What does the popular fascination with silly Internet videos say about the human condition?

The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is preparing to stage the first film festival of Internet cat videos. The event is capturing headlines around the world. Today’s Question: What does the popular fascination with silly Internet videos say about the human condition?

  • GregX

    Great big brain, living in a modern society, running billions of dollars of communcications and computational technology, still controlled by the most rudimentary “response triggers”. Evolution upgrades – but doesn’t’ entirely remove – core embedded behavior. In defernce to Marshall Mcluhan … if the medium is the message, then the content is the reason.

  • Dianne

    People are in need of a good laugh and have forgotten how to have fun.

  • Bob

    It really says nothing about the human condition as people have always enjoyed this type of humor and entertainment. The fact that it has captured headlines around the world implies that we have too many media outlets with too much insignificant news to report.

  • Jim G

    A cat question of the day? I’m trying to live peacefully with my three step-cats that came with my wife and I get a cat question. I’m a dog person myself and don’t see much humor in cats in the first place but I’ll give it a shot. It might not be purrrrfect, but what the hair-ball.

    What it says about society is that there is a subset of us who have way too much free time to generate and watch kitty videos. Also, it’s hard to differentiate between a liberal and conservative kitty. This may one of the last bastions for goofy creative outlets without divisive overtones left to our artists’ imaginations.

    Now where did I put that cat-nip? Nice kitty, here kitty, kitty…

  • david

    That there is not enough mindless drivel on TV?

  • Larry M.

    While many of the comments earlier stated may be true, I’m going to take a different. Like with our food we are bombarded with a media products that are over processed. Seeing videos online seem somewhat more spontaneous and personal, perhaps even capturing a more “human” moment and an element of surprise.

  • Lance

    It tells me that there is a finite amount of global intelligence and the population to which it is spread keeps growing. ;~)

  • Sabrina

    hedonic exploration and engineering.

    often starts with baby steps, or kitten steps …

  • Ann

    People have always liked interesting pictures.I’m more bewildered over the number of hours that people spend watching “The Biggest Loser” or the Kardashians. I can’t tolerate “Dateline” or “CSI.” Dwelling on every detail of a fictional or actual murder is depressing and a waste of time for me.I grew up with comedy and drama that the whole family could enjoy.People of all incomes could watch it without paying for cable. I know it wasn’t perfect, but I enjoyed it. I enjoy the Internet more than TV. It has a greater variety of information and entertainment.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Simple amusement is underrated. Though people will self-righteously sneer at “mindless drivel,” we all seek it from time to time. I find that a certain amount of it is essential to my mental health. Amusing others and letting oneself be amused is good for one’s soul, one’s relationships, one’s community, and society as a whole. Sure, too much of it would be bad, but folks are so serious these days that we might say there’s an epidemic of amusement deficit disorder. So, what does the popularity of silly internet videos say? I think it says we’ve so stigmatized fun as laziness that people who don’t feel free to have fun together go looking for fun online. We need to lighten up.

  • Ben

    It says that there is a market for this because:

    it’s FREE.

    It also doesn’t tie up a 1/2 hr or a FULL hour of your time.

    Its easy to understand and enjoy for people of all ages, languages and cultures and I can watch it with my kids.

    It’s usually watched based on a recommendation of a real

    life friend, not a marketing dept.

    Broadcast TV should take note.

  • Tamara

    Symptoms of hypnagogic activity within the mindfield of humanity on the verge of awakening within the collective lucid dream. Isn’t that what 2012 is all about? Genes, themes, memes and beams of light in the mind’s eye (from the “I” of the mind).

  • Barbarella

    The metaphorically euphemistic interest humans have in petting the kitty and stroking the chicken is inherent.

  • http://starvist.tumblr.com/ Lorika

    I much prefer the modern propensity toward silly and cute cat videos to the old fashioned blood lust of the colosseum or the guillotine.

    Let’s remember too that these are things we enjoy in a moment of boredom or down time, and not a life’s obsession.

    The fact that the festival is getting attention all over the world speaks more to the state of media today than it does of people’s love of cute. Cute is in our DNA – babies are cute with disproportionately large eyes for a reason – it triggers a nurturing response in humans – cats (and many other animals) enjoy the same treatment for the same eye to face ratio.

    The media on the other hand, has unfortunately been bought and sold many times over and no longer serves as our 4th pillar of democracy – now it’s more like a trough of money and distraction. Hence, cat videos are news!

  • jockamo

    Watching a pussy play the piano is certainly more fun and entertaining than dealing with current events, like the Obama decision to outfit the Olympic Team with fancy suits made in China.


    The Democrat Mayor of Joe Biden’s home town, Scranton, PA, deciding to pay the cops and firefighters minimum wage, in direct violation of the Union Contract.

    The Democrats are trying to cheat the Unions out of the Taxpayers money. Doesn’t that just figure. We must vote for the Republicans to, you know, save the Unions.

    And get the Olympic Uniforms made in America again, not China.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Obama does not micromanage the USOC, jockamo/georges. Do us all a favor and take your childish disruptions back to the middle school playground you came from.

  • jockamo


    There’s my little huckleberry.

    Steve the Zimm…….

    The self-appointed control freak zealot, patrolling the various streets of this semi-gated community, German 9mm always at the ready to shoot down any and all he doesn’t like the look of, or the speech of, or the walk of, or the clothes of……..

    Determined to eradicate his superiors from the neighborhood, by intimidation, if possible, but by mean gun force whenever necessary, keeping the streets he loves clean of opposition, sterile and without life, inhabited, in his mind, by only himself and those who think just like him……..

    Steve the Zimm……

    Out and about, patrolling like a madman, attacking in the shadows…..but…….alas………..when he pulls his Glock and fires…….

    ……….it contains only blanks…………alot of noise, nothing more………

    Steve the Zimm………..

    Standing his ground, by God…….the terror of the inept self-aggrandizing inferior minds run amok in the narcissistic here and now………

    Runting around the wallow……….



  • Steve the Cynic

    Your childish rants refute themselve, georges/jockamo.

  • Jenny

    I think georges/jockamo needs to do an oneirogen and wake the f*ck up. Watch “We Are Here”.