There's a bit less smiling going on these days, and it seems our taste for cuteness has also gone sour.
Fluffy and playful, the internet's LOLCats spent the holidays posing for staged photos on the living room floor, mangling toilet paper rolls and the English language. Now copies of the doe-eyed holiday book "I Can Haz Cheeseburger" fills Borders bargain-bin at $1.98 begging you to it home.
Stocks are down, and we're taking it out on the kitty. Enter "Fuck You, Penguin". A site that unleashes accusatory vitriol on animals we used to think were cute.
Gazelles are "desperate for affection", the endangered booby a "blue-footed sleaze", and "overhyped" cranes are "the mortgage-backed securities of the animal world". In general these animals all conspire to use mindless cuteness to annoy and endanger humans "hop by excruciating hop."
The creator of the site, a Boston writer who goes by the name of bza, tells me he is under contract to Random House to produce a "F*** You, Penguin" book, using mostly material from the web site, for publication in Fall 2009. If two points make a line, then Cute Overload makes it a trend. Cute Overload tries to be sick of fluffy kitties, F-U-P succeeds -- and is much funnier.
Both sites are becoming hugely popular. As of today, F-U Penguin has 11,700 fans on Facebook, about 5000 Twitter followers, and shows strong page visit growth in Alexa.
Look for the book to be a recession best-seller this Christmas.