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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Uncle Sam Wants You... To Check Out Nancy Pelosi's Adorable Cats!

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 12:22 PM

click to enlarge New media maven?
  • New media maven?
Several years ago, an episode of the satirical cartoon South Park poked fun at the dumbing-down of network news with a parable of the modern television viewer's tastes: The most popular program on a fictional elementary school's amateur TV station was, it turned out, looped videos of dogs wearing funny hats. As usual, the geniuses behind this show had something to teach us -- and in this case, it appears, the third-ranking leader in the U.S. government was listening.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is drawing lots of attention -- and some scathing attacks -- for a video posted on a YouTube site devoted to members of Congress. The "Capitol Cat Cam" spot, just over a minute long, offers a look at the speaker's office through the eyes of her two cats. Among the shots are a close-up of one kitty nudging Pelosi's gavel and a wistful view of the cats staring out her office window across the district.

Oh yeah, and halfway through the clip, disco music starts playing.

Sounds harmless enough, right? But in a Politico story published yesterday, Andrew Rasiej of the Personal Democracy Forum rails against Pelosi and other members of Congress for their frivolous and un-hip ventures into the world of new media. The UK Telegraph, which picked up the story, called Pelosi's video "bizarre."

Staffers at Pelosi's D.C. office say such criticisms are missing the point of Capitol Cat Cam, which was intended as a lighthearted effort to lure viewers to the speaker's site. "The idea of the Cat Cam was to be different, and to attract attention to our site, and it did that," said Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly. He added that lots of heavier fare can be found among Pelosi's 1,500 other online videos. Today, for example, viewers can tune in to Congressional hearings on failed insurance giant A.I.G.

Fair enough. But it's safe to say that when it comes to the rebirth of cool, Pelosi still has a thing or two to learn from President Obama.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Pelosi's office.

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Peter Jamison


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