So, Grumpy Cat is going to be even more famous. At least, that’s what the Wall Street Journal reported late last week, with the announcement that the perpetually frowning cat has secured "a major motion picture deal."
Hey, I like Tardar Sauce. I really do. And that video where she talks about how she’s really not grumpy is enough to make me melt. But do I think a meme can support a feature-length movie? Eh, nope. Besides, even if this movie manages to get released in six months — which is highly unlikely at best — Grumpy Cat will be a dusty old antique. Six months is centuries in Internet time.
Who’s the genius behind Grumpy Cat’s ascension to cinematic stardom? Why, it’s a talent manager by the name of Ben Lashes of West Hollywood — or is it Benjamin Clark of Portland, Oregon, as the WHOIS information on his domain, aWeirdMovie.com, states?
Okay, so the Wall Street Journal did get the fact that Lashes’ real name is Benjamin Clark, after being called out on the error, but that’s not the only fishy thing about this story.
Lashes describes himself as a meme manager, artist representative, brand manager, and "video concepter," among other things, on his website A Weird Movie, whose motto is: "Specializing in big ideas since forever.” (For values of "forever" that include 2010, the year his domain was registered, I guess.)
Anyway, Lashes apparently became Tardar Sauce’s agent last October, and, according to the WSJ article, is working to help Grumpy Cat’s owners capitalize on the frowning feline’s fame "without overexposing it."
Oh, and guess what else? Lashes also manages Scumbag Steve, Nyan Cat, Keyboard Cat, and several other Internet memes. From his one-bedroom condo.
Between Lashes’ website and the quotes in the Wall Street Journal article, which sound like they came from The Onion — an attorney who "represents the intellectual property rights of the tattoo on former boxer Mike Tyson’s face"? Are you serious right now? — I smell a rat. Or, more accurately, a media hoax.
I’d say that if Ben Lashes really is a talent manager for Internet memes, his real gift is in formulating publicity stunts that are bound to be swallowed by an eager but gullible fame-worshipping public and a media clamoring for anything that will get page views for their websites.
And even if the movie deal is real, the fact that it’s with a production company that released Adam Sandler’s 2011 tour de force of suckitude, Jack and Jill, should tell you something.
About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer, and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their cat advice column, Paws and Effect, since 2003. JaneA dreams of making a great living out of her love for cats.
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