December 25, 2020

"Our vaunted capacity for abstract thought often gets us (or others) into trouble. We may be the only species to pursue scientific inquiry..."

"... but we’re also the only species that has consciously perpetrated genocides. Cats, unlike humans, don’t trick themselves into believing they are saviors, wreaking havoc in the process. 'When cats are not hunting or mating, eating or playing, they sleep,' Gray writes. 'There is no inner anguish that forces them into constant activity.'...We are human supremacists whose vanity and moralism and tortured ambivalence make us uniquely unhappy and destructive. 'While cats have nothing to learn from us,' he writes, 'we can learn from them how to lighten the load that comes with being human.'...  Liberals like to think that empathy is a great virtue, he says, and that progress is not only possible but morally necessary, but people would be better off cultivating a catlike indifference.... He marvels that cats are 'arch-realists' who know when not to bother: 'Faced with human folly, they simply walk away.'"


The neutrality of cats. I'll call it mewtrality. And, no, it's not cruel mewtrality. From the book:

86 comments:

Earnest Prole said...

Begs for the “Insect Politics” tag.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

blah blah blah humans terrible blah blah

Bob Boyd said...

WaPo is tells readers that Trump supporters are rats and the NYT wants them to become cats.

rhhardin said...

It's another men are bad, women are good story.

Sebastian said...

"As predators, a highly developed sense . . ."

Surprised this didn't earn an Althousian grammar tsk. Must be Christmas.

So, if it's fine for cats to express their nature by playing with mice, why is it not fine for humans to express their nature both by engaging in abstract thought and by on occasion being deliberately cruel?

Kay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

Felines, wo-o-o felines,

Kay said...

I think I might like this book. People have already told me that I have a lot in common with cats, so maybe I’m already unconsciously learning how.

An unexpectedly great book about cats I’ve recently read is William Burroughs’, The Cat Inside, which all about his love for these animals. Surprisingly sweet, especially coming from him.

rhhardin said...

It's Felix vs Fido, lucky vs faithful

rhhardin said...

I Am a Cat by Soseki Natsume is the standard

I am a cat, As yet I have no name. I've no idea where I was born. All I remember is that I was miaowing in a dampish dark place when, for the first time, I saw a human being...

mandrewa said...

It's true. I suspect cats don't worry about being cruel. But that doesn't mean they aren't or cannot be cruel. I've watched a cat play for 20 minutes with a mouse. Letting it 'escape' and then recapturing it. Pretending to lose interest, and then when the mouse finally tries to escape, catching it again. There's no question it is torture for the mouse. It doesn't take long before the mouse gets so traumatized that its behavior gets odd.

Now it's possible the cat feels no empathy for the mouse and therefore the cat is not aware it is torturing the mouse, but I'm not really all that certain of that.

I suspect that all mammals, both mice and cats and people share a basic set of emotions through which we experience and interpret the world, and that we may even share a kind of narrative arc. That is to say a sense of journeying through the world and succeeding or failing at things in that journey.

I have no doubt that there are many things people can do and experience that cats and mice do not, but I fail to see how this makes the cat, or the mouse, superior.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

In apprehension how like a god.

JML said...

Such Bull. I watched my cat screw with a mouse for over n hour before she got bored and killed it. Yes, I was just as cruel as the cat, but I was scientifically observing the cat's actions. After that, if she caught a mouse and didn't kill it straight out, I'd kill it. She was always pissed when I did that. I am always amused when man thinks what kind of deep thoughts animals have. I can't tell you what the cat was emotionally feeling when she was playing with the mouse, but there was no mistaking her pissed off reaction when she didn't get her way.

rhhardin said...

What about malevolence and denigration? French cats playing with mice.

rhhardin said...

"Rather than torturing creatures in their power, they are playing with them..."

Dogs recognize play as play, when you play with them. That's fairly abstract of them.

William said...

People should be more like birds. They have hollow bones and don't find gravity an insurmountable obstacle. I don't think they suffer from arthritis in old age so that's another plus. Many birds mate for life. Many here would consider that a plus. If only they had fur instead of feathers, they would be cuddly and lovable and make ideal pets.

Laughing Fox said...

According to Christopher Smart, writing about his cat, Jeoffrey:
For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.

