Grumpy Cat reigns supreme

Elon Musk, sit down. Get out of here, Al Gore. At SXSW, the people have voted. The frowny cat wins


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Andrew Leonard
March 11, 2013 1:00AM (UTC)

Every single day, rain, shine or howling wind, patient throngs have waited hours in line outside a tent next to the Austin Convention Center for the chance to spend a few seconds getting their picture taken with Grumpy Cat.

Just writing that sentence makes me question my chosen career, but it's hard to argue that one of the breakout stars of SXSW 2013 is the cat with the frowny face who became an Internet sensation last September.

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I've seen a lot of pop-cultural Web sensations rise and fall in my day, but I have never seen people wait two hours in the spitting rain for the chance to be photographed next to a sleeping cat. There may be something profound to say about the state of our culture from Grumpy Cat's stunning cultural hegemony over SXSW. Something about how the inexorable future of media will be an increasingly desperate and frantic struggle to create and exploit memes. Or something about how dogs just can't cut it when it comes to generating monster pageviews. Or something about how Grumpy Cat's impact on 21st century civilization suggests that we are all living lives of irritable dissatisfaction with, well, just about everything.

But I'm not really sure what it is. I'm still too distracted by Grumpy Cat's inimitable ability to be both cute and an incredible grouch at the same time.

Give credit to the geniuses at Mashable, who had the brilliant idea to bring Grumpy Cat to Austin. You really can't buy that kind of publicity. You can only be all frowny and pissed off that you didn't think of it yourself.

And yes, that is Salon's CEO, Cindy Jeffers, and senior product manager Ibrahim Madha, getting their moment in Grumpy Cat's glorious shadow.

 


Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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