By Jonathon Van Maren
A couple of months back, I was told that in an Ontario public school (which I will not name), there was a student identifying as a cat—and the teachers were going along with it. At the time, I thought it must be a joke. Sure, there’s been the occasional story of people identifying as aliens or animals or whatever—but they don’t get taken very seriously, and the practicality of affirming a students’ feline identity seems untenable (litter boxes?). But apparently I have yet to learn the primary principle of our post-Christian age: Things can always get stupider.
According to the Daily Mail, in Melbourne, Australia, there is a teenage girl who identifies as cat. The private school she attends is affirming the girl’s “animal behavior,” and apparently the staff even cooperates with her refusal to speak during her day at school. An Australian newspaper described her as “phenomenally bright,” and a source who knows the family told the Herald Sun that: “No one seems to have a protocol for students identifying as animals, but the approach has been that if it doesn’t disrupt the school, everyone is being supportive.”
This stuff actually makes one’s brain hurt. Are we so detached from reality that we need protocols to deal with a teenager who says she’s a cat? We can’t simply just say “seriously, smarten up” and call a psychiatrist if they appear genuinely believe what they’re saying? To give credence to a teenage girl’s demand that people recognize her as a cat renders the very English language devoid of all discernible meaning.