Book Review: Teh Itteh Bitteh Book Of Kittehs

The Itteh Bitteh Book Of Kittehs:  A LOLcat Guide 2 Kittens, by Professor Happycat

This is the sort of book that it is almost superfluous to review.  I happen to like memes [1], so my interest in this book is pretty obvious, and if you like memes and especially if you like kittens there is a great deal to enjoy here.  This is a book whose mere existence sort of sells itself, the third book in a series of volumes that show lolcat memes.  Many people, possibly even most people, will find the captions to be spelled a bit oddly and will find the pictures to be adorable.  Those of us who, however unwillingly, understand lolcat will translate the captions quickly and have a good laugh at the book’s contents and wonder how it is that people are so creative with thinking of the most appropriate caption for the various photographs.  That said, I am fully aware that there are at least a few people who read this book or even hear about it who will be convinced that this book and the phenomenon it represents are a sign of the impending end of the world, a view which I obviously do not share.

This book is made up of 200 pages of memes divided under the following headings:  Yr kitteh and u, Kyootness:  resistance is futile, Kitteh to-do list, Teh artz of lol, Momcat knows best, Uh-oh bad kitteh, Rules kittehs live bai, and Itteh bitteh kitteh committeh hall of fame.  At the end of the book there is a listing showing the photo credits of all of the people responsible for taking the pictures used in the book.  As humorous as the photos are, and some of them are genuinely hilarious, and many of them adorable featuring cute kittens with an adorable and characteristic patois, what is particularly interesting to note is the fact that there are many people who are very interested in taking photos and adding funny captions to them for inclusion in a book like this.  And one can hardly blame such people for enjoying the sense of humor with captions like “nap attack” and “invisible cheeseburger.”  Thankfully, the cute cats whose unusual ways are gently mocked in these memes are not able to read these books for themselves and so they are unable to know that we are laughing at them, although somewhere they may suspect it.

What I do find particularly intriguing about this book is what it means on a larger level.  For one, kittens (and cats) are cute and do weird things that can be the source of immensely entertaining memes.  Yet we owe the idea of the meme itself to one crusty Richard Dawkins, who came up with the term as a way of trying to increase the inflationary budget of his materialistic worldview in coping with the constraints that design theory was forcing on him, and instead of demonstrating the plausibility of his intellectually bankrupt worldview, the idea of a meme ended up being a showcase of design where the selection of pictures and the judicious choice of text for captions was able to communicate a great deal more than the limited informational content of the pictures by themselves because they took advantage of a shared context in the mind of viewers, a greater information content than they contained by themselves.  Thus memes like the lolcats are yet more evidence of how intelligent design works in communication through the conservation of information.  It is oddly appropriate that these kittens and evolutionary theorists would be thus connected through this book’s delightful designs.

[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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6 Responses to Book Review: Teh Itteh Bitteh Book Of Kittehs

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