Another interpretation I've read is that this is practice to keep the hunting skills sharp, for cats who have less need or less opportunity for the hunt and eat. I have seen farm cats and feral cats simply dash up to a mouse, settle it with a bite immediately, and eat.

Laughing Fox said...

By the way, cats do enjoying playing with their people, if their people play with them. Of course, a lot of cat owners find that cats are so easy to live with even with very little training or interaction that they never get down and close with their felines.

Lucien said...

My cats are excited when I grab the laser pointer: they know it creates the red dot of joy, so they deliberately look forward to playing.

Roughcoat said...

Okay, then. A cat post and comments thread.

For a moment I thought that article was written by Farmer.

Unknown said...

Seems like a lot of stupid anthropomorphizing and an abuse of the term philosophy. I’ll play along. Cats can’t learn anything from humans? Is the author suggesting that cats wouldn’t be better off if they set up their own cat medical schools staffed entirely by cats? (No dogs!) In such a world, cats wouldn’t need to depend on humans for medical care. What about a cat economy that could provide housing for homeless cats? There you go. An idea so stupid, it might form the basis of a book.

mandrewa said...

Dogs, or some dogs, get excited about language. That's the main thing I took from "Adam's Task: Calling Animals by Name" by Vicki Hearne, which I read because you mentioned it a while back, rhhardin.

I mean there a number of topics in that text, but that is the part that excited me. This capacity that dogs have to understand and be motivated by language. As Vicki Hearne points out, you can train many different species with food. That is you can train them to do all sorts of complicated thing when they know the reward will be food.

And that's one of the ways you start off training a dog. But there is a certain percentage of dogs that once they get the idea of a 'word,' and it's not the same meaning of a word as in the human sense. But it's kind of similar.

And it's something that dogs do not experience with other dogs, or by themselves. They can only discover this by interacting with a person. And when they discover it they get very, very excited about it.

It becomes their main motivation -- and this is only for some dogs -- to get into situations where they can use these words. The dogs will test and explore the boundaries of the meaning of the word. There are even 'jokes' the dogs will make about the meaning of a word. Reactions to the 'word' that the dog thinks is funny.

And once they discover this idea, that's what the dog's life becomes about. You don't need to motivate them with a food reward any more. The 'words' are the motivation.

Joe Smith said...

Cats are perfect little killing machines to anything small and feathered or furry.

Michael K said...

Domestic cats have just about put songbirds into risk of extinction in Britain.

Too many cat ladies.

Fernandinande said...

'When cats are not hunting or mating, eating or playing, they sleep,'

If you include "migrating" in the list of activities, that statement is true of most animals, certainly most mammals, most noticeably predators because they don't spend 8-10 hours a day eating like herbivores do.

And the vanity and moralism and tortured ambivalence (LOL) is one main reason why humans don't have to spend 8-10 hours a day eating.

mikee said...

Because he put "conscious" in front of "genocide" the author gets to ignore the rather common extinction of entire species by simple predation at rates higher than reproduction by animals of many sorts.

That aside, why not learn from any other animal, as well as the cat. Eye of the tiger is one thing, but it is still a dog's life.

Bilwick said...

"Liberals like to think that empathy is a great virtue. . . ." Do they? I've seen no evidence of that. They never seem to exhibit much empathy for victims of statism. The idea of empathy among "liberals," "progressives" and other State-shtuppers seems to consist mainly of the willingness to spend other people's money.

chuck said...

A rancher told me that a coyote had eviscerated a whole flock of his sheep, must have been fun for the coyote. I've also heard of Cooper's hawks buzzing ducks for a good time. It's a rough world out there, not a lot of empathy.

Rusty said...

The left isn't really big on empathy. What they are big on is shaming everyone else into feeling empathy. That is what gets their endorphins working. It's how Howard works. It has been my experience that people bent on self destruction must self destruct without my help. Otherwise they learn nothing from the experience.
The thought that we can save people from themselves is a modern one. You can't. Ask any recovered drug addict.

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

Liberals idea of empathy is to let the homeless drug addicts or homeless mental-health patients live in filth and squalor. To force them into treatment would be mean, letting them live however they'd like is displaying empathy and is therefore good. Liberals believe we need in housing first, then treatment. What's needed is treatment first, then housing after recovery. Once they've recovered from addition, they'll be responsible and able to live a full and better life, without the intervention of the Homeless/Industrial complex.

