Here’s Why All Dogs Go To Heaven

1 Dec

Do any of you remember that Disney movie “All Dogs Go to Heaven”? Short synopsis: Charlie B. Barkin, a trampy german shepherd, gets into some bad gambling debts which land him into  trouble with an evil dog villain called Carface Carruthers and he ends up double crossed, and dead.  He finds himself in heaven by default, since All Dogs Go To Heaven. He cons his way back to earth because he wants to make good on his debt, teaming up with his old buddy Itchy, a paranoid,  hyper-active dachshund who helps to avenge the wrong done to Charlie by the despicable pitbull Carruthers.

Along the line, he rescues a girl called Anne-Marie from the clutches of Carface, who had been using her ability to talk to animals to predict the outcome of races. Charlie is then tempted with the idea of using Ann-Marie for the same nefarious purpose, but then he catches feelings and decides to give the poor little human girl a chance at liberty.

The premise of the whole movie is the statement made by the heavenly Whippet who guards the Pearly Gates , who says that all dogs go to heaven because “Dogs are naturally kind”. But the movie is quite the opposite, with all the dogs being slimy, skeevy portrayals of a stereotypical human criminal underclass. The only “naturally kind” person in the movie is Anne Marie, a human, who is finally the one to reform Charlie enough for him to be sent back to heaven. Even for Disney, the racial and colonial undertones are well, overtones. This movie was made in 1989 but you can see the same message being played out in the Narnia series, where it takes a bunch of “human” children to whip a kingdom of animals into an era of order, peace and prosperity. All you need to do is substitute the word animals with the word savages or natives, and hey presto, the racist truth.  Because what are savages but sub-human? And what does  the word sub-human basically denote? Something that is less than human, that is animal.

Children’s cartoons are now allowed to convey the vocabulary that mainstream media has been injuncted from by various human  rights groups. A subversive message of intellectual superiority disguised as brightly coloured and  digitally enhanced visuals. To buttress this argument, let’s try to answer the question why most cartoon characters are based around animals, or mythical creatures, or anything that is basically not human?  Because even though these characters  are human stereotypes, it would land these companies into a world of hurt if they showed them for what they really, truly are. Imagine if the crows from Dumbo, or King Louie from the Jungle Book had been portrayed as human rather than animal? Or lets figure out Shrek, hmmm….an angry Ogre with a Scottish accent?  Who wants equal rights? No, no, that’s not imperialist at all!  And of course we don’t blame Aladdin for the fact that EVERYONE confuses a man in some sort of turban for a terrorist these days. Doesn’t matter that the Sultan of Agrabah looked less like a militant  islamist and more like a sweet happy Sikh who just wanted his daughter to hold her own once he wasn’t around to look after her.

Anyway, All Dogs Go to Heaven got it right and it also got it wrong. It said that all dogs are naturally kind, but then it didn’t show any dogs that were naturally kind, and that’s why the movie bombed, I think.  It couldn’t cash in the check that the title wrote out in such a bold font. It took something that is intrinsically true of canine nature, and then had to subvert it to human nature.

So here’s why I think All Dogs Go To Heaven. Yes, it is because they are naturally kind.  Dogs are kinder than children. A child may make torture another child because he/she is bored and doesn’t know any better, but a dog is incapable of doing so.  The emotion of Schadenfreude: delight in another’s misfortune, is completely alien to the canine species as a whole, and if that’s not a ticket to the Pearly Gates, or Moksha, or Nirvana, I don’t know what is.

Even though I’ve waxing eloquent on the virtues of dogs for two pages or more, I need to add this one last thing. I’ve had a dog every single day of my waking life. The day I was born, our dog Ringo, a very slobbery Boxer decided to make his way up to heaven. Then there was our needy Irish Setter, Red (yeah he was red so we named him Red, god what an annoying animal) and then Gina who adopted a goat, and Buster, a bull terrier who used to get such bad lockjaw that you had to throw a pail of water before he’d let go of any poor stray animal, and Milo, a Labrador who liked to eat eggshells and plastic bags, and Nelson, another Boxer, who likes to chase butterfly shadows, and Stooey, our Dachshund who falls in love with every new maid who comes to work in our house, (by the way, Stooey was the only one at my Dad’s funeral, who’d bark at his picture and wag his tail) and Lisa my Basset Hound who will kiss you only if she’s in a good mood, to Chamko, my pariah, who makes strange shrieking sounds every time the husband parks his car, to Biggie my German Shepherd, who is, well an ass, who I had to torture everyday when he was two months old with an IV two times a day for three weeks because he had parvovirus, and who had a frickin’ seizure on the vet’s table, and who still jumps onto my bed three times a day to say hi. Phew.

How could dogs not go to heaven? If a place does so exist.  Or if you believe in spiritual evolution, then I hope that my last incarnation is that of a dog, preferably a Rottweiler, so at least before I die, I can literally bite someone in the ass!


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