Friday, 17 March 2017

"Ooow-ow-ooow-owow!" The Life of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov

Nothing’s new.

Bulgakov apprehended shortly after the Russian Revolution that a Communist’s only aspiration, the foundation without which nothing else is possible, is the destruction of the individual. The tragedy confronting us ninety-two years after its publication, in 1925, is our current propinquity, perilously so, to the cultural conditions that unleashed the greatest firestorm of identity politics ever known, consuming millions of lives in the twentieth century and which today we laughably refer to as socialism, as though there was ever anything civil or sociable about it.

With overt criticism impossible, Bulgakov penned a satire, the central plot point of which was the testicular transfer from man to dog. And there you are, our new Soviet man; Sharikov, a dog who thinks he’s human because he has a pair of human balls.  

And to today. 

How many contemporary cultural commissars can we identify in the titular protagonist, Sharikov the dog, the recipient of Bulgakov’s fantastical reproductive reassignment? Who are the modern dogs in our midst, with the balls of men but the mien of street mutts? Which of our public intellectuals, like Sharikov, act like men, but bite and froth and chase cats into the toilet, who eat at the table but seek only to knock down, to undermine, what men have built?

Here’s a preliminary list of dogs au courant, who possess men’s balls, but stink of wet fur and piss, who shit everywhere, and bark repeatedly at their betters.

I present, our twenty-first century Sharikovs.

  • Al Gore: testicles may have withered and fallen off
  • Richard Dawkins: plummy accent can’t hide the scrotal scars
  • John Stewart: initial triumph, but yaps excessively when excited
  • Slavoj Žižek: failure to contain excessive drooling
  • Michael Moore: transplant failure, obesity resulting from lack of testosterone
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates: canine gonads still attached
  • Rachel Maddow: balls excised, replacement pair unavailable (neither man nor dog, or both; jury out)

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