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Urban Rhythms

Animal Logic

By Wiley Hall III | Posted 7/11/2001

Cats & Dogs, one of the summer film season's surprise hits, was obviously written by dog people. And being dog people, they got the cats all wrong.

Cats & Dogs comically addresses the never-ending cold war between humankind's closest companions, positing that war as a quite real one being waged right under our unwitting noses: The cats are trying to rule the world; dogs, in their role as man's best friend and protector, are trying to stop them. Both sides use space-age gadgetry and an army of highly trained operatives to fight this secret war.

The film is a clever, witty send-up of spy movies, using top-flight computer graphics and puppetry to make the animals appear to talk. It's rated PG and ostensibly aimed at the kiddies, but I believe the movie may be one of the most important works of art of the season.

Allow me to lay a bit of Wiley wisdom on you: Humankind is divided into great opposing camps--men vs. women, liberals vs. conservatives, haves vs. have-nots. But the greatest gulf of all is that between cat people and dog people.

Put simply, dog people are morons, just like the beasts they adore. As an impartial journalist, I have observed that dog people are clumsy, dumb, obsequious, and insecure--which is why they take to animals that will lick their feet, fetch and carry on command, and pose with their privates in the air in front of strangers. I believe dog people would display their private parts to strangers too, if they could.

Cat people, according to most authorities, are creative, strong-willed, and self-assured. Cat people tend to be leaders and innovators. The stuff of greatness lies within them.

Of course, I knew going in that Cats & Dogs would be a movie by dog people, for dog people. For some strange reason, the motion-picture industry has had a longstanding bias against cats. This prejudice is so strong that mice are depicted as the good guys in most cartoons and cats are the villains, as if cartoonists wouldn't go ballistic if they saw a bunch of vermin running about the place. Cats & Dogs could have made a serious statement if its writers and producers had portrayed the feline personality fairly. But being dog people, they didn't have the guts.

I have no problem with cats being cast as villains. Cats possess all the traits of history's great scoundrels. They are self-centered and vain. But no self-respecting cat would ever conspire to conquer the world. One doesn't conquer what one already owns, and cats--even in the face of a mountain of evidence to the contrary--are convinced that they already rule. On the other hand, given enough weaponry, cats would indeed be a serious threat to their owners, and we probably would need ever-vigilant dogs to protect us.

The moviemakers also missed the fact that cats never acknowledge defeat. Cats treat every setback as a nonevent. They turn around, lick their paws, and pretend it never occurred. And even though Cats & Dogs purports to show the secret life of pets, the filmmakers misrepresented both dogs and cats on the subject of names. In the movie, dogs had their private names and their human names. In reality, dogs embrace their human names with pride. Dogs are the Uncle Toms of the animal kingdom. Only cats treat their human labels with the contempt they deserve. Because they are such individualists, cats would hatch brilliant and elaborate schemes, only to see each plot fail when the cats involved decide they don't feel like following orders.

As I've said, this movie is much deeper than it looks. The cartoonish struggle between dogs and cats is an analogy for the struggle between their human counterparts.

You can tell a lot about people from the pets they prefer. Some people gravitate to creatures such as lizards, fish, and frogs. Forget about them; they're nothing but freaks. Some people aren't particular to any animals at all. But they're losers.

The only people who matter are the dog people and the cat people. Impartial journalist that I am, I must report that cat people rule. Dog people are timid, intellectually limited, and born followers--you know, a lot like dogs.

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