I Honestly Don’t Know What to Make of This

ACADEME BLOG

I teach courses in postcolonial literatures and cultures, and I like to think that I have moved largely beyond a self-referential and reductive perception of unfamiliar aspects of other cultures as exotic or bizarre. But then I come across a news item that leaves me wondering whether it is worth my time to wonder what it can possibly mean.

A new fad in Japan involves posing one’s cat on a bed of “rice” and attaching various other food items or garnishes (or even non-culinary props) to the cat before taking a still-life photo of the resulting “Sushi Cat.”

Like many fads (I am thinking of American equivalents such as “dwarf tossing”), this fad seems to straddle the normal distinctions between eccentric whimsy and casual cruelty. The cats look to me like they are expecting at any moment to be spayed or neutered.

What follows are some samples. A fuller portfolio…

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