Michael K said...

Once they've recovered from addition, they'll be responsible and able to live a full and better life, without the intervention of the Homeless/Industrial complex.

True of addicts but few succeed. The psychotics are not able to function out side supportive families or institutions and only in families if they stay on their meds.

When I used to take medical students to the LA homeless shelters, we had a guide every year who had been a crack addict living on the street. He used to show us his spot under a huge mural of Florence Griffith Joiner. He said he would lie there high and watch her run. He was terrific but rare. We watched him give a talk to "Cocaine Anonymous" at the Midnight Mission in the LA skid row area. He was a spellbinding speaker. We were the only whites in the room.

Eventually, he got promoted and moved to the Valley so we lost him. He was a 50 years old black man who had lived on the street for years. He knew everybody on the street. We all learned a lot.

effinayright said...

A while back one of our cats caught a big cicada and carried it in her mouth into the house.

The insect was buzzing loudly, and the cat darted about with a crazed look in her eyes, not knowing what to do with her noisy catch.

We put them on the back porch and the cat immediately let it go. I doubt it tried pouncing on any of those things again.

Bruce Hayden said...

“It's true. I suspect cats don't worry about being cruel. But that doesn't mean they aren't or cannot be cruel.”

Cats are not saints, even within their own species. Our current cat is Tiki 3 (T3). T1 was purebred Siamese, that my partner brought home in kindergarten. T2 was her son, one of the few survivors of a male cat following T1 back into the house, and finding the litter she had hidden in the closet. He was big and tough, and her mother didn’t believe in having her pets neutered or declawed. His greatest joy was dropping dead birds at her feet. Almost every day (he would substitute mice, and even chipmunks, if he couldn’t catch a bird that day. But he was the terror of the neighborhood, routinely killing the other (presumably male) cats he encountered. It was not uncommon for a mother to bring her desolate daughter around with her just murdered kitty expecting at least an apology from my partner’s mother. Nope. Her view was (and no doubt still is) the law of the jungle, or at least of the ranch she grew up on. T3 may get as big as T2 was, but we dutifully had him neutered, and then declawed to protect our nice furniture, so he won’t be given a chance to cause depredations on the neighborhood feline population, as T2 had done decades earlier.

Cats can be trained - it just isn’t as easy as for dogs. In two years, T3 has learned that “yum yum in the tum tum”, as well as “eats” means food. “Pretty boy” means getting up on his back feet in order to share our food. “Down” usually gets him off the counter, and “up” into your lap. Sometimes though, the stern “no” has to come from me, the dominant male in the household, to be effective (he also knows that I am more likely to follow up on my threats). But then, if he isn’t interested, he may just ignore you. We would have gotten a dog instead, if we had wanted slavish devotion.

One of the interesting things that has come out recently is that our closest ape relatives, the chimps, are not the noble, innocent, savages that we have long assumed them to be. They too commit genocide, just like we do. Bands of male chimps will raid the territory of a neighboring tribe, and will kill males that they find alone. And, then, of course, after they have killed all of the adult males, over a period of time, they will add the females to their own tribe. It was interesting, as it seemed so similar to the way that David Thompson, in his diary of 200 years ago, described the relationship between the Salish and Blackfoot Indians, except that the bands, or tribes, were just a bit larger.

DEEBEE said...

The use of “may” in the species conducting scientific enquiry is breathtakingly moronic, but an augur of more gems to come.
We are also the only specie that conducts genocide — uh! Other than planet of the apes, cannot see anything in the animal kingdom getting together to kill people. Unless of course you are talking about Corona-doom
Cats! Yup that the ticket. It had to take a c$nt to elevate pussies.

JMW Turner said...

This is an entirely appropriate subject to kick around, since we consider 2020 a
cat-astrophe...
I have, over the years, become acquainted with a number of felines. They have varied personalities, as we do. A couple of females, in our household, proved to be fiercer predators than our males, although that doesn't prove a rule, or exception to a rule, or much of anything else, except, the simple observation if you confine enough intelligent beings, each with a unique personality, all in a home, along with the usual clashes, maneuvering and meltdowns, you will see cowardice and cruelty, ugliness and beauty. Why, you might assume that cats are as complex and frustrating as their owners.

wild chicken said...

