Friday, October 14, 2005

Globe-ing the cat.

The Globe and Mail's Web columnist Ivor Tossell discusses the truth about cats and blogs in today's paper. After mentioning the recent holiblogaday Blogacatmus, Tossell turns his attention to On the Fence's little pet, ahem, project: the propogation of the expression 'posting the cat':
There's a stereotype that goes like this: When somebody running a website has run out of useful things to say, they post a picture of their cat. When they don't feel like writing one thousand words on their blog, there's always the option of posting Fluffy and pretending that she's somehow of interest to anybody. When the boiler of thought is out of steam, out wheezes a kitten.

Perhaps the stereotype was undeserved, but it stuck. In a gently self-mocking way, putting up pictures of cats has become the quintessential blogging gesture. And the cat, for its part, became the patron saint of tired websites.

Which leads us to the cabal of young on-line writers in Canada who are pushing the phrase "posting the cat" to describe the moment when a website passes its prime.

Coined by arts writer and blogger J. Kelly Nestruck (of, the phrase takes its cue from the saying that TV shows "jump the shark" and decline at the moment they display a certain desperation (the prime example being when Fonzie was made to water-ski over a shark on Happy Days; everything was downhill from there). So, too, with websites, Nestruck says.

"The truth is that most blogs are just personal vanity projects of little consequence, the Internet equivalent of Christmas newsletters," Nestruck says. "And nothing pulls the curtain back and reveals that dirty truth more than when a blogger posts a picture of his or her cat."
Thanks for spreading the word, Ivor!

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