By now, everyone is pretty much over that whole lolcat thing, right?* So there’s no point in showing you all this marginal illustration from a 14th-century Book of Hours (British Library MS Stowe 17) that is, as far as I know, the earliest example of the genre***:
Some may dispute my find by arguing that the essence of lolcats is the pidgin text that accompanies the picture, but I would contend that there are essentially three major branches of lolcattery: 1) jokes based on idiosyncratic grammar (e.g. ‘I can has cheezburger?‘), 2) jokes based on invisible objects, and 3) jokes based on cats being in weird places (e.g. ‘Oh hai, I upgraded your RAM‘).**** The marginal image above is clearly the direct precursor of the third category.
But if snail cat doesn’t convince you that the medievals invented the whole lolmeme, check this out. It’s the spiritual predecessor of ceiling cat:*****
*What’s that? They’re still translating the Bible into Lolspeak? Really?** OK, you win, I’ll post the picture.
**Oh boy, are they. This is the verse from yesterday’s post about the end of the world, LOL-style: “an dis gospel ov teh kingdom will be preachd in da whole wurld as testimony 2 all nashuns, an den teh end will come.” I prefer it when they’re more liberal with the translation, like in their version of Titus 1:15-16: “Gud pplz gotted gud minds, but bad pplz thinkz bad thoghts. Dey is laik, “Oh hai Ceiling Cat!” to his face, but tryin bite him when turnz round…”
***It beats Ape Lad’s turn of the century “Laugh Out Loud Cats” by a country mile.
****LOLCat theologians have argued that logically, there must be a fourth category, meta-lolcats, or lolcats based on lolcats, but to date these remain only theoretical, like counts of angels dancing on pins.
*****Even though, technically, it’s a lolkingdavid. Mouseover image made with the GeekFlirt Lolcat Maker.