Last year, as everything seemed to catch on fire all around us, it was clear that K.C. Green's iconic "This is fine" dog was the animal totem of 2016. Now, we are already in desperate need of a new icon that can help us navigate the swift-moving, danger-filled reality of 2017, and I know what it is: Lying Cat.
For those who might not know, Lying Cat is a creation of Bryan K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, creators of the epic sci-fantasy comic Saga. She's a tiger-sized, hairless blue Sphynx cat, and partner of the intergalactic bounty hunter called The Will, but that's beside the point. What's important is that if you tell a lie in front of her, she will instantly pipe up and say, "LYING."
Last week, US President Donald Trump, Trump Administration counsellor Kellyanne Conway and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn were all caught flat-out lying outright to the public. There have been at least as many lies of omission — especially regarding the communications between Trump's camp and Russian officials about rolling back the country's sanctions — caught only by journalists who were able to confirm the story with multiple anonymous leakers from within the White House. It's clear 2017 is going to be a year marked by lies and wilful deception, so Lying Cat clearly needs to be its official mascot.
I was actually able to run this idea by Vaughan himself, who recalled actually seeing a picture of a homemade Lying Cat protest sign being waved around at a protest somewhere in Australia. Vaughan admitted Lying Cat would be the perfect journalistic companion, but he doubted that the government would ever actually be anything but hostile towards her.
"Lying Cat would never be allowed within 100 feet of the White House, regardless of who's in office," Vaughan said. "On Landfall, a planet in our story that shares some passing similarities with the US, politicians long ago outlawed the entire Lying Cat species from ever even approaching them."
Then Vaughan made a rather interesting observation. "I think it's telling that, here in the States, many government employees are forced to take polygraph tests, but our presidential candidates have somehow escaped that job requirement."
The reason so many people seem to be getting attached to the idea of Lying Cat speaking truth to power, Vaughan mused, is that at the end of the day, she doesn't really have an agenda aside from exposing dishonesty.
"Maybe it's because Lying Cat can never become a tool of any one group or ideology," Vaughan said. "Her only allegiance is to viciously calling out bullshit, wherever she finds it."