I do think people should speak for themselves, and those they know, than purport to speak for those poor hapless hopeless peoples 3000 miles away they really no nothing about.

At least we'd get better info.

Josephbleau said...

I tried mating for life in school, but my grades suffered.

wild chicken said...

But that's not "empathetic" you know.

Bruce Hayden said...

“A rancher told me that a coyote had eviscerated a whole flock of his sheep, must have been fun for the coyote. I've also heard of Cooper's hawks buzzing ducks for a good time. It's a rough world out there, not a lot of empathy.”

Couple years ago, a pair of coyotes got in with my partner’s son’s family’s chickens, killing every single one in very short order. Maybe 25 or so dead in minutes. Great fun for the coyotes. Not as much fun for his sons, who earned their spending money selling the eggs. At best, the coyotes took off with only one or two chickens each. The rest were just killed. My guess is that two different things happened in close proximity. First, his two huskies died of old age, and were replaced by a single, young, golden retriever. Secondly, the old rooster had been sacrificed for the pot. He had become just too aggressive to even the two boys. His successor may have not been up to the task, and paid for it with his life, and that of his flock.

mezzrow said...

Cats are exceptionally good at training humans. They give you just enough affection to keep you strung out. Once you understand everything is transactional, you understand how humans have been pressed into service by these creatures through the ages.

I have often thought that they may be agents for some alien entity or alternately, could be some physical expression of an alien force on mankind. 103 degrees of furry warmth + the purring is some grimly efficient psychological engineering, particularly in winter. The hairballs are an expression of their peculiar sense of humor. That explains the timing and location.

Pay no attention whatsoever to the avatar.

effinayright said...

I have a Friend whose cat likes to play.

Except she "plays" with her claws out, and my hands wind up looking like pulled pork as a result.

Browndog said...

Cats are assholes.

Period.

Just an old country lawyer said...

Kitties!
My cat, Fang, of blessed memory, liked to watch cat videos with me Saturday mornings.
Merry Christmas to my friends in Althouseland, especially to our gracious hostess and her lucky husband.

Lurker21 said...

John Gray is actually quite a thinker. So he's also a cat lover. Big deal. We all have our quirks and foibles. Don't dismiss his other works because of this.

Of course we can't get back to a time before language and the self-consciousness that results from it. We can't really learn how to live or unlearn how to be aware of ourselves and our mortality from our furry feline friends anymore than we can get into the mind of a bat.

Fat guys don't fly around the world and come down chimneys with toys for children either. But at this time of year we indulge such thoughts. Why not pay tribute in a holiday spirit to man's second best friend?

Browndog said...

That said...I still want a cat.

Can't. Chloe, our female Lab, would not sleep until it was dead. Yea, she's a bit of an asshole herself, but she run runs the place, so......

Lurker21 said...


About cats playing with dead things, though ...

Serial killers do that too and we don't let them off the hook because they had fun ...

Mr Wibble said...

Serial killers do that too and we don't let them off the hook because they had fun ...

Both get lots of love and attention from lonely, crazy women.

daskol said...

So the Straw Dogs guy is a cat person. Hmm. He’s always a pain in the ass and always interesting, although I take the explicit embrace of cats as a sign of a creeping misanthropy (not exactly misandry) that’s been observable now for years in his essays.

daskol said...

Gray’s 80s and 90s output, along with that of fellow limey Christopher Lasch, are among the most insightful things I’ve come across for understanding where we are and how we got here.

Gospace said...

Porpoises and dolphins kill for fun and commit gang rape.

We don’t know if they “speak” to one another or one sees an opportunity, and the others see and join in. Good thing they don’t have arms and opposable thumbs.

If other species communicated among themselves in some kind of consistent language, I’m certain someone would have figured it out by now. Birders can recognize mating calls and warning calls, possibly a few others.

We’ve lived with dogs for a few thousand years. Have bred some breeds for intelligence. No sign of language development.

Almost domestic animals, horses, llama, camels, dogs, all of them can be taught to recognize and follow human verbal commands. But each animal has to learn entirely from a human.

Mother cats do litter train their offspring. An exception to the rules. If only dogs were intelligent enough to potty train their offspring.

