15 November 2015
Cat is Art Spelled Wrong edited by Caroline Casey, Chris Fischbach, and Sarah Schultz
"Coffee House Press, a major nonprofit publisher, recently launched a Kickstarter for a book examining the Internet's cat video fetish. The book, if the Kickstarter campaign reaches its $25,000 goal, will be titled Cat is Art Spelled Wrong, and examine themes like what makes something art, whether art is good or bad, and how taste develops. In other words, cat videos can actually be . . . pretty serious."—The Washington Post
"Coffee House Press one-ups all boring Kickstarter campaigns with Catstarter, a campaign to fund a book on cat videos."—The Millions
"Coffee House Press's upcoming book, titled Cat is Art Spelled Wrong, takes the opportunity to examine a seemingly irrelevant subject from new perspectives—from 'the line is between reality/self on the internet' to 'how cat videos demonstrate either that nothing matters, or that any art matters if anyone thinks it does.' Thus, it's an earnest attempt to uncover more about human nature—especially in today's internet-driven world."—Cool Hunting
Fifteen writers, all addressing not just our fascination with cat videos, but also how we decide what is good or bad art, or art at all; how taste develops, how that can change, and why we love or hate something. It's about people and technology and just what it is about cats that makes them the internet's cutest despots.
Contributors include: Sasha Archibald, Will Braden, Stephen Burt, Maria Bustillos, David Carr, Matthea Harvey, Alexis Madrigal, Joanne McNeil, Ander Monson, Kevin Nguyen, Elena Passarello, Jillian Steinhauer, Sarah Schultz, and Carl Wilson.
Why do we like cat videos so much? Or Henri, the existential Chat Noir? Or Grumpy Cat or Maru or share a video of a cat dressed as a shark riding a Roomba chasing a duckling so many times that the hit count is in the millions? (Admit it, you've been obsessed with those recent videos of cats freaking out over cucumbers sneaking up on them from behind.)
Well, Coffee House Press's new book, Cat is Art Spelled Wrong, pulls together pieces of many different varieties. Some concentrate on cultural criticism, some bubble over with enthusiasm, some make us snuggle our own balls of fur a little tighter. Ander Monson contributes a stellar piece titled "The Internet is a Cat Video Library" which contemplates both internet culture and an actual small-animal lending library (btw, if you haven't read Monsen's Letter to a Future Lover get on that). Kevin Nguyen contributes some insight into the I Can Has Cheezburger work ethic with "The No Sleeping Cat Rule." And, yes, there is an Internet Cat Video Festival, detailed in Sarah Schultz's "There Was a Cat Video Festival in Minneapolis, and It Was Glorious."
My only regret is that it wasn't longer!
Dear FTC: I bought my copy of this book.