14:49, March 06 110 0

2017-03-06 14:49:06

 

Is Garfield a boy or a girl?

With the world in such disarray, it’s hard to imagine grown, mature adults devoting time and energy engaging in an online feud over whether a cartoon cat is male, female or gender-fluid.

But one thing you can always count on the internet to do is provide distractions from real world problems. So here we are: a Wikipedia war over Garfield, the fat cat who since 1978 has made laziness a virtue, sarcasm a skill and encouraged fictitious feline mayhem against dimwitted dogs and unctuous owners.

As the Washington Post reported (yes, that Washington Post; apparently Woodward and Bernstein were unavailable), there are numerous examples to support the idea that Garfield is a male cat.

The cartoon hit the big time in 2004 when Garfield was transformed into an animated film, with actor Bill Murray voicing the fat cat, after a long-running TV series and many, many DVDs.

And yet, a two-year-old interview with Garfield’s creator has thrown all that into question. Cartoonist Jim Davis briefly mentioned gender as part of a wide-ranging Q&A, revealing that the comic strip is set in Muncie, Ind., among other things.

“Garfield is very universal,” Davis told Mental Floss. “By virtue of being a cat, really, he’s not really male or female or any particular race or nationality, young or old.”

Writer Virgil Texas unearthed this quote last month and, in what the Post suggested was a combination of trolling and trouble-making, he edited the Wikipedia page to reflect that Garfield’s gender is “none.” As some subsequently pointed out, he disregarded the fact Davis himself used the pronoun “he” in his revelation.

Texas then lit the fuse by announcing the change on Twitter.

It’s Twitter, so you can imagine what happened next. As the Post reported, one of Wikipedia’s editors changed Garfield’s gender back to male less than an hour later.

A minute later, a user in the Philippines changed the cartoon cat’s gender back to “none,” and the Wikipedia war of the edits was born. Garfield was alternatingly designated male, female, gender-fluid and, inexplicably Muslim until an administrator locked the page.

Before the lockdown, conservatives looking for a new and interesting way to make progressives look bad seized upon the controversy and lambasted the editors for their “political correctness.”


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