A Cat Fancy Glossary

As we know, the point of referring to “those guys” as the Cat Fanciers is so we don’t get bogged down in details.  You simply can’t use real names without someone wanting to drag the discussion off into minutiae, the perfidy (or not!) of (((you-know-who))), and so forth.  The historical details of Cat Fancy don’t matter at all for our purposes — understanding how a successful revolutionary movement can be built in an advanced industrial nation —  but since this is the Internet…

But I’m also coming to realize that folks would like to read up on some of the details on their own, track down references, etc.  This is the Internet, yes, but just as not every person on the Internet has an encyclopedic knowledge of Star Trek (just 95% of you), so not every person is 100% up on the historical details of Cat Fancy.  (I’m certainly not — it’s pretty clear Pickle Rick has me beat, and I’m sure he’s not the only one).  So here’s a quick glossary, with links, in case anyone wants to read up on various topics that come up in discussion.

Most of the names come from the comments here.  In (sort-of) order of frequency, updated as needed:

Cat Fanciers — obvious, but please remember that we’re discussing the movement prior to the seizure of power.

Cat Fancy — NOT the official doctrine of the Cat Fanciers.  They had one, and we might have to refer to it later, but those cases will be clearly marked as such.  “Cat Fancy” is the weird techno-retro-futuro utopian dream that emotionally fuels the Cat Fanciers.  The key point to remember: Cat Fancy is almost entirely aesthetic.

Mustache Guy — obvious; the Kitten-in-Chief.

The Nerd — leader of the Black Cat Militia.  The fanciest Cat Fancier of all, the Nerd had the most comprehensive fantasy life, which he tried to make into reality with his Dungeons and Dragons playset and action figures.

Black Cat Militia – the toughest kitties of all, their entrance requirement was the demonstrated willingness to follow any order.  Mortal enemies of the Kitten Patrol.

Kitten Patrol — the street-brawling head-busters that were the public face of Cat Fancy in the early years.  They never went away, but once they’d served their purpose they were ruthlessly suppressed.

Dungeons and Dragons playset — it’s a real place, basically a real-life Castle Wolfenstein, but here it means the really far-out fringes of Cat Fancy.

Rosie — the Cat Fanciers’ official ideologist.  Sneeringly referred to as an “intellectual” — always in quotation marks — he wrote a lot of the Cat Fancy mythology that the Nerd put into practice.

The Dwarf — quite possibly the world’s greatest salesman, the Don Draper of his day (except short, plug ugly, and clubfooted).

Fat Guy — the most impressive of the Cat Fanciers in his youth, a bona fide war hero in the sexiest branch of the military at the time.  By the seizure of power he was a fat, weird, codeine addict, but still a savvy political operator with a fighter pilot’s killer instinct.

Rudy — nowadays, if he’s known at all, it’s for his quixotic “peace mission” (and the devotion to astrology that partly spawned it), but he was an integral part of the state and Mustache Guy’s chief negotiator with industry.  Before the “peace mission,” he was second in line to the throne (behind Fat Guy).

We haven’t mentioned the following yet, but we’ll probably need them soon enough, so….

The Fencer — the Nerd’s second-in-command and the beau ideal of the Black Cat Militia.  Their collective leadership style ensured maximum creativity, maximum efficiency, maximum brutality… and maximum deniability.

The Bureaucrat — seemingly the polar opposite of the Fencer, he was famously banal.  That’s mostly a myth, too — surprise, surprise — but he’s a good stand-in for the kind of guy that’s essential to a functioning revolutionary regime.

Updated as needed…. and what the hell, since we’re at it, a Cat Fancy Annotated Bibliography.  This is the only place we’ll use real names.  Suggestions welcome, but please keep it minutiae-free and aimed at the general reader.

Published Primary Sources in English):

Hitler, Adolf.  Mein Kampf.  There are a million translations, redactions, expurgated versions, unexpurgated versions, etc.  I myself have only browsed around in the damn thing, because it really is as tedious as advertised.  On the other hand, I have browsed around in it, because come on — any book that gets the Smart Set’s universal condemnation as so totally not worth reading has got to have something going for it (remember, these are the people who find profound meaning in Harry Potter).

Goebbels, Josef.  Diaries.  Same as above, but way longer.  And here again, the problem is with the editors — they quite rightly assume you want to read the good stuff and not 10,000 entries on what he had for breakfast, but their definition of “good stuff” probably doesn’t track with ours.