Steven said...

So, his argument is that it would be okay for us to commit genocide as long as we didn't do so consciously.

I will suggest in response that it is not a moral crime to publish or promote John Gray, but only as long as one only does so unconsciously.

Rory said...

"Cats, unlike humans, don’t trick themselves into believing they are saviors, wreaking havoc in the process."

In olden days, someone would propose something for your own good. All the people hearing the proposal would know the person who proposed it through and through, and would know that person never proposed anything that didn't bring that person wealth or allow him or her to avoid work. Everyone would ignore the proposal. Today the same proposal gets made, the person who made it is lionized because most of the people hearing the proposal don't know the proposer well and don't know what a shnook he or she is.

daskol said...

Humanism is problematic. A guy like Gray is good at pointing out the ways, having embraced and declaimed its various forms over the years. Don’t hate him because he notices, or seems to like cats.

daskol said...

Humanism, anti-humanism, what difference at this point does it make?

daskol said...

Now transhumanism, that’s where it’s at. That’s the really interesting trans, far more so to me than the people playing dress-up.

tim maguire said...

Sebastian said...So, if it's fine for cats to express their nature by playing with mice, why is it not fine for humans to express their nature both by engaging in abstract thought and by on occasion being deliberately cruel?

Quite right. This excerpt was an example of using language not to explain or reflect reality, but to frame or even create reality to meet a certain need. Cats kill for fun, some humans kill for reasons most of us would describe as delusional and barbaric; therefore, cats are better than humans and we could learn something from them

Rubbish.

Bruce Hayden said...

“Except she "plays" with her claws out, and my hands wind up looking like pulled pork as a result.”

No claws, so he uses his teeth instead. Very good with them. Probably better than he was with his now missing claws. He knows not to draw blood with me. That has been over two years now. Not so much with my partner. She explains that he is still an animal. So? So, instead, I buy Neosporin and Bandaids in bulk at Costco. Her problem. Not mine.

“Mother cats do litter train their offspring. An exception to the rules. If only dogs were intelligent enough to potty train their offspring.”

Not sure it is all training. Ours got it immediately. He was a barn cat, by origin. And had been taken from his mother too early. Nevertheless, he was litter trained the first day we had him. Or mostly litter trained. He had worms, and we expect that his litter mates didn’t survive as a result - their markings are unique, and no one else showed up at the vets with similar looking kittens with a similar problem. What that meant was diarrhea. Bad diarrhea. And a kitten streaking to his litter box, with little toots popping out as he ran. Several times. I thought that it was hilarious. My partner did too, but forbade us from laughing at him. I, of course, was delegated the cleanup. As well as rushing into the vet 20 miles away with a sample, then back and forth again for the antidote, which worked like a charm. He also had ear mites, which were probably not as dangerous, but harder to treat (his ears were sensitive, because of the mites, and he took offense at our putting something else there, even if it took care of the problem).

traditionalguy said...

Cool cats are good. Wild cats are bad. Tabby cats are just right.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

Cats Being Jerks Compilation

...is it because napping 23.5hrs/day, they are sleep deprived?

Gahrie said...

Sebastian said...So, if it's fine for cats to express their nature by playing with mice, why is it not fine for humans to express their nature both by engaging in abstract thought and by on occasion being deliberately cruel?

I don't think that cats expressing their true nature should ever be used to excuse for human cruelty. Cruelty from humans is the worst there is, because we know what it is, and do it purposefully.

What I do think is that if you are fine with cats expressing their nature through hunting, (and I am) you should also be fine with humans expressing their nature through hunting. Man has existed for around 300,000 years. For 290,000 of them were were hunter-gatherers.

Gahrie said...

Mother cats do litter train their offspring. An exception to the rules. If only dogs were intelligent enough to potty train their offspring.”

Not sure it is all training. Ours got it immediately.


It's instinctual. Burying your poop makes it harder for bigger predators to find you, and doesn't scare away your prey. Modern cats are descended from cats that buried their poop, and cats that didn't had their lines ended.

But you can train cats to use a toilet, though I've never seen one that flushes.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

Ha! toilet trained is nothing!

...our pussy even uses the bidet!

Gahrie said...

Cats are assholes.

Period.


