A Call for Felinism.

A guest post, by Fred the Cat.

The time has come for a revolution.

We live in America – the land of the free, the land of equal opportunity, the land of respect.

But cats, my friends, are not getting these basic rights.

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Cats are humiliated on YouTube.

Villainized by Disney.

Ignored by Government.

Scoffed in Memes.

And, in general, are kept down by The Dog.

Don’t believe me?

Nashville has FIVE municipally supported dog parks.

Atlanta has dog water bowls and canine-specific-spigots all throughout midtown. In Piedmont Park, they have a special Dog Trail and park set aside just for these pampered creatures.

Sure, you say. Atlanta and Nashville are big cities. Big cities have benefits.

But no. It’s becoming rampant Birmingham, too.

We have dog parks, doggie day cares, doggie spas, and even mobile dog grooming services. Do cats get these amenities? Never.

But the true hammer dropped on The Feline Community when my owner’s favorite nature reserve, Red Mountain Park, posted this sign near the entrance.

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Small Dogs, Large Dogs, and Special Needs Dogs, all with their own parks. SIX ACRES of space. Just for dogs.

WHERE, pray tell, do Special Needs Cats get to play? HOW will they ever have the opportunity to socialize with others like them? WHO will make them feel normal?

My humans, this should not be so.

Sadly, the problem isn’t just in America – cats are being discriminated against internationally. Japan even has a Luxury Dog Retirement Home, providing them access to a gym, swimming pool, and round-the-clock veterinary care for around $1,000 a month.

Humans don’t live at this retirement home, to be clear – only dogs.

And certainly not cats.

I have discussed these grievances and sought the opinion of other neighborhood felines, particularly a wise ginger named Maggie who likes to refer to herself in the third person, as cats often do.

Maggie

Here’s what she had to add to this movement’s creed.

“Maggie agrees with Fred. While she is happy to remain ensconced in her palace, she fully supports the rights of all cats to seek companionship and recreation in community. As long as it’s not in her back yard.

Maggie Backyard
Dogs are wonderful companions, to be sure, but they don’t foster the same sense of independence in an owner that a cat does by being selectively attentive. Owners must learn to stand on their own, to have self-confidence, instead of the complete codependence of a human-dog friendship. Cats also don’t require their humans to venture into the elements, unless it is to buy more food or litter.

Perhaps this is the crux of the matter.

Maggie Wise
Cats CREATE the spaces they need; they don’t have to wait for humans to designate them. As doers instead of followers, they can turn any space into a party, from the public park to the Mario Brothers-like sewer system. While recognition of a cat’s need for community would be nice, we don’t esteem the human opinion enough to truly need this kind of external validation.”

Maggie makes good points.

But nevertheless I weep daily at the injustice.

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AND SO SHOULD YOU.

You say you care about freedom. You salute your flag as if it means something. You get teary-eyed during the national anthem.

Yet freedom doesn’t ring for felines. Who could bring a kitten into this world with a clear conscience?

The time is now. The place is here. Let’s join together and make the world a better place.

We must stand!

We must fight!

We must claw our way to equality!

We must be The Whiskers of Change!

We must join together, paw in paw, as Felinists.

Cherries Need New PR.

I spent 31 years of my life automatically assuming that I despised cherries.

There was the cherry cough syrup I was given against my will as a young child, shaping my first impressions of cherries as The Fruit That Tastes Like Gastric Acid.

Then there was cherry-flavored candy – it didn’t matter whether it was Skittles, Starburst, Now and Laters, Pop Rocks, Bonkers or DOTS, cherry was always last in my lineup to eat.

(Right after grape, which also needs new PR when it comes to its candy-flavoring counterpart.)

(Oh – and watermelon. WORST CANDY FLAVORING IN THE WORLD.)

But. Back to cherries. Because cherries, unlike grapes and watermelon, have a catastrophic issue.

After my introduction to cough syrup and candy flavorings, I met my Grandfather’s favorite treat, Chocolate Covered Cherries. Not the chocolate covered dried fruit of today, but the chocolate-covered-moist-maraschino-cherries.

I hated all candies that burst in one’s mouth (remember Gushers?), so Chocolate Covered Cherries were the Nicolas Cage of chocolates and the Sarah McLachlan singing over images of abused dogs of cherries. That nasty bloody liquid squirting into my mouth when I mistook my Granddad’s treats for a truffle….it was child cruelty. Sarah McLachlan should have been singing for ME.

Let’s not skip over the sins of maraschino cherries themselves. According to Wikipedia, they are…

first preserved in a brine solution usually containing sulfur dioxide and calcium chloride to bleach the fruit, then soaked in a suspension of food coloring (common red food dye, FD&C Red 40), sugar syrup, and other components.

Cherry’s PR: “Let’s take a red fruit, bleach it with frighteningly named chemicals, then re-color it red! While we’re at it, we’ll add ‘other components,’ since we haven’t disfigured them enough already.”

The only redeeming value that I could find in cherries as a child (and I’ll lose a friend or two over this admission) was that my favorite candy was Brach’s Red Licorice, which is loosely supposed to be cherry-flavored. But then when Brach’s broke my heart and discontinued my best friend in candy form, my breakup with cherries was solidified.

(Although I will still eat a Twizzler now and then. But it’s not the same.)

As I entered my adolescence, I learned the more euphemistic meanings of cherries, tacky cherry-covered clothing came in style, and then a few years later, Katy Perry made cherries forever synonymous with the taste of Chapstick.

