Monday, August 20, 2012

The secret message of Go, Dog. Go!

As the political pundits turn their attention to deciphering the agenda of the candidates and looking for "hidden clues" into just who these candidates are, I turn my attention to a children's classic.  After reading P.D. Eastman's Go, Dog.  Go! for the 90th time, I feel uniquely qualified to reveal the "hidden" message from within this text.  It's a message that has been staring me in the face the other 89 times I read it to my children, and yet this time somehow it stood out more clearly.

Ready?  Here it is: this book is all about how men control relationships, and how hats, not food, are the gateway into our hearts.

Don't believe me?  How does the book end?
A male and female dog driving off into the sunset wearing goofy hats.  Right.  And how did we get there?  A series of encounters between these two dogs and hats.

The first encounter, a casual conversation while walking:
"Hello!"  "Hello!"  "Do you like my hat?"  "I do not."  "Good-by!"  "Good-by!"  She's clearly disappointed that he didn't like that hat, "I was assured this was of the latest fashion!"  The male dog isn't wearing a hat.  As the story progresses she, attempting to capture his interest, will continue to challenge her local milliner for the finest headgear to catch the eye of the yellow canine.  He, meanwhile, will say, "huh.  That was random.  I have a sudden hankering for a hat," and visit his local hatter.
Second encounter, now on scooters: 
"Hello again."  "Hello."  "Do you like my hat?"  "I do not like it."  "Good-by again."  "Good-by."  Note the "hello again."  She's making sure he remembers that they've spoken before: "remember me?  Check out this doozy I have on my noggin."  But, again she's disappointed, "Curses!  I thought for sure the feather would win him over!"  He now is wearing a bowler, and as he scoots away has stolen her feather.  Racy.
Third encounter, on the ski-slopes:
"Hello again."  "Hello."  "Do you like my hat?"  "I do not like that hat."  "Good-by again."  "Good-by!"  Having gone skiing, they're both wearing weather-appropriate hats.  His is short and conservative.  Hers long and goofy--attention grabbing and impractical.  However, he shrugs her off and zooms down the hill, leaving her to grumble "good-by" as she heads back to murder her stylist.
Final meeting, at a party on a tree:
"Hello again.  And now do you like my hat?"  "I do.  What a hat!  I like it!  I like that party hat!"  One can only almost imagine the disdain and snarkiness of her comment, "And now do you like my hat?"  But!  Instead of the disappointment we've come to expect, her ridiculous hat is met with success!  We have a winning combination!  The guy is even wearing a fairly silly hat.  Maybe it's because they're both drunk from the "big dog party," or maybe it's just that hats have a secret seductive quality.
So what's the rest of the book?  A bunch of stuff to distract you from the real message!  Don't be deceived.  P.D. Eastman clearly has a hat fetish.