Friday, March 08, 2019

Obesity on Parade at Crufts: The People Show

The juxtaposition of poorly shaped humans and their beauty show dogs is something no one can fail to notice at a dog show.

Why are dog show people so often poor physical specimens?

The answer, I think, is that these are people who are self-selecting. They are people who are looking for a "sport" in which no physical exercise is required. In fact, it is a sport in which no knowledge is required. All you need is a small checkbook to buy the dog (even the best dog will be cheaper than a very bad used car) and then you brush out the dog and learn how to walk it around the ring and stack it. If you have enough money, you can even hire a professional handler to actually do that; that's how Bill Cosby and a thousand others do it.

Dog showing is also a hobby which attracts a lot of retirees or other people who do not work fulltime jobs. With age, often comes width.

The funniest juxtaposition in the world of dogs may be the fact that so many of the people attracted to "the fancy" are decidedly unfancy themselves. Often these are middle- to lower-middle class folks with very prosaic roots whose heritage is evident in their taste for double-knit pants suits and clip on ties. These are folks who toil in anonymous jobs and who have now gravitated to dogs as a way of deriving reflected social status. Yes, their own background may be as common as a turnip top, but did you know that Prince Tuckahoe of Heaven's Gate has seven champions in his pedigree!


Crufts dachshunds in the ring, 2005


Crufts contestant waiting, 2005


Crufts corridor, 1967


Crufs hopefuls waiting their turn, 2001


Crufts judge, 2005


Arriving at Crufts, 1971

3 comments:

Chas Clifton said...

"Often these are middle- to lower-middle class folks with very prosaic roots whose heritage is evident in their taste for double-knit pants suits and clip on ties. These are folks who toil in anonymous jobs and who have now gravitated to dogs as a way of deriving reflected social status."

Thank goodness all of those deplorables are outside the Beltway! Clip-on ties (note hyphen), the horror!

You and I were raised to appreciate finer things, thank Heaven!

Jennifer said...

I'd prefer to see obese owners out there than professional dog handlers.

PBurns said...

Sedentary snobbery is why dog shows were created, Chas.

I put up two posts this morning for you:

** One is about Thorstein Veblen writing about conspicuous consumption and canine monstrosities in 1899 in his book, "The Theory of the Leisure Class". Worth a read if only to see I am not making a new point.

** The other post quotes Harriet Ritvo writing about how the dogs shows "... elevated standards that had no basis in nature or aesethics but reflected the ignorant, self-interested caprices of fanciers who wished to boost the prestige of their own stock in order to associate themselves with people of good breeding." Again, I am not making a new point, and Ritvo has a granular knowledge of history in this arena.

No one mocks the guy who trains his dog to sharp edge and who can shoot a double every time.

But the fellow with the brand new outfit who shows up with a $10,000 engraved shotgun and an insane dog that will not stop barking, who has a paid man to shoot the gun while the dog is tied up tight on a lead, and then claims that HE is a really excellent shot and, in fact the best wing shooter in the field that day?

That's the show dog world in a nutshell. My people are from Kansas and Kentucky. They know who to laugh at.