Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Going postal over LOLcats

Not going to do a huge long rant.  Just wanted to say: I love real kitties, but LOLcats must die.

Kittens are cute.  LOLcats are a sign of the decline of Western civilization.  Cutesy, self-affirmative BS.  Here's a hint: find a real cat and pet it.  Don't irritate me by sending me emails about how this picture of a kitty played a major role in your path to self-actualization.


  1. They don't bother me as much as I don't "get" them. I figured it was one more manifestation of me being out of step with the "culcha."

  2. They would probably piss you off more if you were a woman.

  3. I do not understand. Lots of women like LOL cats.

  4. Your comment actually made me laugh out loud literally.

    Hm. Yes, Roger. Yes. Lots and lots and lots of women like LOL cats.

    "It is a tool of the oppressors!!!" Chris didn't say.

    I mean, it IS a tool of oppression - self oppression - but you come off as an angry feminist if you say stuff like that not joking...

    And what? Am I going to run around to all my female friends and say "No, you don't understand. That kind of drivel is genuinely making you retarded."

  5. Ah, "the tool of the oppressor," someone else said. and I have seen this in other scenarios. I guess I'm saying, ejimucate me, because I don't get it.

  6. I have a hard time, particularly in writing, with gauging what a person knows or doesn't know.

    But I love explaining things, so here we go:

    The problem as I see it is psychosocialization. It's not a law; it's actually harder and firmer than law. It forms the base of our culture.

    Women are encouraged through psychosocialization to be non-competative. Part of conditioning someone to be non-competative is, as I see it, to be non-critical of their behavior.

    When someone is critical of you, particularly using punishment rather than negative reinforcement, it helps you become competitive because there is a psychological, Skinnerian force compelling you against being non-competitive. If you are non-competitive, then you will suffer a negative outcome.

    (I feel compelled to explain that "punishment" and "negative reinforcement" can each be either physical or nonphysical. "Punishment" is a "don't do this," or the outcome of a result of a negative action or behavior. So, in education, if someone gets a D on their math homework, a physical punishment would be to smack them with a ruler; a non-physical punishment would be to force them to re-do their homework until it's correct, or make them do drills every night for a week.

    Negative reinforcement, on the other hand, is based around trying to avoid the negative outcome by doing the correct behavior. It too can be physical or non-physical. An example would be not telling the child what they're doing wrong and just to keep hitting them until they figure out they have to do better on their math assignments. Non-physical would be constant, nonspecific nagging.

    Animal studies suggest that punishment is actually good, while negative reinforcement can lead to things like depression and panic attacks, e.g. Seligman's experiments, which he detailed in "Learned Helplessness.")

    So, things like the LOLcats - the self-affirmative nonsense - give a nonspecific cue of "Naw, it's not your behavior you need to change, it's cool. Hugs!"

    I think that the prevalence of this type of positive reinforcement of non-critical, non-competative behaviors is what conservatives unconsciously might mean when they talk of the "feminization" of society. In their minds, it's okay for women to think like that, but not men. In imho, it's not okay for ANYBODY to think this way, but I see it as a particularly bad problem among women.

  7. Also: I strongly recommend Seligman's "Learned Helplessness." It's written as a popular text, so the opening chapter focuses on terms and ideas in behavioralism which will be used later in the book. I knew very little about behavioralism when I started reading it.

    I've found it very, very useful in both understanding myself and understanding other people, and how to compel my students to perform better. It's a classic of psych literature; it's been cited something like 6,000 times even though it's really written with a popular audience in mind.