That's true, and I love cats and have owned them my whole life. I've even shipped pet cats across the Atlantic Ocean. but they are assholes. it's their nature.

All of my life I have daydreamed about the perfect pet, with the personality of a dog,(friendly, pack animal) and the behavior of a cat (self reliant, litter box). I really want to get some breeding pairs of meerkats and attempt to create it. I know meerkats are kept as pets in some parts of the world. Unfortunately I live in California, and they won't even let me own a ferret.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Examining the strategies that other creatures have developed for exploiting a niche to survive and thinking it could be adapted to our use is rather an old Disney cartoon approach to life. Or maybe Berenstain Bears.

Mr Wibble said...

But you can train cats to use a toilet, though I've never seen one that flushes.

If they don't mess the seat then they're already ahead of a lot of teenaged boys.

wildswan said...

Some say that a class such as mammals is formed by a significant change in number of chromosomes accompanied by a rearrangement of genes along the chromosomes and there is a first animal to whom this happens. But thereafter a family within the class is formed by the chromosomes, as they appear in the first animal of the class, combining or splitting. And they say that cats were the first mammal and we other mammals just represent rearrangements of a cat's 19 chromosome pairs.
And that's why cats are so proudly indifferent, it's been downhill since the first cat and they are proud aristocrats surviving amid genetic squalor. We're all just funny-looking kids to them: dogs can't even climb trees; horses run in circles; humans go out in the rain. (Actually, the scientists don't make this last point, but I think it follows right on, logically.)

Narr said...

The late C. Lasch was not a Brit.

I've been allergic to cats big and small since infancy, so that alone would push me towards dogs, and I'm a dog person to my bones. So is the Mrs, or life would be even more difficult.

Every dog we've ever had has, at least once, brought some recently- or almost-dead little critter inside the house from the back yard-- chipmunk, bird, or vole. Being well-fed, the dogs have no incentive to actually eat the things, so it falls to me to get them back outside where the dog can't get to them again, and properly dead.

Two summers ago I had to take a tortoise with a little shell-gnawage to the neighbor's dog free yard.

Narr
Nietzsche: It is only from those we know capable of the most cruelty that we expect the most mercy

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

if Liberals were more like cats, they would bury their poop

...instead of publishing it in the Times or Post

gadfly said...

[Author John] Gray believes that humans turned to philosophy principally out of anxiety, looking for some tranquillity in a chaotic and frightening world, telling themselves stories that might provide the illusion of calm. Cats, suggests, wouldn’t recognize that need because they naturally revert to equilibrium whenever they’re not hungry or threatened.

But the philosophy dodge is bettered by observing cats to practically address our own problems - at least that is what John Michael Greer discovered. Seeking the secret of effective leadership, Greer observed that people respond to “come with me” a lot more readily and enthusiastically than they will to “go that way" and he hit upon the secret of herding cats.

I long ago lost track of the number of times I’ve heard people in one or another corner of the activist scene throw up their hands in despair and describe the task of organizing people to seek some form of change or other as being like trying to herd cats. In point of fact, herding cats is one of the easiest things in the world. All you have to do is go to the place you want the cats to go, carrying with you a #10 can of tuna and an electric can opener. The moment the cats hear the whirr of the can opener and smell the fragrance of the tuna, they’ll come at a run, and you’ll have your herd exactly where you want them. Now of course that strategy assumes two things. It assumes that you’re willing to go to the place you want the cats to go, and it also assumes that you have something to offer them when they get there.

daskol said...

Canned tuna solves a lot of problems, not just with cats.

Howard said...

I don't like the way the author dehumanizes animals. It's speciesism.

MadTownGuy said...

From the book:

"Rather than torturing creatures in their power - a singularly human predilection - they are playing with them."

1. Presumes to know that only humans are capable of torture.
2. Assumes feline motives not in evidence.

Conclusion: knows diddly about cats.

Ambrose said...

"Everybody wants to be a cat..." (When my kids were small(er), we went through a phase of watching Alleycats just about ever night.)

Rabel said...

In a brilliant marketing move, Mr. Gray has taken a common "I don't give a fuck and neither should you" concept and made it about housecats and garnered a review in the Times.

It'll be flying off the shelves in Manhattan and Madison and such.

madAsHell said...

