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Sep 26

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Various Observations about Pizza Rat

Black Rat Eating With Its HandsWhen I first heard about Pizza Rat, I figured that people would hate it because it was a rat in the subway. But apparently, they like it. They see it as something like that ant in the Frank Sinatra song, “High Hopes.” Plus, a dirty rat tail tends to make it look like it has fur on it, and I’ve always thought that people’s biggest problem with rats is their tails. Because rats are actually quite charming looking. They aren’t much different from squirrels and chipmunks. But the fact that the pizza is about five times the size of the rat doubtless helps too.

There is a bit of controversy going on with all this, You Love Pizza Rat. You Don’t Own Pizza Rat. Jukin Media found the footage long before it went viral and acquired the rights to it. That’s what the company does, and even though I have major problems with our copyright system, I don’t see anything wrong with this. But like most companies, Jukin keeps close tabs on its intellectual property. So when people posted the video on Facebook, Jukin had it taken down.

I’m not on Facebook, so I didn’t know it worked this way. But apparently, instead of just embedding YouTube videos, they have their own system. That’s so they can monetize the videos instead of letting Google get the money. In the past, Jukin hadn’t been able to effectively combat this, but they can now. Again: copyright — meh. The entire capitalist system is not working as it should. But the issue here isn’t between Jukin and people who want to share Pizza Rat with their grandparents. It is about Jukin and Facebook, and as usual, Facebook sucks. I don’t seriously think that it is a problem to attach advertising to the Pizza Rat video, and the money should go to those who were smart enough to see it would be big.

In another article, Margarita Noriega wrote, Pizza Rat: New York City’s Infamous Rodent, Explained. But most of the article is about why the little rat dropped the slice of pizza. A lot of people seem to be wondering. This truly boggles my mind. It drops the pizza as soon as it notices the guy holding the camera. It hides, looking for the opportunity to return to the pizza slice. That’s why this 14 seconds are so annoying. Why happened next? The rat appears to be ready to retrieve the pizza once the coast is clear.

Rats are great animals. They are relatively smart and tend to be friendly. (But don’t approach wild rats!) What’s more, they are incredibly social animals that work for the betterment of all their rat neighbors. Imagine if Martin Shkreli or Carly Fiorina were rats: they would take that piece of pizza, hide it, and eat it all themselves. But Pizza Rat, if it did eventually get that pizza, would share it with the other rats. Ayn Rand ranted for decades that altruism didn’t exist. Well, among Ayn Rand and her friends, that might have been true. In the corporate boardroom — including at Jukin Media — that might be true. But in the subway, among the rats, there is altrusim. I hope that Pizza Rat succeeded.

See Also

Rats Are Great Pets
Rats Exonerated for Black Death

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10 comments

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  1. James Fillmore

    1. I truly don’t understand anything about the Internet.
    2. That seems like a small NYC subway rat. I’ve seen bigger.
    3. Rats are cooler than chipmunks and squirrels.

    1. Frank Moraes

      Brown rats can get as big as 10″ and I would saw that Pizza rat is about 7″. It could be young, but more likely that’s more the average size. When you see one in real life, it tends to increase the heart rate and create distorted observations. Also: since you have the stairs, you have a good way to measure it. But there certainly are larger rats.

      1. James Fillmore

        Yeah, I was kinda scared. Not because it was a rat, but because I thought it was a cat.

        My understanding is that New York developed the reputation it has for rats back in the old days when the Mafia ran the garbage trucks. Because of their influence, you couldn’t install garbage disposals in sinks. That meant more garbage, meaning more income for the mob. And more food waste meant more rats.

        Now you can have garbage disposals, and the NYC sanitation department is, I believe, very well-run. I read a book on them a few years ago. Workers call maggots “disco rice,” which I found funny.

        1. Frank Moraes

          Have you read about the rat flood. It’s fascinating.

          1. James Fillmore

            Wow. Nature is weird. Lovable in its way, but weird. When cute little grasshoppers start going hungry, they grow bigger, allowing them to travel farther for food and increasing the amount of food they need. It’s double-or-nothing at the track, evolutionary-style!

            1. Frank Moraes

              I didn’t know that. But I’m still trying to figure out why they jump sideways.

  2. Elizabeth

    And now you know why I want to move to Mars. No creepy rats! EEP!

    1. Frank Moraes

      Hey! Rats are really great animals! They are. As pets, they are very affectionate and never bite. But all of them are highly altruistic. Don’t you think Pizza Rat looks nice? Give her a shampoo and she’d be adorable. I guarantee it!

  3. paintedjaguar

    In 1980 or thereabouts I saw a rat in New York City that was the size of a small cat. No joke, out in the open, mid-afternoon on a sunny day. It was promenading along the base of a low wall in a plaza. Behind the main NYC Public Library, I think it was.

    1. Frank Moraes

      And you’re sure it wasn’t a young Donald Trump?

      Could be. There are many kinds of rats. And there are rodents that are rodents that are much bigger than cats like the capybara. Of course, there is still the major question of the taste for pizza.

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