S-s-i-i-i-T! Kennel. Look! Off! Up!
High5! OooouT, OutOutOutOutOut! Down.
Laydown. Get back! Paygo pa? Not for dogs.
No! and, of course, Blog!
…As far as I can tell, these are the only words my master thinks I know (aside from my name).
The funny part about this is that every dog knows that power is situated in the words we hear… humans tend to think it’s only the words we listen to that matter (like direct commands). Why don’t humans pay more attention to the entirety of what is being said, like dogs do? We remember historically what words mean, and we take into account the context surrounding words. This is what doggies call discourse, and Foucault would, too.
You have to look beyond the statement that is made, between the lines (of course) and also behind the lines… it is only then, in this historical framework of Where do these words fit into the big picture of all eternity? which really, truly matters. Funny I mention “truth” because what we believe “truth” is is a direct manifestation of which words we take to heart. Would you ever capitalize Word? Would you personify it and get to know it? What do you think of the Word becoming flesh?
This is some deep stuff! Are you involved in a power struggle right now? A big one or a little one? Let’s say Elsa and I are raring (that’s what we call “roughhousing” in rural PA), and she bites my ear. What do you think I do? I tap into the bigger picture of the pack. Granted, there are only two in our community and yours might be a bit bigger of a pack (or whatever humans call it… “community” is the secret word, I think). Even with just two entities in a relationship, there are power struggles.
And, Bingo!, a word is spoken when my ear is bitten. I yell “Release!” (because she’s a hunting dog)… and Elsa bows to my exercising a choice of words that taps into her understanding of truth. Foucault would say that my agency for exercising power was productive because I used an existing discourse of truth in Elsa’s eyes: because of her personal subjectivity as a hunting dog, the word “Release!” is like a witness of truth to her. She then behaves in the way I want, quite frankly. This is pretty handy.
And pretty easy to exploit, to be honest with you. I can get my cousin Elsa to do anything I want. And my master! Let’s not even talk about him! I got that boy wrapped around my finger.
So, take a day and hear all that you listen to. I hope this helps you in some of your daily struggles, whatever your subjectivity may be… hound dog, hunting dog, three-legged dog, human, or otherwise.
Oh, and btw, in case you were wondering what “Paygo pa?” means in my opener today, it’s the phonetic way of spelling “Are you hungry?” according to my friend Hank. He understands the Koreans much better than me, and I kinda liked this phrase; my master noticed that I responded well to it when we went to Texas for a visit last summer. Oh, Texas…