Blog Post

The Beckoning Cat

Cathy Davidson's picture

It started innocently enough, with a desire to come up with a clever name for my HASTAC blog. I wanted to play off the "haystack" since not everyone knows (silly folks, they) that H-A-S-T-A-C is supposed to be pronounced "Haystack." Yeah, right. Our newsletter (which we will be resurrecting to designate all the online colaborative features on the HASTAC site) is "needle." Get it? Needle in the HASTAC (I mean, haystack). So I thought, since I'm the most regular and obsessive blogger on the HASTAC/Haystack site, I should play off that imagery too. My nickname, for most of my childhood, was "Cat" and there are still a few folks around who call me that. Cat in the Hat. Stack the Cats (a hilarious game). Stuff on my Cat (great website). Lolcats (goofy cats). Lots to work with. Too much, actually. When I decided on "Cat in the Stack" (haystack, library stacks, whatever--and, yes, the lewd permutations are endless), searching for "cat images" on the web turned up the most terminal cuteness ever. People really, really are into cats. Really. I decided, at least for today, to put up Maneki Neko, to commemorate my time in Japan and continuing fascination with that country. I'm in a playful mood today (can't you tell by the diction in this blog? not a single "hegemonic") . . . so won't even lecture you on the Beckoning Cat's materialistic meaning. The Beckoning Cat looks, to Westerners, like he is waving good bye. But actually, in Japan, that is a gesture that means "Welcome," "come hither." Statues of Maneki Neko sit in the entry way of shops, coffee houses, Pachinko parlors, stores, and other businesses all over Japan. "Welcome," he says, and, also, "give us your money." It's all about commercial exchange, but what business isn't? This cute little critter also promises good luck and good fortune. It's Friday and the sun is shining and I'm heading to the beach this afternoon. May you have a great weekend too. Maybe next week, I'll put up Hello, Kitty, or Doraemon, or Meowth (from Pokemon), or even a Kitler. It's amazing what people do with their cats and then put up for all of us to see on YouTube or Flickr. Stay tuned for more cats in this ol hastac.



Terrific that you're blogging! A welcome, exciting addition to the blogosphere!


Tyler Curtain

Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


LOLcats are indeed so prevalent on the internet that they are "tagged for your convenience" at even if its only purpose is to make it easier to find the ones that amuse you. Shows that tagging is at least very well embedded in our online experience.