The other day I found a tumblr called Menswear Dog.

A New Yorker has taken it upon themselves to dress up their shiba inu in some snazzy menswear and take pictures of it, labelling the clothes in case we want to imitate their dog. Whilst this sounds like a hilariously cute idea at first – who doesn’t love a pug in a superman outfit? – It’s just really, really weird. The dog is making faces; it’s all set up like the dog is an actual model. But…it’s a dog. This morning I practically woke up in a cold sweat with a shiba inu in a denim jacket dancing in front of my eyes. Forget waterboarding – this is the new 2013 form of torture; animals on the internet.

When the internet was created, its principle function was informative, aiming to educate and aid people who were not otherwise connected and make useful information available in a public domain. I do not think, though I could be wrong, Sir Tim Berners-Lee intended for his creation to be used to spread a video of Mishka the dog howling ‘I love you.’

…I spent last Monday engrossed in a page filled with cat gifs…

Whilst at first I, along with every other student with too much free time, was engrossed in videos of pets doing the funniest things, there’s only so many times you can watch a cat chase a laser before it dawns on you that it has, in fact, taken over your life. I spent last Monday engrossed in a page filled with cat gifs. I, along with 154 million others, have devoted a few seconds of my life watching a panda sneeze. More than once. I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t seen it.     

We don’t need David Attenborough to tell us animals are amazing and we learn a lot from them. Perhaps my fascination for animals stems from a childhood longing, still unfulfilled, to have a German Shepherd/Alsatian named Zeus barking enthusiastically whenever I walk in the door. Perhaps we’re taking a leaf from the book of the Ancient Egyptians, who revered cats as graceful killers and turned them into ‘cat mummies’ as offerings to the gods. I’m not sure they realised their abilities for making hilarious faces, or they too would have sat around all day scrolling through memes of Grumpy Cat.

…an internet epidemic…

Ah, yes, the memes that have come to define 2012 and, I’m sure, will continue to do so this year. Alongside Grumpy Cat we have Bad Advice Cat, I Can Haz Cheeseburger, Insanity Wolf, Socially Awkward Penguin, Pedobear and Paranoid Parrot. Animals are everywhere. It is with much horror that I realise I capitalised the memes’ names, further legitimising them. Now, rather than just saying something, we put it into an animal meme, because everything’s more entertaining and absorbing with a picture attached. 

It’s become such an internet epidemic that the other day I was shocked when I saw next door’s cat. Yes, it seems they exist in real life and, having spent so much time in a virtual world, it’s easy to forget. From an artistic point of view, is the proliferation of animal images and videos just a celebration of our furry friends and I’ve spent the past five hundred words ranting about nothing at all? Or, rather, is it all a load of time-wasting obsessive nonsense? Either way, this is the underground internet artistic movement that’s going to define our year. Give it a few years and we’ll be featuring Insanity Wolf and Grumpy Cat right alongside Lichtenstein as expressions of modern art.

…the smiling shiba inu ‘modelling’ that dashing J. Crew shirt…

Well, maybe. For now I’m just going to delete Menswear Dog from my browser history and try to forget the smiling shiba inu ‘modelling’ that dashing J. Crew shirt.

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