If you find yourself with some time on your hands and you are a little curious about how fairy tales were spun prior to Disney, pick up a copy of Robert Darnton’s The Great Cat Massacre and Other Stories in French Cultural History.While its age might show a bit (it was written in 1984), it remains a fascinating topic especially when the Big, Bad Wolf calls Little Red “a cunt.” I highly suggest you pick it up and give a whirl, if only to read the naughty words in the context of educating yourself.

NOW ONWARD to what you came here, which was for THE GREAT CAT MASSACRE OF 1730 in the beautiful city of Paris. While I do suggest you pick up a copy of the book for an in-depth look into the finer nuances of the author’s work, here is why this sticks with me….

The basic run down of the events occur in Jacques Vincent’s print shop with the story told by Nicolas Contat about Jerome (a fictionalized version of Contat) and Leveille’s actions that sparked such an imprint. One day, when the apprentices were tired of being treated worse than their master’s cats, decided to spend several nights outside the head honcho’s bedroom window, obnoxiously howling like felines in heat. Jerome was very talented at mimicry so much so that after many sleepless nights, the master and mistress believed themselves “touched,” and told the apprentices to take care of all the cats in the area. These men gleefully rounded up all the furry balls of preindustrial violin strings into sacks, then proceeded to hold a mock trial in which the prisoners were found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. Did I mention they also compiled a full cast of executioners, confessors, and guards?



*Mac laughs incredulously*

Also, the men found the incident to be so hilarious, there were constant reenactments whenever the printing students had a spare moment.

The Great Cat Massacre provided its participants with endless entertainment in their continuous retelling of the event, leaving everyone choking on their own laughter. What fascinates me is how we, as contemporaries, have trouble understanding why such humor arouse out of these less than ASPCA-friendly actions. To break it down to its bare minimum:

– The realities of the preindustrial world was far less sugar coated than typically presented.

– We as children are shielded from death or starvation while it was a daily part of these apprentices’ lives.

– They also did not have the fairy tale relationship with their master, often eating food the cats refused because the cook sold the manor’s leftovers.

So. In conclusion, this was the preindustrial equivalent to an intern flipping off their boss and life was WAY harder than we have it now. Be thankful for technology, folks. *clings to her cats*


If you enjoyed poking into darker realities of humanity as opposed to the less than honest tomfoolery fed to children, you might enjoy two of my relatively children-friendly comic trades. Ted Neifah’s Courtney Crumrin (the final trade just came out at the end of August!!) seems like a cliche of young child finds herself living in her uncle’s creepy mansion, however, it is anything but. Another was recommended to me by friend at Escape Pod Comics in Huntington (ITS LIKE A BOOKSTORE..ONLY WITH COMICS) aptly named Beautiful Darkness. Each has that perfect touch of horror mixed with the innocence of children that leaves you twitching to read it all again.


And just in case you have too many feels about all this (SO MANY FLUFFY FACES), might I recommend picking up this epic cat sweatshirt and a warm drink in this epic mug keep those chills at bay?

It's a purrr-fect vessel for your tears.
It’s a purrr-fect vessel for your tears.

They also have one where the cat is both an astronaut and friends with a panda. CATS, HISTORY, COMICS, FASHION!


– Bookworm Fashionista..possibly morphing to a cat bag lady.

ABOUT >> Mac Lemons
  • ACCOUNT NAME >> paranoidlemons
  • BIO >> Mac is a history lover, avid harry potter fan, and occasionally pretends to join the circus. While flying on fabrics and searching for magic are her true passions, her civilian life forces her to walk around a lot.
  • CONTACT >>

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