15 July 2008


Who are those fuzzy brown rectangular monsters chasing the kitten?

ETech 2006 (Monday) at Flickr.comOne of the classic Internet meme images is the blocky stuffed monsters chasing a tiny cat. (The associated tagline is "Every time you masturbate, God kills a kitten.") I didn't know the origins of the image, or who the monsters were, so at a low level I wondered about it—but not enough to look it up.

Then Tod asked, in frustration, "What IS this anyway?" Since I was already in bed with chemo side effects without the motivation to do much else, that got me rolling. It didn't take much to find out, and inevitably the best explanation was at Wikipedia:

Domo is the mascot of Japan's NHK television station, appearing in several 30 second stop-motion sketches shown as station identification during shows. [...]

[Domo-kun is] described as 'a strange creature that hatched from an egg.' Domo's favorite food is Japanese-style meat and potato stew, and he has a strong dislike for apples, due to an unexplained mystery in his DNA. Domo-kun is known to pass gas repeatedly when nervous or upset. [...]

The popularization of Domo as an internet meme and cliche outside of Japan is often attributed to a Fark thread from July 28th, 2001. The thread became popular on the then-young site, prompted in part by its serendipitous ID number of 31337. From there, Fark users began using the image and likeness of the character in various image contests and as additional, humorous banter in threads.

Alas, most images in the thread are now broken, so Google Images and Flickr to the rescue.

In other words, it's one of those semi-fluky Internet memes that no one could possibly have predicted. But the meme-launching "Domo-kuns chasing the kitten" photo has just the right combination of cute and "blurry '70s Sasquatch documentary" creepy for me that, in a way, it needs no explanation.

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I remember when I first saw the photo (with just the kitten, no domo-kuns), because I'd just put my cat down (previous one to current) that day, and then I got the email "when you masturbate, God kills a kitten". I wrote a very angry email back to the person who sent it. Really I should've just blamed my cat's death on his self-pleasuring.