Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

Nic Bommarito on Krazy Kat


In a desert landscape, a flesh-toned mouse on the right throws a red brick at the head of a blue-black cat who is on the left. The cat's reaction is a mental image of a heart. In a speech bubble, the mouse says: “Every day my mind grows keener. My good arm stronger... My silly enemies more futile...”
Panel from Krazy Kat by George Herriman

This is entry #91 in our ongoing 100 Philosophers, 100 Artworks, 100 Words Series.

Philosopher: Nic Bommarito (Simon Fraser University)

Artwork: Krazy Kat, George Herriman, 1913 until 1944

Words: George Herriman drew his iconic comic Krazy Kat from 1913 until 1944. The story is a simple one: Ignatz Mouse enjoys throwing bricks at the gender-fluid Krazy Kat, who misinterprets his aggression as an expression of love. Officer Pupp protects Krazy Kat by catching and imprisoning Ignatz. This pattern repeats but with endless variations and detours.

Krazy Kat is heartfelt poetry that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It embodies the freedom and openness of doodling, but done by skilled hands. It has the freewheeling playfulness of a new medium when the rules haven’t yet congealed. As Ignatz says: Good hunting.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.