Why are lolcats popular? If they had invaded our screens in, say, 1995, their audience would have been smaller. The danger of writing about lolcats as if they’re actually famous is that they enjoy only a minor form of popularity. That said, lolcats have a bigger audience than the Twinkie experiment page of yore because more people are spending more time on the internet. That’s obvious, right?
Someone complained to me that lolcats are destroying the English language. This is false, but it is true that they have little intrinsic cultural value. As images, they will be largely forgotten, except for ironic references and a probable if not certain shoutout on an episode of “I Love the 2000’s.”
Beyond images, though, lolcats are valuable as an expression of a new kind of culture, which will eventually produce something that’s more useful and more radical. In short, something capable of producing its own effects. The fact that lolcats have already spawned loltheorists shows that there’s an audience that’s ready to make this culture happen (make the happening of this culture?). Lolcats realize their highest value when they’re seen this way, as precursors.