Book Review: How To Take Over Teh Wurld

How To Take Over Teh Wurld:  A LOLcat Guide 2 Winning, by Professor Happycat

What is it that makes lolcat memes so funny [1]?  The memes included in this book are fairly straightforward in nature.  We have a photo containing one or more cats and some kind of funny caption.  Yet this book is one of several in a series of officially released volumes from the owners of, and I imagine the people have made a fair amount of money, to say nothing of popularity, concerning the popularity of their cat memes.  So, what accounts for this popularity?  I think a large part of it has to do with the fact that kittens are cute and that cats are endearingly funny creatures with odd habits and expressive faces.  Indeed, their expressiveness appears at the core of the sort of communication that memes provide, as one would find much less enjoyment showing pictures of rocks with captions, given the lack of expressiveness of (most) rocks.  One might even venture to say that it is the obvious limbic emotional connection that cats have with other cats and with ourselves that allows them to serve as ideal figures for memes like the ones found in this book, and we can be grateful to them for that.

The 200 memes included in this volume fall under the following categories:  Bewar of menni danjurs, Charms to disarm, Do wut u want, Eat ur food.  And ebbryone elses too, Impers- imparsen- copycat, Kill dem till they die from it, Know ur skillz, Lay down da law, Lurn noo technologies, Make allies…or nawt, Master ur emoshuns, See wut udders can’t see, and Survive pointy fingers:  deny, deny, deny.  Given this scheme of organization, written in lolcat of course, we can see the themes of cats using their charm and cuteness to avoid trouble, seeking to fulfill their longings and wants, and developing their competence in certain areas.  We also see the tendency of cats to behave as if there are invisible things around them that they are interacting with, a quality that human beings share in abundance as well.  Included in this collection are happy cats, cute cats, sad cats, angry cats, and so on, their expressiveness adding to the poignancy or humor of the captions.  All in all, this book is not a demanding read and is frequently a very enjoyable one.

One thinks, in reading this book (and others like it) that the lolcat phenomenon depends on several things.  For one, the image credits at the back of the book reveal that there are a great many people who like taking pictures of their cats and setting humorous captions to them, something that continues to the present day (this book was written about a decade ago or so).  In addition, this book required the aegis of a company devoted to cat memes as well as publishers and a large audience of readers.  This book may best be seen as a coffee table book full of cute and funny cat pictures, but so long as that remains popular and worthwhile to people, one can imagine that books like this will continue to be printed.  There are no doubt many people who do not find lolcats or their awkwardly spelled captions all that entertaining, but those sorts of people are not going to be reading (much less reviewing) this sort of book anyway.  For those of us who do appreciate these pictures, we are reminded of the enjoyment of meme culture with others who are in on the joke and who appreciate the cuteness and quirkiness of cats.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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7 Responses to Book Review: How To Take Over Teh Wurld

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