Luke Niebler

Animal Magnetism.

Luke Niebler

Q: Rabbit vs Ferret Vs Fancy Rat? 

Which one is the best pet?

 

A: To begin with, we must perform an economic analysis of the “pet.” We seem to accept that animals live with us as affectionate companions rather than as competition for resources, however, that would go against our understanding of much of human history. Like all cultural practice, they reflect the true economic conditions.

 

While we certainly see attachments form between humans and animals throughout recorded history, they primarily acted as workers, destroying pests, hunting birds, carrying loads, and transporting “humans.” The role of animals in society follows its pattern, a superstructural reflection of the base: unbound in a nomadic society, fenced in an agrarian economy, wild in a hunter-gatherer economy, etc. The question then becomes what is the genealogy of the current “pet”?

 

The pet is an act of conspicuous consumption that belies a superficial indentity alliance, following Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class. Living in the simulacrum of late capitalism, visual consumption is paramount in order to indicate status and even be said to exist. The surface image—composed of branded products and socially aligned signifiers—supplants the individual’s identity. We can see the pet gaining superiority as an identity signifier in Paris Hilton’s conspicuous purse cur, the Obamas’ Bo, or even Grumpy Cat. We displace our identities onto animal proxies,

 

Since you wish to consume conspicuously, a “Fancy Rat” is the obvious choice. Dress it in tiny top hats and start an instagram account to show the world just how fancy he is.