Today’s post is guest written by Jerry the Cat. Views are entirely his own.
First, let us compare two simulacra:
Which of these felines deserves to be an international superstar? “Cat” number one, whose only talent is a simulation of despair due to an unfortunate but entirely aleatory birth defect that — in itself — does not constitute anything worthy of the descriptor “talent”?
Or, perhaps, cat number two who is, by all accounts, adorable, attractive, quick-witted, charismatic and musically gifted? Add to this a thunderous drive to succeed, while playing fair, impeccable manners, a vast vocabulary and wide knowledge of subjects from the hard to the soft sciences and fine arts, numerous feline and mobile application languages, an eye for an airtight tax deduction . . . and you have, what, a close call? A tight race? A oh-boy-it’s-hard-to-choose-between-these-two-winners? What my Aunt Snow Ball (in a different context) could call a “squeaker”?
I submit to you, the answer is: NO! CAT NUMBER TWO WINS! GRUMPY IS A COLOSSAL FRAUD AND IT’S TIME THE WORLD KNEW IT!!
Whew. I’ve said it.
What, you may ask, is so winning about this Grumpy Cat? So captivatingly puckish that it deserves a development deal, calendars, posters, social channels, videos, TV programs, unironic guest spots on national morning programs, and a Christmas film? A what?!
The answer: Nothing. Grumpy represents the ultimate post-capitalist decoupling of meaning and value, a transmutation of the ontogony of despair into a risible effulgence of Foucaultian anti-meaning. It is the annihilation of the denotative fascist project of celebrity in a cynical pre-apocalyptic deathscape of desire; indeed, the effluence of the American dream engine, fueled by circular reactions and a radical repression — a repression that expresses itself, ultimately, in the rapture of decoupling the signa of “fame” from all categories of value, not to mention taste, until it inter alia res represents nothing so much as the mirror of our own debased and masochistic gaze.
Grumpy Cat is not a star, at least not in the received sense of a transgressive semaphor of desire bestowed on the few by the many, so that they (i.e., the Wellesian hordes) can maintain the delusional tribal project of participation in the real. (Such ludic extensibility of imagined avatars has been an impulse of the post-capitalist mind since Nietzsche’s madman limned the market square.) No, Grumpy represents the ultimate dismantling of celebrity in the service of the hypermarket, a semi-participatory surgical transection of the Hollywood montage machine within the lasered scrutiny of nihilism.
This fractal feline detaches the generalized imagery of the “star” from the moorings of the culture, setting it adrift on a gyroscopic course of antiphysical, emetic transmutation. It becomes a grotesque spectra of repulsive representations of “cat” and a hieratic fissioning of “cute.” Grumpy Cat designates the modern consumers’ desire to obliterate all that is beautiful in the service of a categorical urge for an end.
The original monstrosity of the beast, object of terror and fascination …. has been exchanged for a spectacular monstrosity: that of King Kong wrenched from his jungle and transformed into a music-hall star.
What is Grumpy Cat if not such a “monstrosity” — a flux and reflux of catastrophe into CAT-astrophe? I submit that this animal presages a programmatic shift in the cultural lingua of our signifiers, a short-circuiting of meaning in the service of an entirely transgressive antinomian heuristic of decimation. In other words, per Stipe, Grumpy’s fleeting (we hope) renown, may designate “the end of the world as we know it.”
Tell me how much you agree with me, below.