Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Bonsai Kittens: NOT available since 2001

I had originally meant to post a summary of my last weekend at home, but I just received a chain letter today that describes an evil "Japanese" practice consumed by Chinese, Indonesians, and, oddly, New Zealanders. They speak of boxing kittens in glass boxes to mold their skeletons to the shapes of the glass containers as souvenirs or decorative pieces. The site is called Bonsai Kittens and makes a despicable analogy of this absurdly cruel and time-consuming process of raising a contorted cat in a bottle for pure pleasure with the Japanese hobby of shaping miniature plants through painstaking care and attention. Because I had recently read of there being a new trend where Japanese sell bonsai TREEs in a bottle keychain until they are big enough to be transplanted, I took the time to investigate this sales venture.

I was disappointed with the time spent by the owner of the website (a presumed racist who was attending MIT) to demonize Asians. I was not convinced by the quantity of unconvincing text or pictures, but noticed that the quality of the hoax was diminished greatly by the author's overzealous attempts to make his site shocking and sensational.

I was most disturbed by the amount of people who had falled for the hoax in its most recent incarnation (although the site has remained fairly equally unconvincing since 2001) and the durability these negative stereotypes people sustain that's reflected in believing an absurd and impossible practice merely because it's purportedly undertaken and appreciated by wildly immoral "orientals".

Anyone with the slightest suspicion or belief in a common sense of human dignity that even Asians share would be satisfied by a quick Google search returns many results debunking the hoax, including an appeal by The Humane Society of the United States to deprive the creators of the site their desired negative attention.

A perhaps more telling version of the site (found here)can be found here where it seeks not to sell the kittens but to obtain names and emails of people who fell for the hoax and wanted to know more.

A particularly absurd quote: Months ago, you have masterfully shaped my kitten into a trapezoid; however, now, the 45-degree angle on the tail side is weakining, making her more of a rhombus than anything. Although, I could reinforce the front side with the angular clamps you sell, I'm afraid she might turn out to be a parallelogram. Any tips?
We would be happy to surgically restore the crisp angles to your cherished pet. In fact, you may have forgotten that we provide a lifetime warranty on the shape of your Bonsai Kitten. Please, pack the Kitten into the shipping container that we will send to you via special express, and we will contact you shortly with a time estimate for the repairs.
In addressing the "founder",
Dear Dr. Wong Chang,

First of all, let me express my most sincere appreciation and congratulations for your site. You truly managed to express a poetic balance of ancient tradition, modern art, life and science. I was deeply touched by it.
As this kitten will be a display model, we have chosen to divert to a separate waste tube via Super Glue anus sealing as usual.
Master Liu-Chen's writings repeatedly warn that deep tissue and skeletal damage due to careless cramming is sufficient to disqualify the resulting Bonsai Kitten from the highest levels of the art, and may also result in sub-optimal temperament as the kitten ages.
And, if you're interested, the chainletter followed by about 450 names. Show it.

This is so terrible. A site that we were able to shut last year has returned. We have to try to shut it down again! ( A Japanese man in New York breeds and sells kittens that are called BONSAI CATS. That would sound cute, if it weren't kittens that were put in to little bottles after being given a muscle relaxant and then locked up for The rest of their lives! The cats are fed through a straw and have a small tube for their Faces.The skeleton of the cat will take on the form of the bottle as the kitten grows. The cats never get the opportunity to move. They are used as original and exclusive souvenirs. These are the latest trends in New York, China, Indonesia and New Zealand. If you think you can handle it, view (PLEASE LOOK) and have a look at the methods being used to put these little kittens into bottles.

This petition needs 500 names, so please put yours on it! Copy the text into a new email and put your name on the bottom,then send it to everyone you know!

The names and locations of the signatories were omitted for their privacy.

SOURCES: thefacebook, The Humane Society of the United States

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