For months now, scarcely a day has gone by without a new Tard the Grumpy Cat meme appearing on our Facebook walls. Tard's strident dedication to misanthropy has struck a chord with many, many people around the world. Her Facebook page has over 90,000 followers.
The fun thing about Tard in the beginning was that she was completely impartial in her choice of targets. Anyone could be a target for a new meme - the happier, the better. There were no real views - just a blanket ban on cheerfulness.
However, that dedication to impartiality was shattered yesterday when the owners of the page posted a picture of Tard, in which the kitty KOs control on firearms magazines with a simple 'No'.
Funny? I didn't think so, but there have been some very unfunny Tard memes before. It was the caption accompanying the meme that shifted the whole situation on its axis:
'Tard is a very good kitty for wanting to uphold the Constitution'.
So now, apparently, Tard is a political animal. And it leaves one to wonder whether the owners of the page have shot themselves in the foot with this one.
They insisted it was a joke and people shouldn't take it seriously. But outrage followed - people started to leave the page. One sample complaint: 'I came to Tard's page to get away from politics - that was one of the great things about her. I have no choice but to leave the page, on principle.'
Of course, for every pro-gun control supporter, there are many more pro-gun activists, so i don't suppose Tard has to worry that much about losing page likes. But one has to question the wisdom of politicising the page... and even at a base level, of making a joke about an issue so divisive, so sensitive, whatever your political standpoint is.
And what about your international following? Europeans especially, with our capacity to stand aside and see the gun control issue for what it really is - and give equal weight, and patience to both sides of the argument.
The owners of the page, it seems, have been utterly unprepared for the torrent of outrage they have received, accusing people of 'whining', and complaining about the amount of swearing that has been posted to the wall in response to the meme. But how could you post a controversial opinion, and then not expect people to respond?