“Don’t F**k with Cats” Exposes a Peculiar Double Standard of Cyber Justice
It was one of the most upsetting documentaries I’ve ever seen, and not just because of the heinous crimes.
This article contains spoilers.
The spectacle of the grotesque and good old-fashioned shock-value have been the bedrock of true crime documentaries, and as this decade comes to a close Netflix’s limited series Don’t F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer has all the above in spades. The documentary revolves around the horrific murder of Jun Lin and closely profiles his narcissistic, intelligent, fame-obsessed murderer Luka Magnotta who first gained a low-level of notoriety when he anonymously uploaded videos harming kittens.
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The main storytellers of the series are Deanna “Baudi Moovan” Thompson and “John Green”, two tech-savvy cyber vigilantes who dedicated eighteen months of their lives following every lead that popped up to locate Magnotta and report him to the proper authorities. The title of the series is explained by Thompson, who asserted that even though the Internet is a lawless land where anything goes, there is one rule. Thompson describes it as Rule Zero, that you don’t fuck with cats. And in many ways, this completely makes sense. Cats have always had an important role in meme culture and the popularity of the internet in general. From NyanCat, to Grumpy Cat, to the tens of thousands of funny cat pictures and videos circulating, we have been using cats’ stoic and lovably erratic nature as a canvass to project our emotions onto for much of the internet’s existence. However as I continued to watch the series, an unsettling feeling creeped up from the pit of my stomach. It definitely came from the unfortunate fate of Jun Lin and the intimate look into a clearly disturbed individual, but a hefty portion of the lump in my throat came from the series itself, and what it revealed about our capacity to care.
Seeing the visceral reaction reaction people had to the animal abuse videos, viewing how effectively and diligently so many strangers galvanized to conduct an…