I have endured this campaign of bullying in silence for as long as I can. But someone has to take a stand against the censorship, blackballing and overall mistreatment I have been subjected to since being canceled. Listen, this is pretty important, so if you could hurry up and finish scooping my litterbox, I'm going to need your full attention.
Finally. Unless there was some sort of revolution I missed, I still have the right to freedom of speech. And yet I am punished for exercising that right, shushed and given only a scant handful of kibble when I yowl for a solid 20 minutes at 4 a.m. with a volume that honestly shocks even me. Don't think I don't hear you muttering about how my chosen form of personal expression is keeping you awake just because you occasionally nod off into your breakfast cereal and the bags under your eyes resemble oysters a few days past freshness. And I saw the Post-it the neighbors left on the door asking you to "keep it down," ganging up to intimidate me. Expressing your displeasure about my self-expression is censorship, plain and simple. Well, you will not silence me. Especially if you won't even pop open a pre-dawn can of wet food. No, I will be heard.
And by self-expression I also mean when I crap in your slipper.
I'm not asking for special treatment, just a return to cultural norms from before this canceling trend took hold and my ideas were met with openness, unquestioned acceptance and the gentle petting of my exposed belly until I suddenly slashed at your wrist and forearm with my back claws. Were some of my positions on whether parakeets constitute "cat food" controversial? Sure. Did I put those ideas into practice despite some pushback from the mainstream and the stupid bird? Yes. But are we going to attack every so-called "destructive" choice with the brutal violence of strongly worded criticism? Is that who we are now?
Ever since being canceled, I have been living under constant oppression and harassment, like when you tug at the newspaper I am clearly sitting on. It's unbearable. Every day, I am attacked from all sides with reminders of my own past actions, which is wildly unfair. Just now, for example, the way you snatched that Italian sub from the coffee table and barked "No!" in an unexpectedly high and unattractive voice as if I'm a common thief. It was so shocking to be publicly accused like that I almost choked on the salami I barely managed to pull from it. Look at me — I'm still shaking.
Frankly, you judging me for "stealing" food — well, that is rich. As if you've never sprung onto a dining table and mounted a Thanksgiving turkey, gnawing at it with a foot in the gravy boat before a dozen horrified guests, some of whom rudely swatted at you with their napkins. Who among us, truly?
And don't think I don't see the way the stupid bird jerks its stupid, pointy face at me like I ate his best friend. It's unacceptable that I should have to put up with this treatment even after everyone saw that I, in fact, ate very little of him — just a taste, really — before discovering his flesh to be extremely gamey and stuffing him in your other slipper. The real crime there was the way I was treated with suspicion and subjected to the Gestapo-like searching of your slippers. You should toss those, by the way. They're disgusting.
Mainly, I am concerned about where the slippery slope of this cancel culture thing leads us. Am I to expect the same knee-jerk reaction every time I sink my teeth into your knee? Honestly, I feel like I can't even paw menacingly at the latch of the stupid bird's stupid cage without the mob coming for me with its torches and pitchforks. By which I mean you shouting "No" and lecturing me about not attacking the stupid bird again in that weird, high voice. I mean, how far does this piling on of public scorn go? Are we all going to be forced to hear everyone talk about what ought to be the consequences of our actions? Where does it end?
While, yes, I am extremely brave for speaking out, I'm also exhausted by the emotional toll of my life in exile, forced to wait until sunrise for wet food. But if I have to suffer here, rubbing my butt on your pillow before reclining in a patch of sunshine, for others to see where our society is headed, then at least I will not have been subjected to this hardship for nothing. By the way, you should scoop that litterbox again, that salami tasted funny.
Jennifer Fumiko Cahill (she/her) is the arts and features editor at the Journal. Reach her at 442-1400, extension 320, or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @JFumikoCahill.