When 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.