Rosenberg, Alfred.  The Myth of the Twentieth Century.  The Party’s official ideology / mythology.  Apparently as tedious as its inspiration, The Foundations of the 19th Century.  I’ve read neither, but they’re referred to all the time in the secondary literature.  Again, if Our Betters universally assure us they’re not worth reading, there must be something to ’em.

I’m leaving out war memoirs etc., as they’re mostly self-serving (though often very interesting).

Secondary Sources:

Weber, Thomas. Becoming Hitler.  A good intellectual biography of his early years.

Longerich, Peter.  biographies of Goebbels and Himmler.  Both are Teutonically thorough, but as we’re only concerned with the years before 1939….

Arendt, Hannah.  Eichmann in Jerusalem.  Just the actual Eichmann parts – lots of it is a blow-by-blow reconstruction of the Holocaust.

Stangneth, Bettina.  Eichmann before Jerusalem.  Blows up the “banality of evil” thesis.  For our purposes, Eichmann is interesting as a personality type, not a historical figure.

Evans, Richard J.  The Coming of the Third Reich and The Third Reich in Power.

Gellately, Robert.  Backing Hitler.  They knew.

Koonz, Claudia. The Nazi Conscience.  It’s the indoctrination techniques, not the content of the indoctrination, that matters.  If you don’t mind some alcohol poisoning, a fun game is swapping out “Straight White Males” for “Jews.”  Our media, academia, Hollywood, etc. has been doing all this stuff to us for years.

UPDATED suggestions from Pickle Rick:

Padfield, Peter.  Himmler.  PR’s comment: “it also delves into how the SS State was created. Excellent analysis within.”  My comment: It looks like a “psycho-history.”  These got a bad rap within the Biz back in the days.  The stated reason was that they’re inherently subjective, but as you might suspect, that’s not the real reason — History professors, being obnoxious Leftists, are juuuuust fine with subjective ass-pulled speculation, so long as it fits their biases.  No, the real reason is that they were embarrassing — since folks in the other Liberal Arts all think they’re qualified to do History, too, they flooded the market with those “every single significant individual in history was gay!” narratives that made college in the late 80s / early 90s such a joy.  Nowadays, of course, the tremulous sheltered dorks that make up the professoriate couldn’t write a “psycho-history” if they wanted to, having no experience of any other type of human but the egghead.  Padfield’s an amateur, and remember: That’s a compliment more often than not.  Read his evidence; decide for yourself.  If Pickle Rick vouches for it, I’m good with it.

[PS the reviewer comments on this one are hilarious — they’re “psycho-histories” in their own right.  E.g. here: “It is amazing that people still write from a Marxist perspective, that capital is the primary motive of history. According to this book, it was the landed Junkers vs the Capitalist industialist that led the NAZI’s into war and policy formation.”  All [sic] of course.  And this is why both professionals and amateurs tend to be heavy drinkers — it was National <i>Socialism,</i> dude.  There are just two words in “National Socialism,” and both of them are really, really, really important].

Diehl, James M. Paramilitary Politics in Weimar Germany.  Rick’s comment: “A somewhat biased work from the 70s, but really the only scholarly treatment on the subject.”  Me: That it is.  I haven’t read it, as it looks really heavy, but it also looks fascinating.  Amazon has no reviews and sells only used hardbacks (starting at $32), so you’ll probably need a university library (or a local library with a loan arrangement with the local U).

Friedlander, Saul.  Nazi Germany and the Jews: Volume 1: The Years of Persecution 1933-1939.  Friedlander is a big leaguer in the field.  PR says: “it’s integral to understanding how and why a totalitarian party does what it does after seizing power.”

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15 thoughts on “A Cat Fancy Glossary

  1. Kirk Forlatt

    Mag-frikkin’-nificent, sir.

    I just hope my white cap arrives before I get dragged off to the gulag. Some sort of cat pin or sticker affixed to the caps would be a good signal, too.

  2. Pickle Rick

    I’m feeling the love, Severian. Coming from a fellow historian, I’m flattered by the praise. Just to clarify, my knowledge of Cat Fancies is based on academic professional study, not internet fanboy wannabe weirdness.

    I’d add the Peter Padfield bio of Himmler to the list, as it also delves into how the SS State was created. Excellent analysis within.

    A somewhat biased work from the 70s, but really the only scholarly treatment on the subject, is James M. Diehl’s
    “Paramilitary Politics in Weimar Germany”

    Finally, I’d recommend Saul Friedlander’s
    “Nazi Germany and the Jews: Volume 1: The Years of Persecution 1933-1939”- because yes, it’s integral to understanding how and why a totalitarian party does what it does after seizing power.

