Marmaduke offensively explained

By me, that is.

In February I linked to a R-rated claim about Marmaduke (but I didn't agree with that opinion).

It turns out there is a blog dedicated to the comic strip, with a different perspective. I have only read about 6 of its entries but it seems clueless to me, as well.

[also see related post about a different dog]

As quaint as it is, the big comic dog has a specific unconscious purpose. This emotional function is indirectly political.

ImageChef.com - Create custom images

To start with, the comic strip concerns the upper-middle-class. Even the juvenile blog implies this, by calling the woman 'Owner-Lady'. The Owner-Man's slippers are another clue.

Do these people want to learn from their pet, or even play with it? ..No, they do not. Why not? Maybe they are just too busy, or maybe they are otherwise fulfilled.

But I do not think so. I think that in the backs of their minds they must somehow grasp a deep truth in the silent animal and want to avoid it, avoid being changed by an interaction. Luckily for them, Marmaduke is to blame for the relationship failure:
See how Marmaduke almost drools in the soup! See how he wrecks Christmas fantasies! See how he won't fetch the stick until he wants to!

I think the strip's fans share the attitudes of the dog's owners. They too want to not become wiser, and Marmaduke's daily mini-degradations are a kind of propaganda to this effect. For fans, the strip is a (fun) defensive fortification along the long line in their war against their own enlightenment.

In one of the cartoons Marmaduke brings a stick to participate in the Christmas tree decoration

About this, Joe M. writes
“Marmaduke is trying to decorate his owner-family's Christmas tree with a bunch of his dog bullshit. Owner-Lady declines his "help" with as much diplomacy as she can muster.”

As ridiculous as it might seem, I believe a metaphor is embedded in the cartoon:
The Christmas tree AS civilization
the ornaments AS contributions to civilization

I believe the cartoonist unconsciously meant it is best if only the upper-middle-class contribute to civilization (maybe even that the lesser beings they own should not).

From his hostility it is clear Joe does not agree (or perhaps his anger is because he unconsciously does agree!). Certainly Joe just wants to feel good. Nothing wrong with that.

Perhaps this is too strong. My point is, the 'tree' needs more 'ornaments' - our society needs more contributions from more people.
In other words, Peace and Love. Am I allowed to post thought around Christmastime?

I find fictional dogs often are substitutes for Buddha and I know enlightenment is not class-war. I mean, imagine if the caption had been 'OK, Marmaduke, well hang your stick and then you and I can watch some TV together'. Wouldn't that have been better?

updated 2007-01-01, then again on 2007-01-04


Gromit is the Buddha

Here is a old-world Buddhist account, with two proper names replaced with the letters X and Y:
"X tested Y to the maximum, but the master was patient, forgiving, humorous and full of love. He never asked X to abandon reason, and he faced all of X's arguments and examinations with infinite patience. In time, X accepted Y, and while he accepted, his acceptance was whole-hearted. While Y predominantly taught duality and Bhakti to his other disciples, he taught X ... the philosophy of non-dualism."
Since Y is described as 'the master' you may have to read it again to see that if moved to a modern world context, Y could be a dog.

My point is, I am pretty sure this is the unintentional, underlying plot for the Wallace & Gromit series!

These entertaining and soothing claymation movies (usually shorts) are often described as 'whimsical'.

I will only mention the 1st one. In it, the regular man (Wallace) announces he is short on cheese and thus will go to the moon to get more. His friend Buddha Gromit is non-plussed. The dog helps him build the spaceship and they successfully go for a lunar cheese picnic.
It it wise to be whimsical?

Even if this is totally wrong, dogs clearly have some special meaning for other people, sometimes involving reincarnation. For instance, see TR's 2005 post and update.

more nonsense
  • Gromit was originally to be a speaking part, but it became clear the clay dog's expressions alone would be sufficent. His meanings are literally wordless, like the Buddha's

  • In the semi-crazy indirectEffect interpretation of the Modern World, cats and dogs have special importance. Cats are prana, while dogs are Buddha

  • The closing credits for at least one of the W&Gs involve rising and falling bunnies. What are bunnies? ..they are rabbits fictionalized and unconsciously infused both with the Buddha and with prana.
    Yes, Easter is about reincarnation (don't get me started).

  • At the very beginning Gromit was to be a cat. This means that Nick Park's self-healing with clay --his creating a dog-that-once-was-a-cat-- follows the natural yoga arc of stumbling upon wisdom when out looking for prana. Sort of.

A lot more could be said, but I will save some for another post.