The ambivalent dog

A bit strange at first but I think that’s what some Biblical, Ancient Greek and academic scholars as well as some anthropologists believe. It’s like how somebody said that dogs are considered ambivalent in Beng communities where they’re associated with treachery but also clairvoyance (good trait) and witchcraft (bad trait) whilst goats and sheeps are solely linked to the later. Logically among Aka Pygmies, although dogs are reliable animals they’re not always treated well (sometimes they’re just not that spoilt due to things like resource scarcity) and even linked to witchcraft.

I mean somebody else used one of these as references for their book on sharing something in New Mexico. (Not to mention it does state that some Native Americans mistreat dogs but I don’t think the others treat animals that badly even if they don’t like them much.) I mean whilst there are Native Americans that do revere dogs well, there are those who do treat them well but not necessarily pedestalise them and there are others who don’t like/trust them to whatever degree.

Something like among some Native American communities (Navajo, Oneida, Mexican) dogs and wolves are linked to witchcraft. But keep in mind not all Navajo, Mexican and Oneida folks think that way too. Logically in Germany, whilst there are people who do cherish their dogs a lot there are those who can’t stand them for whatever reason like predation (some German hunters feel that way even if others own dogs themselves), defecation (no seriously, it’s a big deal there) and the like.

Not to mention dog poisoning’s a big deal in Germany. So much so that Giftkoeder Radar coexists with cynophobic media like Kot und Koeter (Poo and Pooches) and Gegenhund (Antidog). Now somebody already wrote an entire book about the ambivalent nature of dogs in Ancient Greece. To sum it up, it’s not that Ancient Greeks didn’t cherish their dogs before but that dogs seemed to flit between ally and traitor (or parsimoniously pet and pest) as they still do today.

Same thing with Biblical scholarship but I also think certain communities (Aka Pygmy and Beng) give a better idea of how these attitudes emerged. I mean it’s actually possible for women to take their children to hunts since it does happen in Sierra Leone and parts of Republic of Congo. This is probably how the character of Artemis came to be. That and some Pygmies stated to be monogamist and monotheist gives insight into how Judaism came about too.

Black Attitudes to Animals

Keep in mind this may vary between communities, countries and individuals so this might not be true for all black people. Whilst African Americans seem least likely to own pets in general (and think single women who like dogs a lot are lonely), Kenyans and Jamaicans seem to believe in the cat-owning spinster stereotype though the former didn’t have that belief before. Whilst Muslim Nigerians are more likely to tolerate cats, there are at least a few (culturally) Christian Southern Nigerians who do own cats themselves or at least tolerate them.

Not to mention whilst some African communities and churches don’t associate dogs with witchcraft, there are those that do. Something I already pointed out before where Nigerians seem likelier to think cats are witchy, Cameroonians, Ivorians and Ghanaians* are considerably likelier to also associate dogs with the occult. Replace Nigerian with Zulu and Cameroonian with Bapedi and it’s still going to differ between African demographics.

Even within the same country (South Africa).

There are black people who do dote on animals, those who abuse animals and those who own animals but aren’t too affectionate. I actually think some of the things I’m saying about them could also be applied to their white counterparts especially at some point or another. But that would be realising that black people aren’t monolithic and neither are whites.

*I could be half wrong about it but I do recall reports of a Ghanaian witchdoctor who used his dogs to curse a footballer and I’m not making this up.

Animegate?

I think should animegate happen, it would take many more anime professionals to say something wrong about the anime industry right down to tearing down certain beloved historical icons. No seriously, that’s really going to happen. Not to mention, Hideaki Anno even implied that other countries’ animation industries aren’t just improving but also likely to overshadow Japan in time.

I even think Africa’s already going to get better at animation. There’s Aya of Yopougon, Supa Strikas, Super K and Bino and Fino. The next Naruto might be Ghanaian and by then, anime proper’s a musuem piece. Not that Japan won’t stop producing anime but that the main hubs for Asian animation are going to be in China and India. (Potential super powers even and that’s saying.)

