Talking pets are a staple of internet culture. They are not always friendly

Whether you love or hate people who talk like their pets, using cute terms Such as “Poberius” and “Boyce Heiken” are goodor share Grammatically incorrect cat talking memesThe concept of “pet sound” has become as much a part of the social media landscape as images of the furry and scaly buddies themselves. In fact, conversing with and through animals to express our human feelings and thoughts is one of the hallmarks of Internet culture.

But the pet sound phenomenon is not unique to the age of social media. Media and pets have always been intertwined, and owners and animal lovers alike have played communion through them for hundreds of years.

It is also described in detail by historian Catherine Greer “America’s Pets: A History,” As early as the 19th century, people were exchanging messages with each other in the voices of their furry companions. Taking advantage of the rise in photographic technology, they also began printing portrait paintings of their animals to hand out to their friends. Such personal practices can be seen as the Victorian equivalent of sending cute pet pictures over messaging apps like Snapchat or WhatsApp.

But not all early pet practices were harmless. Fashion world Julia Long poses The way humans used pets as props. Refers to the 1886 Washington Post An interview with a woman who “lavishes her valuable affection” on the pet beetles she wore as a statement of fashion. “When asked if the beetle ‘knew’ its owner,” the reporter notes, “this lady expressed great sadness and astonishment at the thought of her beloved pet not returning her affection.”

The idea of ​​wearing a ladybug like a brooch, let alone keeping it as a pet, might make readers pause today. But as a communication tactic, practice speaks volumes. The act of anthropomorphism, or the attribution of human characteristics to non-human entities, is an alienating concept. By pretending to speak as someone else, especially someone who can’t actually speak for themselves, the woman who gives the beetles a “voice” is removed from her statements. This distance, however slight, has enormous implications in medieval times today. One of the most popular New Yorker cartoons It features two dogs on a computer She says, “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.” The cartoon shows how to speak via Pets play a role in Internet inconsistency or difficulty in ascertaining specific meanings in online communication.

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