Friday, February 16, 2018

Clowns on the Sofa at Crufts

A pair of know-nothings.

Twitter informs me that Clare Balding and Alan Carr will be doing color commentary at Crufts this year.


Neither one of them knows a single thing about dogs.

Once again it seems that the primary (only?) requirement of a dog show announcer is that they be gay and know nothing about dogs.

"Oh he’s a comedian and she did some sport 30 years ago? And both are gay stereotypes? Perfect!”

Gay and ignorant IS the requirement?  The only requirement?  Really?

As I wrote back in 2006, when reviewing the movie Best in Show:

The thread that holds the tapestry of characters together in Best in Show is not dogs, so much as the recognition that many of the people that attend dog shows seem to be "working out" their issues through the world of dogs. We laugh at the joke because it is so often true, and everyone in the audience knows it and "gets it."

A repeated theme in the movie is dysfunction -- sexual dysfunction, social dysfunction, and emotional dysfunction.

The fact that many dogs show obsessives are driven by a hole in their soul, and that that they seek to fill this hole through the surrogacy of dogs and dog shows is faced head on.

Many of the "normal" people that frequent dog shows are slightly odd, and more than a handful seem to be trying to compensate for the absence of children in their lives by dressing up their dogs, dancing with their dogs, or -- as in this case -- singing to them. Frustrated maternal instincts from both straight and gay couples are worn on the sleeve for anyone who takes the time to look for them.

A recurring theme in Best in Show is the large number of openly gay and closeted gay people that can be found at dog shows. In the clip below, a sad and powerful story is told in a single line: "I asked my ex-wife ... who's that?" The painful laughs that follow are triggered because almost everyone familiar with dog shows knows a character who fits the story. This is a story about lost lives.

Following the success of Best in Show, Bravo-TV did a "reality" show knock-off of the movie. It says quite a lot that they had no problem finding a ready cast of real people to populate their series: Showdog Moms & Dads.

In this series, a cast of "real dog show people" were followed around to canine events across the country including
a woman with no kids who freely admitted to displacing her maternal instincts on to her German Shepherds; a married man (and former AKC judge) who came off as a closeted version of Liberace; two screaming queens and their Toy Fox Terrier; a woman whose relationship with her Weimeraner appeared to be much stronger than her relationship with either her husband or reality, and; a "normal" person who was a single-mom and dog trainer trying to raise her son in a dog show world -- and with dog trainer commands.

One of the things you will NEVER hear at a dog show is the true history of any breed, or the list of genetic defects that have been exacerbated by closed registries.

And yet what a thing it would be to hear the truth!

What a breath of fresh air it would be to hear:

The German Shepherd was never much of a herding dog and is almost never found herding today. A herding German Shepherd with a commercial flock of sheep -- ha-ha -- what a notion! In fact this dog is a relatively new breed, created around 1900. Today the genetic stock of this dog is so racked by chronic hip dysplasia that many lines of German shepherds can barely walk. Anyone with an ounce of sense stays away from show lines today, and imports their dogs from working stock overseas.

The Bull Dog would be properly introduced as:

A game dog once used to catch stock for altering or slaughter, the bull dog was reduced in stature and mutated by intentionally breeding in achondroplastic dwarfism, which is why the legs on these dogs are so bent they can barely walk. The pressed-in-face means the dogs have chronic breathing problems, while the digestive tract is so wrecked that these dogs pass more gas than a Mexican restaurant. You will learn to light matches with a bull dog!

The heads on these dogs are so enormous that almost all the dogs are born caesarian, and in fact this dog would be extinct within 10 years if it were not for veterinarians helping these little mutants into the world.

Notice that nice little pig tail? That is a source of chronic skin infection, and most of the dogs in the ring today will have their tails completely cut off after they are retired from performance -- a way of making it easier to keep this breed after a show ring career.

Crufts, of course, is a sad joke.  If you want to be reminded of that just look at the dog they put up as a working dog last year.

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