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Friday, October 16, 2009

Hitchcock, Dogs, Celebrities, and Politicians

Supposedly Alfred Hitchcock once denied saying actors were like cattle; his true opinion was that actors should be treated like cattle. I don’t know if Hitchcock ever really expressed either opinion but the latter one, being more intelligent, is the one I’d bet on.

Several weeks ago Frank J. Fleming wrote that politicians should be trained like dogs, strictly following the model laid out by famous 'Dog Whisperer' Cesar Millan. Fleming’s polemic struck a chord with me. Since then, the exploding cesspool of celebrity support for child rapist Roman Polanski has further led me to believe Fleming’s epiphany has wider application. It should not be limited to the political class. I have always loved and respected Hitchcock, but it seems to me Fleming is correct in this case: celebrities’ treatment needs are far more canine than bovine. Society would benefit greatly by training not only politicians, but also celebrities, in the same way we train dogs.

Celebrities, just like dogs and politicians, need to be regularly exercised, and consistently disciplined, in order for them to be useful to human beings. Otherwise, since they don’t think like human beings, their behavior will degenerate to the completely unacceptable. Once it gets to that point, they must be brought up short and - because some dogs, politicians, and celebrities can grow fairly powerful – bringing them up short can be an unpleasant affair. For instance, if a mastiff is allowed to grow up unruly, and then one day it attempts to jump at an infant, a human must do whatever is necessary to protect the infant, regardless of any harm that may have to be done to the dog. In such a case the dog may feel ill-treated (if dogs - or politicians or celebrities - can be said to ‘feel’ in the same way humans do) but that’s too damn bad. Just because a dog was never trained properly is no reason to let it hurt a human. Better by far of course to train the beast from puppyhood and thereby avoid the necessity of a Dr. Watson/Hound of the Baskervilles finale.

As to celebrities in particular, if Roman Polanski had been properly trained, he might never have raped that child when he was in his 40’s. Likewise, had Polanski been properly disciplined right on the spot, other celebrities in the pack might not have stupidly concluded that what he did wasn’t wrong. Waiting 30 years to discipline Polanski confused the celebrities, just as it would confuse your cocker spaniel if you slapped it on the snout today for crapping in your living room last week. Dogs, politicians, and celebrities need instant feedback or they cannot learn.

Now we have a big mess on our hands. Celebrities are running around defending child rapists, and their more limited intelligence cannot figure out what’s wrong. This is all due to bad training methodology on our part. It’s almost certain that some members of the current celebrity pack are beyond help and should be turned over to Michael Vick for disposition. It also seems clear to me that future celebrities will need a far more consistent discipline if there is to be any chance – even a slim one – of salvaging the breed at all.

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