Anthropomorphic Conceit — Or, All Dogs Are Retards.
(book chosen by Beau Dashington)
Editor’s Note: When dogs get boners the dink looks all pink and weird. If you poke it with a stick it will shrivel back into the body.
“If you believe as I do—that Benji represents a certain kind of mutation, and that he is pure love—then this is merely one more expression of that most delightful of genetic mishaps: a creature entirely benign and wishing only to express the immense love he feels inside.”
Imagine, if you will, a race of super intelligent extraterrestrials. They come to earth and realise we could be useful to them in some way, some menial task they could do themselves but are lazy. We fight their oppression for a while so instead they just kidnap thousands of our infant children and take them back to their home world.They raise the humans to be obedient and find that their own alien children are rather fond of these dumb wild beasts. So they start selective breeding. At first simply making us more docile. But over generations they realise they like the features of one such human more than another so start focusing in on more and more birth defects they find endearing. Fast forward 40,000 years and the humans on that planet are no closer to us than the aliens themselves. They’ve been bred by specific characteristics which make us unsuitable for our original purpose but are now ‘adorable’ in their eyes. Extreme achondroplasia, hydrocephalus/microcephaly, brachycephaly, hypertrichosis, achromia, progeria, or maybe they’ve even been able to keep anencephalic humans alive, or any number of defects, but most importantly neoteny has been taken to the extreme and they are unable to develop the mental capacities past that of a seven year old. All of the cognitive abilities which give us our spirit to do more is lost. They are content, and as such cannot fathom any world beyond the one they’ve grown into. They love their masters unconditionally.
And over the course of that 40,000 years the aliens themselves have unexpectedly evolved with their human pets. By just being around the human spirit, no matter how stunted, they have evolved to be more loving, more hopeful, more empathetic. The aliens never knew of love before. Had never experienced a companionship unbridled with a pure sense of adoration. Never felt an intimacy and devotion void of conditions and stipulations.
‘But Peartree’, you object, ‘humans are monsters. They are the only species in existence known for atrocities such as war and genocide’. Yes, this is true I admit. But no ‘retarded‘ person ever wanted a war (with the possible exception of Feodor I of Russia in the Russo-Swedish War of 1590-95) and that’s what these neo-human-pets have invariably come to be, ‘retards’. The aliens now see these poor, broken humans as creatures who only love because they are too stupid to comprehend their own lamentable existence.
This is what Masson is asserting in his book. That dogs, once domesticated, domesticated us and gave us the ability to feel empathy for all other species and beings — “Without the wolf, would we have become a different species? I think it is very likely”. That we never felt these emotions, truly, before dogs entered our lives. Because sure, it’s not like dogs were ever seen as unclean and rejected from any society…. He even states “I would go so far as to suggest that we are no longer two entirely separate species. There is a sense in which we have merged.”
Almost all of his ideas are represented by personal accounts of his own dog Benjy, who couldn’t stop loving obviously. The flowery, nauseating prose (“the only thing dogs steal is our hearts”) he uses to describe his own love of dogs is cut short before, what I can only surmise would be to follow, his interspecies boudoir episodes. But the amount of times the term ‘dog love’ is used in this book makes me doubt his abstention in confusing lust and love — “Dog love is unlike that of any other species—even that of humans.”But I suppose Masson would be OK in my imagined scenario though, because he certainly finds the best in situations — “many people misunderstand neoteny, even animal behavior specialists.” True. Animal behavior specialists are fucking stupid yo. I mean who spends years getting a degree in animal behavior? Masson certainly didn’t. And neither did I. But I didn’t write a book about it. I had the decency to just write a shitty review on a blog which isn’t charging anyone to read my nonsense. So quit having sexual relations with animals and show some decorum to your readers Masson, start spouting off your codswallop for free.
PS. There seems to be a pattern in which I write reviews about books based on dogs while drunk so I come off a bit more irritable. I do like dogs… but the way these people write about them is fucking asinine.