Monday, August 25, 2008

May The Four Ears Be With You

The Internet can accomplish a lot of things. It can take people who are hated locally and broadcast them to the world so that they can be hated globally. It can take a catchy, yet annoying, little tune and have it stuck in the heads of millions on a constant repetitive loop. It can take nothing more than an offhanded utterance of pure speculation on an obscure radio talk show in the Midwest to provoke the beginning of a chain email that will be circulated to every part of the planet before noon. The Internet can do all of those things and it can do them quite well. But the Internet can do one thing better than it can do all of those things put together. It can take a tale or a picture of an animal (usually an animal that does nothing more than just be an animal) and almost instantaneously, the Internet can turn that animal into a worldwide phenomenon. For no other reason than everyone feels the need to say, "Did you see the cat with four ears on the Internet?" To which others will naturally reply, "Wait. What?"

Meet Yoda. Yoda is a cat. Yoda is a cat with four ears. Yoda is an Internet superstar. Behold! A cat with four ears that everyone and their cousin knows about!

See, back in 2006, Ted and Valerie Rock found the four eared feline while watching a Bears game at a bar in Blue Island. For some unknown reason, a bunch of the bars patrons were passing around this little 8-week old kitten with four ears and calling it things such as "Devil Cat" and "Beelzebub". How charming. Fortunately for the cat with ears squared, the Rocks wanted to adopt him. More fortunate for the cat was that the owner of the bar agreed to let them adopt the cat. Up until then, the bar owner had kept the cat "in a cage atop the bar to amuse patrons". That according to the good folks over there at amNY. People at the bar must have been too drunk to realize that they had an Internet sensation just waiting to be born on their hands. How else could you just allow the cat to sit in a cage for drunken bar customer amusement? You couldn't. Morons.

The Rocks took the cat home and named him Yoda. I'm guessing that's because both of them have kind of pointy ears? I know that it's not because Yoda has four ears, because he doesn't. (Even if he did, what's anyone going to do about it? He's a Jedi Master, for cryin' out loud. He'd just light saber your ass into oblivion if you tried to put him in a cage atop a bar.) I thought I didn't like the name Yoda for a four eared cat (or any cat with any number of ears) until I learned that they were going to call the cat Barfly. Barfly (which, come on, looks a lot like just Barf. Your hear Barfly, you think Barf. You are Barfly, you do Barf. It's all quite simple.) only lasted for a day and then Yoda it was.

Not only can the Internet increase the popularity of a deformed, yet still adorable, animal, it can also increase the level of stupidity among those who book talk shows, those who watch talk shows and those who host talk shows. Yoda will be following in the footsteps of many now famous creatures before him (such as Princess Chunk, the 44-pound stray cat found wandering about one day) and appearing on the talk show circuit. "Good Morning America," "Fox News" and "The Tyra Banks Show" have all expressed interest at having Yoda, the four eared cat appear on their shows. It's unfortunate that they don't express interest in something having to do with news (well, except for Tyra. She gets a pass on this one. But only because she's not a "news" show, not because she thinks she's the next Oprah or anything. Please.) as opposed to parading out Feline DNA Gone Bad stories. "Good Morning America! Never mind the war in Iraq, we've got a cat with four freaking ears to talk endlessly about as if it were the most important thing ever!" Ugh.

But here's a head scratcher. The folks over there at The Daily Mail said, "If Batman had a cat, it would probably look something like this." And then there was a picture of Yoda the cat. If Batman had a cat? WTF, Daily Mail? So, a Bat Cat would have four ears be-caaauussee....? Do bats have four ears? Does Batman have four ears? Why would that be his cat? I don't get it.

And here's the other thing I don't get. Everyone keeps talking about the cat's hearing. Is his hearing normal? Is his hearing OK? Well, what would they expect his hearing to be like is what I want to know? I mean, if you have an extra set of ears, I don't imagine you'd think your hearing would be worse, would you? So do they want to know if he has super hearing? Like the Bionic Woman? I don't think the cat does, but how would you know? Actually, I can think of many experiments that could be implemented, (most of them involving an iPod, the theme from The Lion King and catnip) but it's probably just best left at believing his hearing is fine and he's not bionic.

(Ah, The Bionic Woman. I'm pretty sure I had a thing for Lindsay Wagner in the 1970s. I'm pretty sure I have a thing for Lindsay Wagner now. Just a second....yep. Still do! Sorry. I digress. Onward!)

And no inane Internet animal story would be complete without a ridiculous fact in the form of a quote. Valerie Rock said that Yoda is a totally normal cat with four ears. He's very affectionate and very sociable. All good to know, I guess. (Perhaps one would think a cat with four ears would have an attitude after being ridiculous by all of the bi-eared kitties in the neighborhood.) But then she throws in, "'But he does have an interesting obsession with bread - I can't leave bread on the counter for a moment." Huh? Bread? Are you sure you're feeding this cat?

So there you have it. Yoda, the real cat with four real ears who is really made-up phenomenon which will keep bazillions of Internet users and perusers entertained and thrilled for days on end. Then a 5 nosed cocker spaniel will pop up in Kansas and we'll forget all about ol' Yoda. (Internet users have a very short attention span. That and a need to constantly have deformed creatures dangled in front of them to mesmerize them like a shiny object. A simple bunch, just really needy is all.)

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