What are the cockroaches of the internet?

Last night I was thinking about the cyclical nature of of the internet.  I was also watching the Flintstones.  Both signs that I could have a drug problem.  Except that I’ve never done drugs.  It’s just me.

Anyway, I was thinking about how particular sites, apps, or memes come into popularity and then fade out of favor.  And often times that’s the force of new technology at work.  It’s a good thing.

But it occurred to me that there is one thing that seems to have been on the internet forever and will outlast us all.  Do you know what it is?  Okay, two things… But we’re not hear to discuss porn.  If you want to hear about that, check out track 9 here.

No, I’m thinking of something very much like a cockroach.  Virtually unchanged for millions of years and utterly useless in the eyes of most of us.

Funny pictures of cats.

If Al Gore were to destroy his internet tomorrow… completely annihilate it, it would come back.  And the first thing we’d see is a picture of a cat with a paw on it’s crotch and caption that says, “OMG, knock first!”  The second thing we’d see is naked pictures of Alyssa Milano.  But that’s besides the point.  And good lord, do you know how much Google traffic I’m going to attract to this post just because that phrase is in there?

I’m sure if you went back in a time machine to 1986 and looked at one of the BBS systems, there’s an ASCII picture of a puffy white cat with a mean look, and the caption “I hate everything” underneath it.

I’m dumbstruck at what the geniuses of the net have done for us.  Allowed us to do things artistically that we couldn’t have accomplished before.  Helped us sell our wares to millions. (If I put a ‘z’ on that word – hella more Google traffic!) And brought us together with loved ones and total strangers across the globe to discuss the minutiae of what we had for lunch.  Turkey and salami on sourdough with deli mustard.  In case you were wondering.

And yet we always regress back to our simple funny furry friends to remind us that sometimes we can be simple idiots and that’s ok.  There’s just something about a picture of a cat wearing orange rind like a football helmet that makes everyone laugh the world over.  Yes, they’re cockroaches, our little digitized and humiliated feline friends are, but some people consider them the chocolate covered, on-a-stick delicacy version that people in mentally unstable countries ingest.

Why do we do this to cats?  It’s because they are noble and serious creatures.  And we like to see the noble and serious brought down to our level of insanity.  And since we can’t get a picture of the Queen of England with her hand over her crotch and a caption that says, “OMG! Knock first!”, then we’ll just have to settle for cats.

So if you too would like to make people happy, go humiliate your favorite animal and post it on the net.  Or, the Queen of England.  Surfers will love you for it.

Phil Johnson
PS… I’m doing a new thing where you can download 8 of my songs for free.  Check it out here.

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