Day 11. 56 pages, 25,346 words.
I’d originally intended to ask this as a comment in the relevant place (and I sort of did, on some level), but then I figured I’d make it into a blog post here instead.
This may seem self-serving – and it is, in that it is a post for this blog and all that. But I’ve come to realise that extended comments threads aren’t really as effective an attention-grabber as a straight-up link reference such as I am making here. So, what the heck. I’ll do my part, in my own modest way, to point people towards a cool developing story that a friend of mine is creating.
I’m talking, of course, about the Good Cat / Bad Cat Protocol. I do blog posts about books and movies and comics and news stories and all sorts of stuff, so why not a webcomic?
See, Good Cat / Bad Cat Protocol is a webcomic about the battle between good and evil, and the cats that secretly – and indeed not so secretly – guide the actions of humanity, and possibly much more. There’s a big unspoken backstory that we’re only just beginning to see, which makes it even more interesting. And there are some intriguing characters. And it’s got kitties, a commodity the Internet is running dangerously low on.
A little while ago, there was a semi-sidebar drawing in the series. I do like how Cat Protocol – for so her nickname seems to have become on this blog – makes little current-events bonus releases when something special happens. It’s usually something tragic, but that’s just what the world’s like.
In this case, there was murder and mayhem on the news and the cats (the former Head Cats) were watching. They had a sad little exchange about the evil deeds of humans, but established quite clearly that this was not the work of evil cattery, but of pure human stupidity. This, I thought, raised a very interesting philosophical point.
If human atrocities are the result of our own ignorance, fear and stupidity rather than the orchestration of the Good and Evil forces of GoodEvil Inc., then what does qualify as an evil committed by the Head Cat of Evil and her underlings? What’s their game?
Obviously, there’s a risk in taking the Cat Protocol struggle between good and evil out of the fictional kittyverse and bringing real-world events into it. Incorporating true, heartbreaking human tragedy into a clever, entertaining story about cats secretly ruling the world is a dicey proposition. It changes the game. And you have to be very, very careful to make “this bloody massacre was all according to the plans of this adorable fuzzy cat and her quirky minions” into a witty and faithful statement rather than a crass appropriation of a horrible tragedy. And Cat Protocol manages that very well.
 Okay, Milady didn’t look particularly fuzzy, but the current Head Cat of Evil is fuzzy. Under the armour.
So I understand some of the difficulties Cat Protocol must have faced. The need to express sorrow using this unique creative platform? Absolutely, that’s perfectly justified and an excellent use of art – indeed, a classic and celebrated use of art. But what it does to the story, perhaps accidentally but perhaps quite intentionally, is interesting.
So human stupidity is a force outside both good and evil, and yet creates atrocities and horror that most people would lay squarely at evil’s paws, should they know about it. This is the age-old question of nature being hideously cruel despite being devoid of higher morality, and I’ve struggled with it myself. Humans have a concept of good and evil, and compartmentalise the murder of lion cubs by a new dominant male as “evil” and the lifelong partnership of the albatross as “good”, but the truth is, we’re anthropomorphising things that are just dumb nature. And nature, in the brilliant words of Futurama, is horrific, and teaches us nothing.
We label our own actions according to an overdeveloped social sense that stems from our cooperative-primate origins. There’s a lot of common sense to being “good”, but also a brutal self-serving pragmatism to being “evil”. And when we short-circuit our animal instincts, as humans do all the time, the result is often tragic, blood-soaked stupidity.
Which takes us back to the cats.
Is there a third column in the Protocols (aside from the Associates)? Is there an axis of stupidity in the GoodEvil Inc. charter? If not, and if evil is not responsible for these human acts of hatred and warfare and death, what is evil actually doing in the kittyverse?
This is what I wonder, when I see Cat Protocol philosophising. I don’t want to overthink it, but the truth is, why else do we blog?
Overthinking is what separates us from the rest of the animals.