I bought a new blanket that is so soft, it’s as if it were sewn from kitten skins, and clubbed baby seals. Perhaps not the loveliest images, but it is crazy soft! Plus it’s a nice shade of purple. It’s so soft that Olivia Wigglebothum was actually persuaded to curl up in it for a few hours like a regular cat instead of running amuck constantly. She might have been under the influence of her decongestant, but she struck some adorable cat poses and napped. As her “cat mother,” I was thankful for the break.
Of course, one of those poses was the cat version of the centerfold spread: stretched out, belly up, bits and pieces fully exposed optional. I had just seen a similar cat pose in The Blogess’s Twitter feed with the note about the cat posing like a French girl. Because I am not always terribly hip and with it, I had no idea what was being referenced, but thought it sounded very sassy although I am not familiar with what French girls do and I do not think Olivia is French.
Further exploration showed variations on the pose and the idea: “Draw me like one of your French girls” and “Paint me like one of your French girls.” Turns out it’s from Kate Winslet’s nude drawing scene in Titanic. Who knew? I saw Titanic once because everyone else in the world saw Titanic at least once. My biggest take away was Rose shrieking, “Jack, teach me how to spit like a man!” and the sweaty hand on the steamed up car window. You have an entire cargo hold, and you choose to do it in the cramped backseat of a Renault ? Not a fan. Spoiler: The boat sinks. The end.
My interest was more about why the visual and variations on the quote are now prevalent enough that they are, if not immediately recognizable, at least somewhat familiar to the viewer. According to the “About” portion of Know Your Meme, “Internet memes have risen in popularity with the rise of Internet Culture as more and more people identify with and participate on the Web as their primary method of expression and content consumption. (An Internet memes is a piece of content or an idea that’s passed from person to person, changing and evolving along the way. A piece of content that is passed from person to person, but does not evolve or change during the transmission process is considered viral content.)”
I was amazed that there is a company that established what is basically a meme database devoted to confirming or disproving whether or not the content is in fact a meme. I was able to read the development, according to their research, of the “Draw me like one of your French girls” meme .
So is this junk? Is this a sociological study in a way of the things we now latch on to, repeat, and communicate with? Before we might have dropped a movie or lyric quote into conversations directly with another human, but now I will simply tweet the phrase accompanied by a picture of my cat for the world to see. (True story, that already happened. See, I’ve adapted!) Is this about language and how words are added and changed over time? Even five years ago my mom would have never said, “Oh, Google it.” or “Use the Google.” Now she loves the Google. Even spell-check wants me to make sure I capitalize the Google. Is this just a company being enterprising, creating jobs, and selling ad space because they know that eventually someone like me will want to know the origin story? And they also know that given the changing Internet culture, thousands of people will contribute their unsolicited and unpaid contributions to that origin story? Would this be the type of research topic that would capture my students’ interest?
“Kids, today we will track the history of Cat Breading .”
Or am I back to wondering if it’s just more junk in a big pile in the junkyard of the Cloud? I don’t know. It makes me feel old and confused as to why I would put a piece of bread on my cat’s head in the first place.