By the time another anime professional tears down Osamu Tezuka since Hayao Miyazaki, Animegate would already happened but by then it’s too late to revive Japanese anime en masse. Almost to the point where it’s practically something only old people remember. It’s like why most youngsters today don’t obsess over Lensman and Poul Anderson.

They already had their time in the sun. So will Naruto.

Israel as the corridor to Africa

In some regards, that’s pretty self-explanatory geographically speaking. It’s even speculated that the Afro-Asiatic language family rose in Narfutan or contemporary Israel and Sumeria that through trade and immigration this spread to Africa. This even happened several times over in history. Once with the rise of the Afro-Asiatic languags (which is where Africa got its dogs from, should hunter-gatherers’ dogs turn out to be directly descended from wolves and why they can’t process starch but that may also be true for other rural dogs and the possibility of epigenetics playing a part in having only a few copies of certain genes, especially if they get starved a lot).

Once with Israel or rather Israel’s downfall with several African communities (Tuaregs/Berbers, Bamileke, Igbo, Beja) proclaiming either Jewish descent or are Judacised to varying degrees. (If I’m not mistaken, North Africans do get varying degrees of Sub-Saharan African DNA, though this depends on the community with some like Nubians and Tuareg Berbers and even some Libyan Berbers having more SSA DNA than others.) Once with the rise of the Arabs and partly why African countries (especially those closest to the Sahara) not only have substantial Muslim populations but also use Arabic.

Keep in mind that the degree of Sub-Saharan and West Eurasian DNA varies between communities so it can be either almost equal in some populations, or either one of them’s more substantial. (Though if I’m not mistaken, some Tuaregs are shown to not only have more Sub-Saharan African DNA but are genetically more related to Beja though other Berbers also have SSA DNA too.) This gets even iffier in Egypt though the only Egyptian demographic confirmed to have a substantial degree of SSA DNA are Nubians.

But once the subject of African communities of Jewish communities shows up, it does make you wonder if the Afro-Asiastic and Jewish cultural and genetic contributions might be more extensive than one realises. Not just with those communities proclaiming Jewish descent (some Tuaregs, Bamilekes, Igbos and the like). Also should at least some Bamileke, Akan, Wolof, Hausa, Fulbe and a few others (even some Pygmies thanks to Bantu intermarriage) be somewhat related to Nubians, Beja, Oromo, Tuareg and Amhara that might confirm other people’s claims of them being of Egyptian descent.

Indirectly or not, but once Jewish communities in those countries get brought up, that’s realising how far-reaching the Afro-Asiatic influence is whether through religion (Judaism and Islam especially), immigration (which is how it started) or genetically.

The irony of dog domestication

I suspect the real problem with how some know about dog domestication’s that they wouldn’t even consider that dogs were considered vermin (and are sometimes still regarded as such, even by European hunters and dog poisoners). That’s even there in various old texts to varying degrees as is the disdain for stray dogs and mongrels. (Mongrels and stray dogs go hand in hand, whilst not always the case, it does help explain why any degree of straying also lends to any degree of mongrels especially in the countryside.)

Some communities even have beliefs about dogs being traitors and most notably among the Ivorian Beng in one study and the Ancient Greeks in another. (Some Aboriginal communities have beliefs about dingo dogs as tricksters bringing death and misfortune.) The fact that stray dogs still exist, especially in the countryside and anywhere with substantial greenery or slums wrecking havoc on game animals and livestock as well as owned dogs straying at will (to any extent) along with the accompanying distrust or abuse hints at commensalism. Or at least what the Coppingers pointed out.

Not to mention that dogs also scavenge a lot, whether if it’s often unintentional (moreso in places where there’s no toilets around and sometimes with reports of dogs eating dead owners) or sometimes deliberate especially if they’re given leftovers (some households still do this). There are even reports of people feeding stray dogs so it still proves the Coppingers’ points about dogs being commensals. Especially in that they stray at will when convenient (same with cats) and cause problems (same with cats too).

