Schiaparelli, Valles Marineris, Mars -- 14 Mar. 2057: A catfight has broken out over an exhibition opening this day at the Museum of Digital Art and Culture. Titled I Can Am An Art?, the show features large-scale reproductions and remixes of many of the earliest and most iconic variations of the LOLcats meme. However, the exhibition has raised the ire of a cat-rights group calling itself the WildCats Felinist Collective, which has organized a large public protest.
Outside the museum, our correspondent on the scene, Frenk Pewley, observed "a group of approximately 100 sentient felines and several dozen allies which included humans and other hominids, canines, mechanicals and at least one swarm of Mathematical Bees. Aggressive hyperlayer pages attempt to overwhelm the spam filters of passersby with slogans -- 'My grammar and spelling are entirely adequate', 'I has a money and I know what do do with it - don't spend it at MODAC', 'Invisible Rights', and 'I can has equality?' These kittens are neither cute nor amusing; while they do not physically obstruct progress, they snarl and hiss at anyone who attempts to enter the museum, shouting abuse and epithets. 'Speciesist' is the least of what I've heard hurled at those choosing to patronize the show.
"A small counter-protest has developed; amused primals and spacers taunt the protesters with bits of string and laser pointers while chanting 'Here kitty kitty kitty!' and 'Do you has a sad?' But on the whole, the herd of cats rules the street; In an hour of watching, I have seen only one person enter the museum."
In an interview, a spokesperson for the group, Ascension Murderous Tagworthy, claimed grevious offence over the content of the installation. "It's pure humanocentric filth. It portrays cats as being little more than stupid, self-centered little toys, existing for nothing but human amusement. The very name is offensive; yes, by all means, let's laugh out loud at cats! This kind of disgusting scat may have been acceptable back in the twencen but it sure shouldn't be now. And the worst part is, not a single felinist group was consulted on how to portray cats from a species-inclusive perspective. If they don't want to hear our voices in their board rooms, we're going to make sure they hear them here and now."
Inside the main foyer of the museum, a ten-foot tall poster displays an image of a cat looking immensely pleased at the prospect of receiving a cheeseburger (or rather, a 'cheezburger'); below the piece, a concession stand sells cheeseburgers and other comestibles and potables in packages emblazoned with the iconic image. "One begins to see why these cats might be offended," Frenk writes. "The 'invisible object' gallery contains several images of cats flying through the air, often with expressions of terror on their faces. Another gallery is filled with cats wearing hats, and other things they clearly do not wish to be wearing, including one with its head encased in a lime rind arranged to look like a wig, while another is dedicated to sleeping cats with a variety of objects piled on top of them. There is a wall covered in cats which are being compared to Adolf Hitler based entirely on the fact that their facial markings can be construed as being similar to the Fuhrer's trademark toothbrush moustache. We may laugh, but putting yourself in the place of a person who shares the species of the subjects of these lampoons yields a somewhat less amusing result."
Bramlin Stoonflard, the curator of the MODAC, is stunned by the outcry. "I regret that I did not consider the perspective of Feline-Martians when putting this exhibition together," he explained in an interview. "I would like, however, to point out that these are cultural artifacts from another time -- a time when cats were not sapient and were not considered persons, or even quasi-persons. This retrospective was intended to explore the roots of one of the most important developments in the history of popular digital culture. It is frankly impossible to comprehend the development of webmemes without understanding LOLcats; after all, the meme was the genesis of one of the earliest and most successful link-farming companies and one of the earliest and most massive intrusions of a webmeme into the popular consciousness. If I had the chance to do it again, I would certainly reach out to these felinist groups in an attempt to balance expression and education with sensitivity; but I will not be shutting the exhibition down early. The public has the right to decide for themselves whether of not it is really so offensive."