    1. Severian Post author

      I’m sort of in the same boat – I’m not a Germanist, but I once was a professional…

      [I suppose now would be the time for a brief word for the difference between professionals and amateurs, for those who are interested. It’s a matter of focus — “amateur” is not an insult; “professional” isn’t praise. It’s just different. Amateurs generally know a lot more about the specifics than professionals do, especially on subjects like sailing ships, the American Civil War, and, of course, the Cat Fanciers. I quickly get lost in the alphabet soup of the Kitties’ org chart; amateurs can rattle off the entire command structure of the 4th Volksgrenadier without blinking an eye. Professionals, on the other hand, know a lot more about sources and methods, since that’s what we do (or, in my case, did). And context — mostly context. Ask a professional about the rise of the Cat Fanciers, and he might well start with the Reformation. Ask an amateur, and he’ll give you name rank and serial number of everyone in the Stahlhelm. Both useful, both necessary, but very different focus.

      And, since the focus is different, so are the biases. Consider “National Socialism.” Amateurs — at least the ones on our side of the fence — get enraged when you call the Nazis “right-wing.” It’s National Socialism, duh!!!! But in its context, “right wing” just means “nationalist,” as opposed to explicitly global, workers-of-the-world-unite Bolshevism. It’s National Socialism. That even most professionals tend to confuse “nationalist, anti-Bolshevik” with “any right-wing movement anywhere” with “the Republican Party” with “Donald Trump” is a result of knee-jerk virtue signaling, not anything they learned in grad school. They know better, but since when has knowing stuff ever been the point of being a professor?]

      1. Pickle Rick

        Smashing. Professional vs amateur also shows up when we see the doofuses on our side of the fence insisting the “Democrats are the real racists” because of 1860 and Dinesh D’Souza, who knows jack and shit about history. And anyone who calls it “The War Between the States” here shall be metaphorically beaten with a 2×4.

          1. Pickle Rick

            And this one is on top of my “next big ass book to devour in the winter” list, after the Harley gets put in hibernation. Evans (whose trilogy I, like you, cannot recommend enough for laymen as the necessary starting works) wrote a glowing review of it. You have to have a solid handle on how the Hohenzollerns collapsed and how the events shaped all the factions jockeying for power when Mustache Guy and his crew were all unknowns. Of course, that has to lead you to how the Russian revolution played out, because that’s the template everyone is looking to as a playbook.

  3. TBoone

    Two comments from the peanut gallery. Well perhaps 3. Time stamp on comment is wacky. Unless your Furr-er Kitten Bunker Lair is middle Atlantic IslandY?

    You guys are far more experienced in this (and many other) historical periods. Not That That Is Intimidating… well perhaps a little….

    My main point to add, in thinking about the many posts on ‘what to do to move/improve Our Thing’… is the insight that we are beginning. Online discussions are a productive place to begin. I am not opposed to the WhTPatHat of nuance meeting idea but as an outgrowth perhaps of this ongoing type of forum? (I am an aged Senior near a couple of Midwestern Colleges… I never thought this would happen to me…) Begin to post/network/ blind date meetup in our ‘areas’ and so forth.

    Many of us read Zman. When he went ‘dark’ for that couple hours last week, I realized that sort of thing would be an “enough” type of moment. Personal, enough, to motivate interest/participation in um cat fancy knowledge gathering. Like….

    Long winded way to support the ongoing effort. Trying to see more the overall goal/big picture as opposed to the kitty litter. I think the Fanciers would have somehow leverage the InnerWebs if’n they’d a had ’em…

    1. Severian

      I think that has happened to all of us — pardon the language, but there’s no other way to express it, the “what the FUCK?!?” moment when we wondered just how the hell it had come to this. To the point where we accept that the USA is kaput, and are trying to devise survival strategies to mitigate the collapse’s damage.

      How the hell did this happen? I remember nice, safe, prosperous, White America. It wasn’t that long ago. It was nice. Even the minorities back then thought it was nice (it’d be fascinating to get the perspective of, say, a 50 year old middle class Black man right about now. Yes, back in the days you’d still see a Stepin Fetchit character on tv, and that sucked, but would you argue that anyone, of any race, is better off now than then? Back then the White stereotype of Blacks was “kinda dumb, but cool;” the Black stereotype of Whites was “nerdy but dependable.” Nowadays we’re practically threatening to slit each others’ throats).

