Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Because Dog

T.J. Simers to Fred Roggin, about a half hour ago on the radio:

You killed a mouse. Does that make you any different than Michael Vick?

Dog-lovers - and I include myself in that number - treat dogs differently than any other animal. (Cat-lovers are the same way.) Behaviors which are perfectly normal for mere animals are completely unacceptable when Fido or Fluffy are involved. While PETA appears to campaign for all animals, others do not.

For example, as Technosoul notes, some activists were in Seoul, Korea on July 25. I bet you can guess what they were protesting.

Animal rights activists, dressed up as dogs, pose with dogs inside a dog cage during a protest against the eating of dog meat in central Seoul July 25, 2007. In the summer, many Koreans traditionally eat dog meat for good health to overcome hot weather. The banner reads, "A dog is not an animal for meat, for a mate". The placards read, "We want to survive".

And, naturally, there was a Meetup:

The Animal Welfare Institute will host a protest in Washington, D.C. condemning the inhumane treatment of cats and dogs killed for human consumption in South Korea. Similar protests will be held in many other cities throughout the world. The main organizers of the third annual International Day for Korean Dogs and Cats are In Defense of Animals (IDA) and the Animal Freedom Korea (AFK).

When: July 25, 2007, 12:00 p.m.
Where: Embassy of the Republic of Korea
2450 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
Contact: Serda Ozbenian, (703) 836-4300, serda@awionline.org

Now take a step back and think about it. Assuming you're not a vegetarian (on one hand) or a cannibal (on the other), what is the difference between eating one animal species and another?

Perhaps these stories may explain:

Police dogs with garlands and traditional colors marking their foreheads pose after being worshipped and given food during the dog worship day in Katmandu October 24, 2003. Nepal is celebrating the Deepawali festival for five days during which Nepalese Hindus worship crows, dogs, cows and the god[d]ess of wealth. [Robot Filter]

When thinking of dogs as deities few come to mind as quickly as Anubis (aka Anpu). While sometimes represented clearly as a dog, at other times he appears more like a jackal....Anubis was one of the most ancient of Egyptian gods closely associated with funerary rites and the afterlife. He was guide to the dead and the one who weighted the souls of the deceased against the feather of Maat (truth and order). Socrates referred to Anubis when he swore "by the Dog of Egypt." [Asia Pacific Universe]

The coyote god of the indigenous Americans was often the trickster or culture hero and sometimes the creator of humans and/or the Milky Way. The Pawnee and Blackfoot Indians of Canada knew the Milky Way as the "Wolf Trail." Both the coyote and dog appear in numerous North American Indian creation and deluge myths. [Asia Pacific Universe]

Among present-day Mongolians, the dog's place in the family is more similar to that of the parents than that of the children. It is said that Mongolians often judge visitors by whether the family dog takes to the guest or not. The widespread belief is that people reincarnate from dogs so one should never hit a dog as it may become one's own child. [Asia Pacific Universe]

In Africa, Nyambe, the Louyi creator god has a beloved dog. Nyamurairi, the supreme god of the Nyanga people of the Congo had a dog named Rukuba, who gave the gift of fire. The Yorubas have the dog-headed Aroui who also happens to have a pet dog. They also worshipped Odudua, the mother goddess whose is usually depicted with a dog, the animal sacred to her son, the war god Ogun. [Asia Pacific Universe]

There you have it. In a manner similar to which Americans worship the President as part of our American civil religion, we also borrow from other cultures in worshipping the dog.

Which, for English speakers, makes sense. The Reba show got this:

[T]he absolute best thing about this show is Melissa Peterman as Barbara Jean. Barbara Jean isn't stupid, but she is more than a bit dense....

The dumb character is Van, played by Steve Howey, and in the grand tradition of comedy he makes dumb funny. Just as one example there's a scene where Barbara Jean says "And what is dog spelled backwards?"

And, much earlier, I remember that Maude (played by Bea Arthur) once said, "Dog spelled backwards will get you for that!"

(P.S. Continuing my tradition even when you don't realize it. "Because Dog" was the title of a song written by one of the members of Electric Sobo back in my college days.)


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