Flat White

If you want a politician, get a dog

7 March 2018

1:40 PM

7 March 2018

1:40 PM

Down in Melbourne we have unleashed Dog Man. The controversial bronze statue by Australian artists Gillie and Marc that upset New York’s Asian community for being too dog-like when being installed over there is now over here and on loan to Melbourne because in Australia when we are offered something for free we take it.

This is perfect timing. If you’ve been paying attention to all that hyper-optimistic summer holiday’s casino advertising you would know this is Chinese Year of the Dog and according to their zodiac a dog is a true companion, associated with loyalty, honesty and intelligence. Just like a casino.

US President Harry Truman once said if you want a friend in politics get a dog and in Australia we take that sort of thing to heart especially when you’re not allowed to play with your friends anymore.

Everyone in Canberra is buying one in an attempt to channel their frustrations with the media hanging around outside puppy farms with their long-range lens and their out-of-focus integrity trying to work out who has been a bad dog.

It’s all part of the new value-add anti-fraternizing vibe of our democracy where every friend is your enemy and the enemy of your enemy is your friend – or something.

For on the case and uncomfortably aroused skinny jeans wearing media it’s worthwhile seeing what sort of dogs our politicians buy.

Cavoodles are very popular these days and a definite vote winner. You can usually find them on the campaign trail sniffing butts and kissing babies. Dig a little deeper and you find contrary to their overt cuteness and overall sex appeal, they – and the other dog-oodles – are really psychotic Frankenstein crossbreeds invented to help the middle class avoid whatever they are allergic too. Just like a politician really.

They may look like the smashed avocado of the pet world as they trot around inner suburban cafes drinking from bespoke dish-bowls but in reality are indicative of the dangers of third-way political breeding (Tony Blair may well be a cavoodle if he were to come back as a dog) and a decadent modern society that wants to have it all.


Full disclosure. I own a ginger-furred agitated yet adorable cavoodle named Sparky that is my sad attempt to fit in at coffee shops where I go to be seen while being ignored by the staff.

If you think about it too much you soon realize this doggifying of Canberra also reflects a worldwide swing to the Left. Dogs are socialist after all. They live in a permanent welfare state – somewhere Scandinavian with a mink fur trim where the government is responsible for feeding, walking, cleaning up their mess and constantly telling them they are special.

A doggy land of milk and darkly psychotic yet handsome television mass murderers dogs love SBS and no doubt account for most of their program ratings while sleeping curled on the couch.

It’s no coincidence former presidential socialist contender Bernie Sanders looks like an elderly Labrador and who doesn’t think Canadian toddler Marxist Justin Trudeau with his gender-neutral language, cultural-appropriating bad dancing and haircut isn’t just another fur baby waiting to be cuddled, laughed at then dumped on the curb for the RSPCA to collect.

But it’s not all neutering and socialism in dog world as these days’ dogs get blamed for everything.

It’s their fault Donald Trump got elected president according to the whole dog-ate-my-homework explanation from Hillary.

Or as she put it in her book Not My Fault – it wasn’t her fault. Which is how she explains losing the unloseable presidential election against such a reality-TV obnoxious dog of a candidate.

The Russian Black Terrier is a very intelligent dog so it is surprising that thirteen of them have been recently caught and charged by the US Special Counsel for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. You’d think they’d be out chasing a rubber ball or destabilizing the region instead.

The Russians understand there is nothing noble about politics. Forget that light on the hill, it’s a dog-eat-dog world. That’s why for over 70 years under Communist rule they made their people queue for canned dog food and forced them to heel and rollover.

Our Australian dogs are not so smart. They are much duller and more interested in being kept on tight leash. In fact if you tell them ‘good boy or girl’ they will bring the leash to you. Journalists do this trick with them all the time.

They are as immobile and inarticulate as Dog Man with his suit, strange human body and giant red apple.

For well-trained dogs – canine, human or journalist – this is democracy at work.

Michael Scammell is a freelance writer

Illustration: Gillie and Marc.

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