Saturday, October 23, 2010


Nobody will be surprised to hear me say that, in my eyes, Sophia and Fitzroy are a beautiful pair of dogs.

Ever since Christine and I brought him down from his Alpine birthplace, on September 3, Fitzroy has been a very cuddly animal, both because of his soft fur and, above all, because he seems to be happy when he's seated on my knees, in the sun. So, a lot of time, I have a back view of Fitzroy's head.

Seen from this angle, Fitzroy reminds me of the dolls called Golliwogs, which were popular when I was a child. The French composer Claude Debussy wrote a piano piece named Golliwogg's Cake-Walk, performed here by the guitarists Julian Bream (left, British) and John Williams (Australian):

We are now widely aware that this woolly-headed depiction of an African cake-walker has racist connotations, alas, linked to the horrifying phenomenon of slavery. Besides, the "wog" syllable (derived innocently from the verb "to wiggle") evokes the ugly term employed by Australia's "chick chick boom girl", seen here doing her act:

For all these reasons, and inspired by the rear view of Fitzroy's head, I suggest that "Golliwog" be replaced from now on by a new word, Wollidog, derived from "woolly dog". It goes without saying that, if toy manufacturers were to start producing fuzzy Wollidogs, the facial features of these new-style dolls should cease to look anything like our black genetic cousins from Africa. They would remind us rather of Fitzroy.

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