L.One week since the nation was struck by local council fever, having to write a sentence that felt shamefully British, another zoom-based viral video hit the internet. This time it is Presidio, Texas and the meeting in question is a trial, reportedly for a man who tried to leave the US with smuggled money. It caught the world when the presiding judge posted an excerpt from the online trial on the case: “If a child has used your computer before attending a virtual hearing, check the Zoom video options to make sure.” the filters are deactivated. ”
The video, perfect 40 seconds, shows three lawyers who are about to begin the proceedings. However, one of these lawyers is not like the others. One of those lawyers, who appears to be called Rod Ponton, is a cat.
It’s not the first time that unusual video calling software users have been stricken with filters. There was also the Italian priest broadcasting mass live while his phone ran through filters that made him a boxer, wizard, and wolf, among other things. If God willing, it won’t be the last either.
Just like with the priest, here the joy comes from the dissonance between the absurdity of the picture and the seriousness of the surroundings. There are few cases that are inherently more serious than a trial. Lives can hang in the balance. And yet, in this gloomy environment, a CGI cat appeared with huge eyes that were close to tears and a small mouth that moved plaintively.
So: The call begins and instead of seeing three lawyers, the participants are presented with two lawyers and a kitten. There is a moment of understandable silence. When Judge Ponton suggests that he might have a filter, one of the non-cat attorneys known by the name “Gibbs” puts on his glasses and leans over to confirm that he was indeed dealing with a cat zooms in tomorrow.
Then Ponton speaks for the first time. This utterance is a real treat. It’s not a word, but a high-pitched, trembling groan, a sound so utterly guilty and panic-stricken that one might suspect it was the sound of a man unexpectedly presenting himself as a small animal in court, even if you were to Couldn’t see screen. The cat’s eyes dart around like a pontoon, invisible, desperately looking for a way to recapture human form. An expression on his little face says nothing more than: “Help, I’m a lawyer trapped in the digital body of a kitten. “
Ponton explains that his assistant is trying to help him turn the filter off, then says something whose heroism is almost unbearable: “I’m ready to move on.” The situation is so serious that he is ready to act on his Would forgo and continue the procedure, which can take several hours, even if he has to present himself as a kitten all the time. This is quickly followed by the fantastic humiliation that Ponton must expressly tell the judge that he is “not a cat”.
The judge replies, “I can see this,” but of course he can’t do that. The video evokes the existence of Attorney Cat, the tireless defender of justice and adorable little gentleman. Lawyer Cat’s existence, of course, implies the existence of an entirely feline judicial system that just exists out of sight beneath the surface of the world we believe we know: you can see the small cat prisons, the cat police, and a kitten all rolled into one A suit with an undone tie, sitting at a kitchen table late at night, surrounded by Chinese snack boxes and folders full of filings and heavy tort law books, wiped a paw over his furrowed brow and said softly, “Damn.”
Whenever something goes viral, people seem to want it to mean something. I could analyze this video for deeper lessons that it needs to convey. I could write about “What the lawyer cat tells us about the fifteen microseconds of fame in the libidinal meme economy under lockdown and also about capitalism” or “What we learn from the lawyer cat about the incomplete enlargement of legal proceedings”. I might even get into the lightning-fast pace at which unsavory allegations have surfaced about Rod Ponton’s past, writing about the effects of sudden fame.
I’m not going to. You have my personal guarantee that you will not learn anything while watching the video. What does Lawyer Cat tell us about ourselves? Nearly nothing. It’s just very, very funny.
• Imogen West-Knights is a writer and journalist based in London