If you have dogs on Long Island or Why Col. Sanders is like Hitler

March 29, 2008

Newsday has a nice piece on living on Long Island with your dog, complete with videos. For the compete article, go here.

Although I have to cringe at reporter Corris Little’s opening line, “For some, dogs are the new kids.” To conflate the roles of parenting human children with being the owner/guardian of a dog is an abuse of language and genetics.

Dogs are not substitute children; children are not replacements for dogs. Anyone who says that they would run into a burning building and rescue their dog first and leave their child behind to die an agonizing death, should be contacted by Child Protective Services immediately for a fitness evaluation.

Can you even imagine such a scenario?

Local TV news reporter: “Mr. Morrison, it looks like your house has been totally destroyed by this spectacular blaze. How do you feel right now?”

Homeowner: “Well, Cyndy, the important thing is I was able to rescue Margarite, our little Chow-Chow.”

Local TV news reporter: “But your wife and three children died horribly in the inferno.”

Homeowner: “Cyndy, a house can be rebuilt. I can always get married again and have more children. But how could I ever replace this sweet little snookums? Here, she wants to give you a kiss. Isn’t that sweet?”

Oh silly me, of course, that’s not what Corris meant at all. What Corris meant to say is that chickens are equal to human children; Col. Sander’s is their Hitler and KFC is their Auschwitz.

What I object to here is the sloppy thinking behind this very wide-spread notion. And I say this as someone who both loves his dogs and considers them a part of our family.

I think it devalues both children and dogs to consider them in the same class of beings. You have absolutely no genetic investment in your dogs, but all of your children carry half your genes. Which is why, genetically, it makes sense for a woman to rescue her children from a disaster and leave her husband behind.

Given how most of our history with canines is the story of utility and horrific abuse, I think it a terrible mistake to swing the pendulum the other way and elevate dogs into “fur kids.”

“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

I knew a woman who considered herself a feminist and an intellectual and would substitute the word “Goddess” in place of “God.” When I tried to explain to her that replacing one gendered fantasy figure with another was hardly progress, she told me, “Of course, you can’t understand. You’re a man.” Here all along I had mistakenly thought my brain (and not my specific genitalia) was responsible for any thinking I was likely to do.

My point is simply that words and language do matter and we should be careful about how we label things. And if you don’t agree with me, my personal God, who is presently incarnated as the Duff Beer Man on The Simpsons, will make you chug-a-lug Duff Lite until you do.

OT: As far as feminism goes, I’d align myself more with Camille Paglia than Gloria Steinem. Steinem once compared Paglia to Hitler and her seminal work, Sexual Personae to Mein Kampf. Steinem is also against pornography, transsexualism and so-called ‘snuff films,’ a non-existent genre that allegedly features the torture and actual murder of women on screen.

The term first arose in connection with the Charles Manson ‘family’ murders and in the almost 40 years since not a single actual snuff film has ever been found. But it doesn’t have to exist for Gloria Steinem to oppose it, I guess. Just like the wide spread sexual abuse of children in day care centers and ritual Satanic abuse panics that Steinem was convinced were real in the mid-1980s to early 1990s.

I’ll let the transsexuals defend themselves, but as far as porn goes, Americans spend $2.6 billion to $3.9 billion a year on it, based on Forbes magazine’s 2001 estimate, so that’s a lot of voting with their pocket books going on. (When was the last time you saw a copy of Ms. magazine on a newsstand?).

I was always taught to judge people by what they do, not what they say. And you can’t go far wrong in any field if you simply follow the money.

I wonder if the porn industry is recession-proof in the way that economists traditionally say women’s make-up and children’s toys are? Let’s put those Freakonomics guys to work on that one.

Hitler and Blondie

February 2, 2008

Hitler loved his dog Blondie. A dog trainer had schooled Blondie so well that Hitler was in awe of the precocious canine’s discipline and intelligence. What particularly amazed him — and he delighted in showing this to guests — was how Blondie would sing on command. He’d say, “Sing, Blondie,” and the dog would emit a yodel-like howl. But that is not all. He would then say, “Lower, Blondie,” and his beloved four-legged friend would drop an octave and “sing” in a deep tone “like Zarah Leander.”

All who surrounded Hitler knew of his pride and affection for Blondie. He bragged on the tricks she could perform. He kept her by his side most of the time. She even slept in his bedroom in the bunker. Then, as the Russians closed in, Hitler fed Blondie cyanide. He killed his dog not to spare her from any of the ravages which might follow defeat, not to spare her from hunger or deprivation or disease. Rather, he had begun to suspect that the cyanide Himmler had supplied for Hitler’s own suicide might be fake. So the Fuhrer, who had already sacrificed his entire nation to his own vanity, killed his dog to make sure that his supply of suicide tablets would work when the time came.


— testimony of Traudl Junge from the documentary, Im toten Winkel – Hitlers Sekretärin (Blind Spot – Hitler’s Secretary) 2002, directed by Andre Heller and Othmar Schmiderer. This documentary won top honors at the Berlin International Film Festival and the Chicago International Film Festival.