Franco-Prussian War, WWII, and the Russian Revolution. More of the story -- mess with the cats, and they will totally screw up your history.

On the other hand, kitties in dunce caps! Heee!
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:48 AM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wait. Is this saying interest in lolcats might ebb and flow over time with protracted periods of minimal interest in lolcats? DEAR GOD NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by jeffburdges at 11:51 AM on April 11, 2012


Obligatory.
posted by Decani at 11:59 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


To edit the lead of the article:

"If you think the notion (of some behavior)... originated with the internet, think again."

That is, if one's default assumption is said behavior has been going on for quite some time, and it's only with the internet the writer has noticed it's been going on, one is likely to be right.

This is all just a variation of the principle behind Heinlein's, "Every generation thinks it invented sex."
posted by aurelian at 12:14 PM on April 11, 2012


Every generation thinks it invented blogspam.
posted by idiopath at 12:35 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


For some reason this is making me think of this purina ad I recently ran across, from the 1970s, when they also enjoyed cats doing ridiculous things.
posted by advil at 1:25 PM on April 11, 2012


Dear 1870s photographer, cute cats and all, but ITYM, "A happy MEW Year"! [eyeroll]
posted by aught at 1:55 PM on April 11, 2012


I didn't want to say it to the gentle souls at io9 when this first appeared, but it looks pretty clear to me that those recurring kittens are stuffed. But I think this gives lolcats an appropriately macabre prehistory.
posted by chortly at 2:46 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


The video only has 41,857 views yet it has 38,569 likes. Odd.
posted by timsneezed at 2:46 PM on April 11, 2012


Harry Whittier Frees used live animals
posted by interplanetjanet at 4:35 PM on April 11, 2012


timsneezed: "The video only has 41,857 views yet it has 38,569 likes."

Youtube does not update the view count in real time.
posted by idiopath at 4:45 PM on April 11, 2012


Due to the Great Cat Depression that began in 1848, by the 1870s, cats were desperate for any sort of work.

CATS: REDICULOUS LIBERAL MYTH
posted by DU at 6:34 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I feel both charmed and grossed out by these images because I feel like the cats probably were strung up with shit that really hurt them in order to achieve some of those poses and that makes me really sad.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 5:30 PM on April 12, 2012


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