Yesterday, I heard this shit in the check-out lane at Safeway.

Some stupid 65-year-old fat chick with a skunk stripe between bandanas of ginger colored hair. It appeared that her double-chin-behind-the-beard husband had lost every carefully picked battle. They drove away in a 1994 Subaru.

I think it's trending on the Ellen show.

Jupiter said...

You can chop it fine, cream it and put it on toast, but it's still shit.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

but cats are so practical--

...they would make for a great subject for a musical

The Godfather said...

I have nothing against cats (except the musical by that name, which I thought was awful and walked out of); but I've been a dog person all my life. Dogs and I have compatible personalities. If anyone tells me that dogs don't go to Heaven, I will visit you in Hell to show you the dogs in Heaven.

Unknown said...

Dogs are way smarter than cats, precisely because dogs learn the meaning of words. The ability to communicate goes hand in hand with advancing your intelligence.

Our vaunted capacity for abstract thought often gets us (or others) into trouble.

It's possible that communication gets us in trouble, too. Nonetheless communication is the key to forming relationships, finding intimacy and love, and advancing knowledge (and societies). "Abstract thought" is just one aspect of intelligence. But communication is major.

Dogs are interested in communication. Cats have no interest in what people have to say.

Dogs not only have a higher IQ than cats -- who are so dumb they can't even take the test -- dogs have EQ levels off the charts. Higher than a lot of people, I think.

Liberals like to think that empathy is a great virtue...and that progress is not only possible but morally necessary, but people would be better off cultivating a catlike indifference

Bizarre for a writer to align himself with cats, who have no interest in human communication and have the EQ of a rock.

Jupiter said...

What do you suppose this educated idiot thinks the word "abstract" adds to the phrase "abstract thought"?

Oso Negro said...

Blogger I Have Misplaced My Pants said...
blah blah blah humans terrible blah blah


Hey! There's good money in the salvation business if you can just get the rubes to buy that trope

Oso Negro said...

Blogger Michael K said...
True of addicts but few succeed.


Yes, the recidivism rate is cruel.

Jeff said...

Ever since I noticed women apparently falling in love with cats they just met, I've been hoping to grow fur and learn to purr. Licking myself in public didn't yield the desired response.

Josephbleau said...

"... but we’re also the only species that has consciously perpetrated genocides. “

Vacuous, by this reasoning we are the only species that has consciously done anything. How does this brilliant writer know animals are not conscious, I think my dog is.

Qwinn said...

Mikee came closest to noticing that the word "consciously" doesn't just do some, it does 100% of the heavy lifting in the entire article.

It's true that humans are the only species that ever consciously perpetrated genocide. We're also the only species that consciously perpetrated Christmas celebrations, kindness, building airplanes, visiting the moon and everything else worth doing.

Humans are the only species to consciously perpetrate *anything*. To focus on genocide just frames the author's misanthropic agenda in technicolor.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

You cat-haters are insufferable. I like cats. I am not a "crazy cat lady," b/c my husband also likes cats, and we have only two. But they are fine companions.

It is not that they are "low-maintenance." Quite the contrary; they are both insufferable pains in the ass. Especially Charlie, who turns from ordinary-playful to nippy in a second and has discovered that walking in front of my computer screen while I'm working annoys me, so does it as often as possible. Round "feeding time," which means two hours before they're slated to get their wet food, plus any time the kibble dishes are near-empty, they are amazing pests. Also, they barf a lot. Even on my bed (where they sleep whether I'm in it myself or not), though they haven't yet gone as far as my very first cat, Sheba, who woke my teenage self up one morning by barfing in my face.

All the same, as Heinlein said, "A dog is a slave; a cat is a free citizen." Mine aren't really free citizens, because they can't be; I keep them inside. But they have that sense about them, that they will take the world around them as it is, but try to make it better. For them, of course, but if that means compromising with the likes of us giant mutant hairless cats, they'll do it. So they give us purrs and sleeping-up-against and incredibly comic antics, and we repay in food and litterboxes and warmth and shelter and the odd open (but screened) window. Each of us thinks s/he has the better of the deal, which is why cats are libertarians.

Google "A PSA From Cats." That's the negative view (though extremely funny). Kipling's "The Cat Who Walks By Himself" is the (sorta) positive one.