Seeing Myself Through a Cat’s Eyes


Good morning, John, it’s Wednesday… What am I doing here? It’s Wednesday, that’s not how this works. It’s weird! Okay, it’s gonna get weirder. John, you know that I love documentary films, and I know that you do, because we’re nerds. But I think they have a problem, because we’re busy. Not just with work and stuff, but with all the distractions that– I’m gesturing toward my computer right now. There’s a giant crisis looming around every corner, and if we don’t want to look at that, and we want to look at, like, cute or funny stuff, there’s always a place to go look for that. And you can do that really fast, and have, like, a 15-second thing, or a 15-minute thing and documentaries, though… they’re long. They’re often much more slowly paced than a lot of our media these days, which is, like, “AHHH, I gotta be doing stuff, all the time”. Even if it is, like, a really efficient way to learn something, we don’t feel like it is? But they’re one of the most effective tools for giving us insight into our humanity, and into the lives of other people or other animals. Documentary film is fantastic, but more and more I feel like there isn’t a good place for it. There’s not a good, like, “okay it’s time now to have this kind of experience”. Which is why we were pretty excited when YouTube Red came to us and were like “we have this idea…” They had recently acquired the rights to this new award-winning documentary that everybody’s talking about and they wanted to make it available to YouTube Red subscribers. But YouTube is weird; it’s a bunch of channels that already exist, you can’t just create a new channel every time you have a new documentary. So they asked us to watch the documentary, which we did and we both loved it, and then if we did like it, maybe we could talk about it on the vlogbrothers channel, and then upload it here, for YouTube Red subscribers. Now I am aware that not everybody has YouTube Red or can get YouTube Red, though there is a free trial available right now. It’s only available in some countries, and not everybody has ten bucks a month to spare: I understand that. But if you do, the film is either now available, or will very shortly be available on the Vlogbrothers channel. It’s really good, it’s got like a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s…it’s a good thing. It’s a movie about street cats in Istanbul. It turns out that Istanbul has a really interesting relationship with its cats. They’re cared for by the humans of Istanbul, but they don’t tend to be owned by any one person. Ah, look, I’m a cat person. There’s something magical about them. And there’s something appropriate about how this movie, ‘Kedi’, asks us to slow down a little bit, and be okay just spending a little bit of time, watching pretty pictures and compelling stories about the lives of these cats. Because that’s one of the great services that cats provide: They get in your way. They say “Hey, stop what you’re doing. Me! I’m beautiful! And soft! Stop with the computer-staring and give me some chin-scratches”. They lead by example, showing us that it is okay to sometimes, just– exist. And that is what this film, which Variety called “quietly magical”, asks of us. To just exist for a little while. I was able to spend a little bit of time talking to the makers of this film, Ceyda Torun and Charlie Wuppermann, and Ceyda said something in that chat that I thought was really lovely and poignant: that the relationship between people and cats is one of the only relationships with another species that people don’t dominate. Cats exist with people of their own accord, y’know? And looking at myself through a cat’s eyes gives me a perspective that I think is really hard to find other ways, and I think that it’s really well discovered and shared in this movie. I hope that everybody who can will join me in watching this film. John, you will see me for my regularly scheduled video on Friday.

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