      It kills me. I almost start crying if I browse through old tv shows on YouTube. Even silly fluff looks like it was made on Mars, so remote is that nice safe prosperous world. And yet… I was there. What the hell did we do?

      1. Rod1963

        “What the hell did we do?”

        In the most simplistic term. We were too nice. I remember one Filipino nurse talking to me about the Islamic problem. She flat out stated we were too nice to our enemies. Now this was coming from a woman, whose family had a M-16 to fend off Muslims.

        Our being too nice gave us Affirmative Action and every evil associated with it. The Great Society was another feel good Faustian pact that blew up in our faces and drained the treasury of trillions. It destroyed our cities and turned them into hives for angry foreigners and rabid blacks.

        Our public education once the source of pride became a disaster thanks to desegregation and our failure to openly state that not everyone is equal, far from it. Not everyone is fit college or even capable of graduating from a high school with solid standards . Many shouldn’t even be a in public school.

        We were too nice to tell parents of mentally disabled kids “sorry, junior is unfit for schooling, he has the IQ of a moron, he needs to stay home”. Instead we let a bunch of druids in robes decide this to our detriment.

        Instead of slamming our first down on those closet gangsters and Marxists we call Democrats, we played footsie with them instead of beating their leaders bloody and now they control most of the establishment and we’re going “WTF?”

        In all these things and more we refused to speak and say “No more”. We just ran until we have run out of places to flee the shit our fathers started. We didn’t want to be mean and say to the pols “knock this shit off or we’ll knock your blocks off”. Maybe if we made a few activists pols and legal beagals do a high dive off a skyscraper or they found their homes burnt down, they’d have stopped the shit. It was really clear even back in ’68 the elite don’t listen to us. They rigged the voting system so only their people got in.

        They only listen to people who can f**k them up.

  4. Kirk Forlatt

    Well said, my friend. Like you, I shake my head in horror and amazement at how far and how fast it’s all fallen.

    I would be very interested to hear your (and the other Readers’) thoughts on what we’re going to do when the interwebz gets yanked in such a way as to almost shut down our ability to use it. Solzhenitsyen and other Russians used samizdat…I’ve thought long and hard about this, and haven’t the first clue of how we would construct and utilize our own samizdat-type communication. I am 99.9% sure that I am the dimmest diode among your readership (certainly the least educated!), so I am likely far behind the thoughts and strategery of the rest of you gents. How many of us have ham radio licenses? What are other alternatives? Perhaps we should discuss such things in person if and when some of us ever take that step and have a meet-up. Hypothetically, of course, and I’m completely against anything like that, for the record. Because Murrica.

  5. TBoone

    To continue my/our rant…

    I’m of a similar age/experience. Juts in the realm of what used to be funny/acceptable…. Sheesh… Blazing Saddles is one of my favorite movies. You could Not make that movie today. Society has been so overly feminized & infantisized. Morals? Hah… Education? Please… There has been a relentless undermining of what were standards by belligerent, whiny, self-absorbed savages who are only capable of destruction. Not even a whiff of a hint of ‘creating’ anything. Let alone anything useful.

    What do guys into ‘our thing’ do to work around the tyranny of the tiny? Small minds who seek to control everything?

    The InnerWebs are useful because it allows a further reach/access than we’d otherwise have. To state the obvious. It’s easy to get spoiled by the riches available. The ‘environment’ will be more fluid moving forward. As in less stable. Cat (as in actual animal) & mouse. (Not as in Mickey). Zman also uses Gab. I was in the process of signing up, when his ‘lights’ came back on… I will do so soon. Multiple outlets. Multiple points of contact…

    Vladimir Bukovsky wrote To Build a Castle. MY Life as a Dissenter. His life coming of age at the death of Stalin. Amazing book. Amazing story. Been awhile since I read it… They had networks…. cell structures… most of which was local… And he did time in prisons. As in multiple… Even Psych hospitals… Look up Sluggish Schizophrenia…

    Our Thing needs networks. Means of communication. Backup means. We are a ways away from being sent to prison for UnBeliefs. I hope…

    Ham Radio is one idea…. like minded associations…. I myself know people who attend such things as Conservation Clubs. Shoot Trap & Skeet.

    Have heard there are old people there. And a goodly portion of Yahoos. But perhaps like minded folks….

    The Web won’t go away. We will always have to adapt to the latest & greatest RulZ! & Regs…. We can do that…. We will do that…

    I keep coming around to Severian’s place, amongst a host of others being a starting point. We have these discussions. We begin to network. Maybe use such sites as an introduction to/test of ‘prospects’… And learn from one another…

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