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Yesterday afternoon, the internet received a gift. This gift is a roughly 40-second clip of a remote hearing in Texas’ 394th Judicial District Court in which a lawyer named Rod Ponton can’t figure out how to remove a Zoom filter that has turned him into a sad-looking kitten. Ponton, wide cat eyes brimming with tears, looks around in a panic and explains in a middle-aged man’s voice that he’s trying to figure out how to turn the filter off.
It’s an exceptional video. The cat’s defeated expression, the other, human men’s looks of bemusement, the part where Ponton says, just to be sure, that he’s “not a cat”—all of it adds up to something rare and wonderful.
In less than 24 hours since it was posted, though, the milkshake duke has come for Ponton. Ponton isn’t, as we wanted him to remain, an adorable little kitten in need of a hug. He’s also a lawyer who’s used his position to, as Jesse Walker puts it, “[leverage] the gears of the federal government in a yearslong effort to level bogus drug charges against a woman in Alpine, Texas.”
The article linked in Walker’s tweet explains that Ponton isn’t nearly as cuddly and kind as the cat he morphed into. He, Ponton, in short, sucks. Reporter Christopher Hooks linked to another article that gives further context, complicating the original story somewhat but leaving us with the simple, unavoidable fact that, within a day, the funny cat video has been sullied.
Oh, well! The best we can hope for in any situation where a clip as straightforwardly hilarious as the Zoom cat lawyer video surfaces is to get a day or two of brainless enjoyment from it before it’s tarnished. In this case, we didn’t even get that. There’s always the next time a lawyer accidentally turns themselves into a sad kitten on Zoom, we guess.
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