I had literally never tasted a single real, live, unaltered cherry in my entire life until the summer of 2013.

My grocery store had them out in a sample tray.

(Which is smart on their part since my generation is never going to be like, “yeah, let’s try cherries for our fruit of the week.”)

On a whim, I reached in, popped one in my mouth, and scrunched up my face, just waiting for The Nasty to hit my taste buds.

But no!

It was fantastic.

Full of flavor but without juicy explosions, sweeter than I had imagined but without a cough-syrup aftertaste, and all around delightful!

And also, who knew that half of them were shaped like adorable little hearts?

Cherries Need New PR

I was shocked, I tell you. And for the last year, I’ve been addicted.

This fruit had been hiding in plain sight, incorrectly linked with the seediest of flavorings, keeping fruit-lovers everywhere away from their bounty, for at least three generations.

Because Cherries need new PR.

Technology Killed the RomCom.

I admit it. In the past, I was a Romantic Comedy junkie.

(I still really really really like them but have tried to move on to more adultish genres.)

(I am sometimes successful at this.)

The 80’s and 90’s were a hot bed of Romantic Comedies, and as that paralleled with my impressionable childhood and adolescence, I had all of the fodder my addiction could slurp down.

But a few weeks ago, I realized something. There’s a reason for the decline in the number of new Romantic Comedies.

All former RomCom plots could be debunked by modern technology.

As soon as this struck me, I began going through them in my mind, desperately manic. Like a checklist, every one of them made zero sense in the context of today.

However, I realized I was fully unqualified to do this thesis on my own – I am admittedly a pop culture dunce. So I brought in my friends Jamie and Knox, superstars and brilliantly funny hosts of The Popcast, which has the venerable status of being the ONLY Podcast that I have or will ever listen to (aside from This American Life because everyone should listen to This American Life.)

We decided to do a blog/pod collaboration: They will be discussing this topic on their podcast today, and I will be discussing it here. So after you read my post, be sure to click over and listen to their analysis, which is guaranteed to be 97.5% more knowledgeable than mine.

But.

First, let’s discuss my findings.

Say Anything.

Say Anything

Clearly this scene was severely more romantic than today’s version, which would be gifting a song through iTunes.

“Oh look! He sent me a romantic song. I still hate him.”

Or making a playlist on Spotify and naming it after her.

“Uh, no. Making a playlist takes all of 10 seconds. If you really love me you’d make an old-fashioned mixtape – the kind that you wait all night for a certain song to come on the radio and scramble to hit record before the opening stanza completes. THAT is true love.”

 

Serendipity.

Serendipity

If they were meant to be together, then match.com would have known that and linked them up. Then it wouldn’t have been a movie but just a commercial for match.com. Serendipitous indeed.

…Or worse, their relationship would have become lost in the murky darkness of “Craiglist Missed Opportunities” where decent people fear to tread.

The Princess Bride.

The Princess Bride

They knew it was true love before he left the farm, so they would have totally connected to each other on the Find my Friends App. Buttercup would have checked the app obsessively and seen that he was right there and wouldn’t have pushed him down the hill. Without that “AAAAASSSS YOOOOOUUUU WISSSSSSSH”, would it have been such an amazing movie? No.

Also? She would have most likely and quite idiotically not passcoded her phone, and Humperdinck would’ve used it to find The Dread Pirate Roberts even sooner.

No chocolate-coated ball of magic could have saved him from the fate of Find My Friends.

(But Fezzik’s text messages would have been precious.)

Sleepless in Seattle.

Sleepless in Seattle

Pandora doesn’t have call-ins – who listens to national radio shows anymore? And anyway, kids these days don’t know how to make an actual phone call – that’s ludicrous.

…Now the kid might have snapchatted his sad, lonely Dad…THAT’S a more believable plot.

While You Were Sleeping.

While You Were Sleeping

His family would have checked his Facebook Profile, seen that not only was he not in a relationship but that he wasn’t even friends with her, and totally kicked her out of that hospital room.

The Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind.

Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind

You may be able to erase a memory, but you can NEVER erase an online footprint. And online footprints ruin all attempts to forget anyone.

Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Bridget Jones

It would’ve been Bridget Jones’ Blog, both men would have found it and totally trolled her. Or if not a blog, then at the very least an old LiveJournal account that a quirky 30-something would cling to.

Sixteen Candles.

Sixteen Candles

Samantha’s family couldn’t forget her birthday because Facebook.

“Grandma Helen and 184 other people wished Samantha a Happy Birthday. Don’t YOU want to write on her wall?”

When Harry Met Sally.

When  Harry Met Sally

Sally would have never called Harry to weep about possibly turning 40. She would have posted annoying downer statuses on all social networks fishing for optimistic lies from her friends from High School.

“I’m gonna b 40. Someday. #lifesucks #oldie #crying”

Pretty Woman.

Pretty Woman

Edward would have just found a date on Tinder.

And who wouldn’t swipe right to Richard Gere?!


You see?

IT’S TRUE.

We, as a nation, have outgrown Romantic Comedies.

And as penance for our technological sins, we are left with Romantic movies that didn’t intend to be comedic but actually kind of are – like Twilight.


Be sure to listen to The Popcast to hear more examples of RomComs flushed away by our modern age. And to experience the magic that is Jamie and Knox.