There is a new Dog in the Park. It is Slippery and Sneaky and I do not want to Play With It.
Go and Play with Bella, Hergest, says the Owner.
I do not want to play with That Dog, I say, I am too busy Looking at Grass to play with a Dog like that.
Is that because Bella stole your Ball when it was lost in the Bush and then outran you when you tried to Get it Back? asks the Owner.
Certainly not, I say. Although that would have been a Very Good Reason, I say. Because those were not the Actions of a Moral Dog, I say.
I thought they Rather Were, says the Owner. When Bercow steals your ball you chase him to get it back. You have Fun, and you Part as Friends.
That is Different, I say. Bercow is a Seasoned and Respected Dog whose Oratorial Skills are second to None. It is an Honour to have my Ball Stolen by such a Morally Admirable Dog.
Well, when Houdini outruns you, you laugh and Roll Over and wait for him to Come Back, says the Owner, even though he does not always Come Back until he has Been to the Pound, she adds.
Obviously, I say. Houdini is widely acknowledged as the Fastest Dog between here and Epping, except for when he is not between here and Epping because he has already reached the Other Side of Epping.
Okay, says the Owner, but when Caspar, who is the Smallest and Fluffiest Dog in the World, outperforms you in locating the Ball in the Bush you appear grateful for his Expertise.
Of course, I say, Caspar and I have shared Many Adventures. He may be Fluffy but he is the Wisest and Truest of Moral Dogs. I do not add that Caspar is my Morally Equal Sidekick, Fluffy, since this would Betray the fact that I am, in fact, Superdog, and therefore risk All that we Stand For.
Do you think you are being Sexist? Asks the Owner.
I do not know What You Mean, I say.
Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based on Gender, says the Owner. It excludes People on Morally Irrelevant grounds. Sexism can affect anyone, but it mainly affects the way Females are treated. It has been linked to Stereotyping and may include the belief that one sex or gender is intrinsically superior to another. Bella is a Female.
Is she? I say. I hadn’t noticed, I say.
That was about as convincing as Andie McDowell in Four Weddings and a Funeral, says the Owner. You need to remove the Intrinsic Sexism with which your Responses are Tainted.
It is nothing to do with Intrinsic Sexism, I say. There are Rules around Playing with Balls. The Moral Dog cannot extend them to a Girl. They involve Congratulatory Sniffing of the Unmentionable Parts. That is not Morally Irrelevant, It is a Matter of Manners.
I see, says the Owner. You do not like having your Ball Stolen and Being Outrun by a Girl. So you Devise a Bonding Ceremony from which Girls are excluded in order to determine that this Does not Happen.
That is Nonsense, I say. Dogs have sniffed each other’s Unmentionable Parts for Time Immemorial.
Donald Trump thought Locker-Room Talk had been Established as an expression of Maleness since Time Immemorial too, says the Owner, but he just Proved himself to be a Dreadful Sexist Lump. Sexism is not only judging people by their Gender when Gender doesn’t matter, and Treating them Differently through refusing to Play with them. It is also Demonstrated Implicitly through making Rules for Playing to which they Cannot Conform.
I have watched Mulan, I say. I was rooting for her when she Saved China, I say. I have no Objection to being Outrun by a Girl, I say. But there are some Dogs with whom the Moral Dog simply would not Unmentionably Sniff. I cannot change the Conventional Way that We Dogs express Solidarity. It is a Matter of Good Manners. Now Perhaps we can Say no More.
That, says the Owner, is how Sexism Justifies itself. We do not. We cannot. We always have. We cannot change. It is decided. Let us Say no More. As a result there are Ladies who claim that they are Excluded from the Board Room because the Gentlemen complete Crucial Bonding Moments when Visiting the Men’s Room, and chatting whilst they Do as they Must.
That is Disgusting, I say. And you think Dogs are Gross, I say.
It is no better and no worse, says the Owner. It is the Establishment of Gender-Exclusive Bonding Ceremonies such as Mutual Parts Sniffing and Continuing the Debate in the Mens Room that Excludes Ladies in the First Place, says the Owner. It is not an Unfortunate Contributor to the Problem but the Very Root of It. This is why I cannot be a Freemason. It is an Outrage.
Are you suggesting that you could be a Freemason if you could visit the Men’s room? I ask, since I assume that Mutual Parts Sniffing is not Necessary to Membership.
That is Disgusting, says the Owner.
It is no better and no Worse than Bonding in the Gentlemens’ Room, I say. My Point is that if you Want to Bond in the Gentlemen’s Room you could go ahead and do so.
You are being Obtuse, says the Owner. I do not want to be a Freemason because the whole thing is created as a Men’s Room, and because I do not want to have to Roll up my Socks, and because it is Ludicrous to have a Secret Society Founded on Secrets Purely for the Purpose of Excluding Certain People and then to Pretend that its real Purpose is to Do Good Works. Even the fact that it is Created in a Manner such that I do not want to join it is Implicitly Sexist.
I cannot take I any longer, I say. All I wanted was a Peaceful walk in the Park, I say, and to look at the Grass and enjoy a little Peace and Quiet. Instead I am Irrationally Harangued by someone comparing me to Donald Trump and the Freemasons. If it will Stop you Complaining I will go and play with Bella.
I am not Complaining, says the Owner. The Moral Dog is using Gender-Stereotyping Language to redesignate my Rationally Constructed Rant as Irrational Haranging and Complaining. As a Result I feel Even more Complaining Coming On.
I give in, I say. I cannot take it any more. I will go and play.
I should think so, says the Owner, looking suddenly far less Worried about Not being a Freemason than she was before.
It is very embarrassing, having my Ball Stolen by a Girl. And she can outrun me, which is even worse. But it is clear that the Moral Dog is never going to Win This One.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.