Applying Character Traits: Dog lovers, please help.

It happens every year.  The winner of the Westminster Dog Show gets described in terms of their style and  character, and I just can’t see why it applies.  It’s presented as though the top dog wins because of their style and character, but one gets the eery sense that the dog wins and then the  traits are just invented.

Surely that’s wrong.  My puzzlement here might be just like that of people who swear there’s no different between red plonk and anything else.  So let’s try:  why does this set of description

Malachy is not a speedy dog. While his six competitors sped around the ring at Madison Square Garden, Malachy moved so deliberately that he only had to make a half circuit on the green carpet. It did not matter. Beneath his long coat and lion’s mane — and behind that distinctive pushed-in face — was the club’s ultimate champion…

“He’s a very happy dog,” Fitzpatrick said. “He’s an extrovert in the ring.”

Malachy defeated the other toy dogs Monday and had 24 hours to relax. “I kept him quiet all day to save his energy for tonight.”

Last year, Malachy also made it to Best in Show, but lost to a Scottish deerhound.

Malachy’s a little more mature this year,” said Fitzpatrick, who had a broken arm last year.

Iris Love, also a co-owner, said that she was wearing a yellow blouse in Malachy’s honor, one that is sprinkled with images of a dragon, which is her dog’s insignia.

“This is the year of the dragon,” she said, then proclaimed: “We are in the presence of an imperial Pekingese. That doesn’t happen very often.”

Fitzpatrick knows that his Pekingese was a bit different from the other dogs. He is small, about 12 pounds. Maybe a half-pound of it was hair. But when he was asked about Malachy’s clear lack of speed, he responded with a bit of testiness about his dog’s rivals.

“Their gait should be slower,” he said…

But, then, it was the little Pekingese, with his unhurried, short-legged style, who won. “His demeanor was spotless,” Vogels said. “He was flawless.”

apply to this wooly catepillar dog? 

Apologies for the video, but it’s the only one I could find that did the parade that won him the trophy:


Non-philosophers might want to know that there are philosophical questions involved in the issue I am raising.  They have to do with the bases we have for describing each other and then extending the descriptions to members of other species. 

Death by a thousand cuts

Here’s a great piece by Jackie Leach Scully about the UK Government’s attack on welfare support for disabled people. She concludes,

Disabled people are right to be concerned about the practical impacts of government cuts, and right also to be worried about what government spin does to public perceptions of disability. At the heart of both of these is something even more worrying. The current prime minister has said “I passionately believe that the welfare system should be there to support the needy and most vulnerable in our society”, yet the actions of his government demonstrate clearly its willingness to reinforce the persistent idea that disabled people are not the most vulnerable in society, but just the most dispensable.

The Guardian data blog looks at who actually gets DLA (Disability Living Allowance) one of the crucial benefits under threat, and the “Spartacus Report” offers a detailed argument against the Government’s proposals. Our previous post on this suggested ways to take action.

Check the session order at your conferences

Cross-posted from What is it Like.

After I was placed in the very last session of two consecutive conference programs, I started noticing that those very last sessions of conferences, which hardly anyone attends, and last sessions of the day, during which nobody can concentrate, are where most of the female speakers get stuck. Just the latest example I was perusing has 4 female speakers out of 49, and 3 are in the last sessions of the day, 1 in the second last. At least there’s always the old “I have to leave early to get home to my kids” excuse for switching to an earlier session.

I’d love to know how widespread this is, so do tell us in comments!