False reports about Hello Kitty’s species

Several segments of the U.S. news media have run reports to the effect that the internationally popular Hello Kitty character is not a cat but a little girl. But the company behind Hello Kitty, Sanrio, has clarified that Hello Kitty is not supposed to be human but is a personified cat, i.e., a cartoon cat that acts like a human but isn’t supposed to be a human.

Apparently the ridiculous false rumor originated with an anthropologist, most likely a cultural anthropologist, since I would expect a physical anthropologist to be able to recognize a dang cat. For some reason the media outlet passing on this drivel didn’t initially bother to check this with the company or with a competent authority, such as this one, who immediately saw through the blatantly obvious nonsense:

Link: http://youtu.be/ia8TApyPhH0

Britain’s Daily Mail managed to get it wrong despite extensively quoting from the authority in the video. Their article even misattributes the rumor to Hello Kitty’s parent company.

Patient Zero in this epidemic of pseudo-journalism was apparently a column in The Los Angeles Times.

Fortunately, a more competent reporter at RocketNews24 actually called the Japanese company to ask, and they confirmed the obvious.

Amazingly, Fox News managed to report the story accurately, even though generally speaking Fox News is neither a fox nor actual news. (I’m not sure what it is, but given the mix of on-screen talent, it’s possibly a sugar daddy dating site.)

An article in The New Yorker has the best summary paragraph, which reads in its entirety: “Hello Kitty is a cat, goddammit.”

Meanwhile Snopes had debunked two other ludicrous false rumors, one claiming that Hello Kitty was the result of a pact with the devil that saved a little girl’s life and the other that Hello Kitty started out as the mascot for a Japanese nuclear power plant.

Finally, to provide equal time for dogs and human acrobats:

Link: http://youtu.be/jND6DIdYPzw

Update: That video appears to be no longer accessible, but what it showed was a kid standing up the bed of a pickup truck parked in a driveway. A happy dog then jumps on the kid, knocking him over the side and causing him to do a cartwheel and land sitting in a lawn chair next to the truck, completely unharmed.

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False reports about Hello Kitty’s species — 2 Comments

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