Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The WAR on DOGS!

Don't say: doggy dog world | Do say: dog-eat-dog world
Comment: The world is even worse than you think if you think it merely a "doggy-dog world." Sorry to be the bearer of such bad news.
100 Most Often Mispronounced Words and Phrases in English
You wonder why they call it "The Silly Season"?  Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are in the doghouse thanks to dueling derogatory dog-related discourse from both parties. Is there anything to the dog fight? Or is it just a shaggy dog story? (Can I help myself? No. I cannot help myself. I checked. I can't stop doing it.)

Romney's Kick in the Canines For all your Romney-Hates-Dogs Needs
If you haven't heard the story by now it's probably because you've been locked in a kennel on top of a speeding station wagon. I case you do not know, here is the story (From Time Magazine):

The incident: dog excrement found on the roof and windows of the Romney station wagon. How it got there: Romney strapped a dog carrier — with the family dog Seamus, an Irish Setter, in it — to the roof of the family station wagon for a twelve hour drive from Boston to Ontario, which the family apparently completed, despite Seamus's rather visceral protest.
The story (apparently reported in 2008 in the Boston Globe) was supposed to illustrate how Romney dealt with "emotion free crisis management," handling a family situation quickly and efficiently (As efficiently as Bain Capital laying off a bunch of pregnant mothers? We report, you decide!). However, once the ball started rolling Romney was in deep doggie doo with everyone from PETA to run of the mill pet-lovers who were appalled by actions.

Obama's Going To The Dogs

After several months of the dog-pile on Romney, someone went and dug up a quote from Obama's book where he notes he was introduced to dog meat in Indonesia. This has led to a deluge of dog-discourse around ... recipes!

What Does It Mean?
David Frum points out that each of these stories does, apparently, play into a negative stereotype each candidate has:
Thus, the "larger meaning" supposedly exposed by the dog-on-the-roof story: Romney is a heartless technocrat, ready to conduct brutal experiments on unsuspecting people or beasts and who only laughs if the experiment does not go well for the subject/victim.
And thus too the "larger meaning" seen by partisans inside the Obama-eats-dog story: Obama is an alien, raised in alienation from basic American values, and protected by a complicit news media that refuses to report embarrassing facts about him - like dog-eating.
I think this is pretty insightful.

On the other hand, all of this fits a much larger pattern anyone with small kids will know: MOM!! HE HIT ME FIRST!! NO!! YOU STARTED IT! Whether it be the War on Women, cutting entitlements for seniors, or dog-sasters, each side's primary line of defense is "The other guys did it/will do it and will do it worse!"

About the only place Romney hasn't gone is claiming that Obama is worse for gay rights than he would be--but just wait for him to Etch-a-Sketch (I bet if I went through the GOProud site I might find something like that. Maybe?).

What Do I Think?
Well, I think it's nonsense. I suspect that being strapped to the roof of the car wasn't great for the dog but I suspect he did it more than once and that the dog didn't complain until he got sick up there. But I'm not sure--in any event, while I don't think Romney is the utterly heartless automaton that his detractors do, I think it's pretty clear he (a) has a bit of a tin-ear when it comes to connecting with people (people who don't own NASCAR teams, anyway) and (b) has zero business giving anyone a quote to shore up "emotionless crisis management." That's like a body-snatcher giving a quote that shows off just how almost-identically they can simulate the host: you don't give the game away.

Similarly, the Obama-Eats-Dogs thing is clearly just push-back. Republicans got tired of being beat up by the dog-story so they found one of their own. If any GOP folks were shocked that Obama had, at one point, eaten something strange in Indonesia I'd be surprised: I figure anyone in that category already figured he ate human flesh at Illuminati dinners ... maybe at the kids table or something? Who knows what those guys believe.

But anyway: it opens the door to a lot of great dog-puns which, as far as I know, may have actually killed a reader. So I'm down with it: LET LOOSE THE DOGS OF WAR!

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