I even think dogs are comparable to monkeys in that they’re both highly intelligent, adaptive and annoying at times not to mention being fed and owned by humans. There are even monkey training schools in Thailand and Malaysia with monkeys being trained to catch coconuts. There are people who do bother owning and taming monkeys, go as far back as the Middle Ages and Ancient Egypt (when it comes to babboons and even hyenas, a practise that’s revived among some Nigerians). There aren’t just obese cats and dogs but also obese monkeys (who’re similarly spoilt and overfed). The reports of cats, dogs and monkeys being frequently vaccinated in parts of Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola suggests that there’s a considerable number of monkey owners there.

And the most successfully domesticated macaque’s the Rheseus Macaque if because they’re frequently used in laboratories (same with cats and certain dogs, especially Beagles). This is pretty much where the comparison of dog domestication to sheep fails. Not that sheep are any less annoying but reports of sheep pestilence’s rare compared to simian, feline and canine pestilence. Heck if stereotypes of old maids are any indication cats, dogs and monkeys being spinsters’ pets isn’t always because these were meant for companionship. But since lapdogs and mongrels were sneered at a lot, there’s a real difference between pets domesticated for a truly useful purpose (which is why sheep aren’t going to be spinters’ pets) and misplacing any affinity for humans onto pets (stray cats and dogs as well as lapdogs).

Mongrels were pests and lapdogs were annoying nuissances because people used them in lieu of human relationships (hence accusations of bestiality and being unwilling to do parental responsibility to children and people in general). Monkeys were also spinsters’ pets and have been fed by people so this should put dogs closer to commensals proper for these reasons.

Africa, Europe’s twin

I actually think that Africa is in some regards early modern Europe’s twin and much more so in some places whether in terms of additions to dogs and dog owners (Cameroon, Uganda, Ghana, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Zambia and possibly Ethiopia when it comes to certain religious communities and to an almost stereotypical extent, the Maghreb, Mali and Niger though Taiwan and Russia are closer), degree of female illiteracy (it’s still a thing there) or most notably strong belief in witchcraft.

Early modern Europe was rocked by witchcraft crazes a lot, driven in part by politics and religion. I actually think since the fear of witchcraft’s taken more seriously in Africa along with relatively low female literacy/education rates and curiously odd attitudes to dogs and dog owners (though this may not be universally consistent and same for cats), it gives a better idea of what early modern Europe’s like. (Though I still think the Taiwanese suspicion towards female stray dog feeders’s relatively comparable to the European suspicion to female lapdog owners.)

Not always exactly nor consistently the case but close enough to what Europe was like both religiously, culturally and economically.

Not really any better

That’s not to say I condone Islam but at other times it seems the Islamophobia’s gotten way too much whilst ignoring that their (sometimes non-practising) Christian counterparts aren’t any better either. This also ignores that there are some Muslims that don’t just highly revere Jesus but also either host Crypto-Christians and/or have assimilated a lot of Christian beliefs and practises. These are even plentiful in parts of Iran as well as Syria and Turkey. (Turkey used to be a Christian country and still has Christians.)

Now as for the Christian side, there were reports of medieval Irish nobility having multiple wives (same thing can be said of some of their Cameroonian counterparts to my knowledge). There’s also another report of a Cameroonian village beating up dogs for thinking they’re witches. There are also Cameroonian, Ghanaian, Ugandan, South African and Ivorian churches associating dogs with witchcraft. Russian Orthodox churches don’t allow dogs.

And so do some Christian households but that doesn’t necessarily mean they hate dogs, they’re more cautious about hygiene. Not to mention dog poisoning’s a big deal in German-speaking countries and they’re often carried out by non-Muslims. (Cats were at some point regarded as dirty in some Irish churches and they still are in not only Coptic churches but also among Alevi Muslims, the latter being suspected of either Christian syncretism or Crypto-Christianity.)

Not that Islam’s not any better but I think the tendency to ignore one’s own vice and the other Muslims (and Turks) who could be Crypto-Christians and even out Christians makes it harder to regard things objectively.