The State of my American Dog

Excerpts from this Esquire article: The State of the American Dog

"America is two countries now—the country of its narrative and the country of its numbers, with the latter sitting in judgment of the former. In the stories we tell ourselves, we are nearly always too good: too soft on criminals, too easy on terrorists, too lenient with immigrants, too kind to animals. In the stories told by our numbers, we imprison, we drone, we deport, and we euthanize with an easy conscience and an avenging zeal. "

As a pit bull owner, I have experienced breedism (I guess I’d call it that) of all sorts - neighbors terrified of our dog as I walk her down the street. People asking us to cross the street from a block away. Asking us if we are afraid of her in our home and what will we do if we have children. Aren’t we afraid of her?

I can’t imagine being afraid of her. I’m way more afraid for her - that someone will punch her when her head is hanging out the window of the car as we drive through the city to the dog beach. That someone will lash out and kick her on a walk, because this  happened to another pit owner I know. I never leave her anywhere tied up,  not even while I run in to grab a cup of coffee or something fast.  She was stolen from a backyard and hung from a tree by her collar around her neck - watched by a group of teenagers who ran away when a man who heard her crying cut her down and handed her to animal control. Afraid of her? Not even a little. Because except for a wicked scar, you’d never know a human had ever done her wrong. 

"It’s biology. But it’s dog biology rather than pit-bull biology. And so I’m respectfully asking you: However your dog acts, keep it to your dog. Don’t extrapolate and think that all pit bulls do this. Or that all dogs from shelters do this. Or that all short-haired dogs do this. Look at your dog as an individual. That’s the challenge."

And while our pup Kermit is imperfect and has some on-leash aggression towards certain other dogs, I know it’s on us as her owners and caretakers to make sure she’s kept safe.  

"The language of institutional animosity toward your dog—the language of breed bans and insurance restrictions—takes great pains to declare that your dog is not like other dogs but rather something less and at the same time something more: something Other."

"You learn that the argument about pit bulls takes place along the lines of class and, to a lesser extent, race."

Just two days ago a man (who happened to be black) working for a moving company said, “Wow, beautiful dog. You know, that’s a black person’s dog, right?” And I just said, “Well, I guess she’s a white person’s dog, too.” He laughed and asked me why I had her spayed - that “that was your money right there.” And I replied, “There are plenty of pit bulls that need good homes, I don’t need my girl making any more.” His coworker smiled and agreed with me.

"When a cocker spaniel bites, it does so as a member of its species; it is never anything but a dog. When a pit bull bites, it does so as a member of its breed. A pit bull is never anything but a pit bull."

Went an approximate 35-40 miles round trip in four days.  Saw a California condor, a couple burrowing owls, a billion bats, a trillion lizards, even more ‘squitoes, a Moki house, a Moki grainery, the chimney of an on-the-lam polygamist from the early 20th century, a huge panel of Anasazi pictogram/petroglyphs (c 1200-1300AD) and a duo of old cowboy signatures (1887), a UFO (two different ones…unidentified to us), and a field of churt, arrowheads, pottery shards, and hand-tools that the wind must have blown the sand off of. A good adventure overall.    #escalante #utah #topography #map #backpacking #wolverine #horse #canyon

Went an approximate 35-40 miles round trip in four days. Saw a California condor, a couple burrowing owls, a billion bats, a trillion lizards, even more ‘squitoes, a Moki house, a Moki grainery, the chimney of an on-the-lam polygamist from the early 20th century, a huge panel of Anasazi pictogram/petroglyphs (c 1200-1300AD) and a duo of old cowboy signatures (1887), a UFO (two different ones…unidentified to us), and a field of churt, arrowheads, pottery shards, and hand-tools that the wind must have blown the sand off of. A good adventure overall. #escalante #utah #topography #map #backpacking #wolverine #horse #canyon

There’s a Trib article today about Zeppelin getting sued for ripping off part of Stairway to Heaven.  Creatively, this is interesting to me.  I certainly have used things I have seen or heard in other things I’ve made.   Where do you draw the line? Like,  when is it inspiration and when is it plagiarism?  I know there are attorneys making claims each way, but I’m interested more from an artist’s point of view.  Especially in comedy, “joke stealing” seems to be a thing that gets people real fired up.  It’s so grey.   Also, this reminds me I should read Leon’s Steal Like an Artist.   And then rewrite it and retitle it.  And sell it for $562 million dollars.

There’s a Trib article today about Zeppelin getting sued for ripping off part of Stairway to Heaven. Creatively, this is interesting to me. I certainly have used things I have seen or heard in other things I’ve made. Where do you draw the line? Like, when is it inspiration and when is it plagiarism? I know there are attorneys making claims each way, but I’m interested more from an artist’s point of view. Especially in comedy, “joke stealing” seems to be a thing that gets people real fired up. It’s so grey. Also, this reminds me I should read Leon’s Steal Like an Artist. And then rewrite it and retitle it. And sell it for $562 million dollars.

New obsession.  “There was a lot of friction and tension between you and so the fewest ideas went into the [creature]”.   - Brian Henson.  The perfect metaphor for collaboration gone awry.

New obsession. “There was a lot of friction and tension between you and so the fewest ideas went into the [creature]”. - Brian Henson. The perfect metaphor for collaboration gone awry.