Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Speaking of Nazis, Let's Discuss Dogs

First, a director sympathized with Hitler in Cannes. Then, a dog nursed baby ligers in a Chinese zoo. Now, in a bizarre instance of synchronicity, a new book reveals that Nazi scientists tried to create an army of talking dogs.

Among his other brilliant initiatives, Hitler opened a number of “animal talking schools” so that dogs could be taught to read, write and speak. Here is an excerpt from a Time article detailing some of the supposed accomplishments of the canine pupils:

An Airedale terrier named Rolf became a mythic figure of the project after teachers said he could spell by tapping his paw on a board (the number of taps represented the various letters of the alphabet). With that skill in hand, he mused on religion, learned foreign languages and even asked a noblewoman, "Can you wag your tail?” Perhaps most outlandish is the claim by his German masters that he asked to serve in the German army because he disliked the French. Another mutt barked "Mein Fuhrer" when asked to describe Hitler. And Don, a German pointer, is said to have imitated a human voice to bark, "Hungry! Give me cakes!" in German.

With respect to the late Terence McKenna, I think these events signified the end of Timewave Zero. As if this dog school business wasn’t enough, the article keeps shelling the reader with mind bombs (yes, mind bombs):

Germany's love of dogs may have blinded the Nazis to the outlandish goals of their project. "Part of the Nazi philosophy was that there was a strong bond between humans and nature. They believed a good Nazi should be an animal friend," Bondeson says. "Indeed, when they started interning Jews, the newspapers were flooded with outraged letters from Germans wondering what had happened to the pets they left behind."

I’ve heard of people liking their dog more than their neighbor, but this just takes the concept of animal favoritism to absurd extremes. It seems the Nazis were kind of like a twisted version of PETA on steroids, although some would argue that no qualifiers are necessary in that comparison.

In its conclusion, the article blasts the reader in the face with a final bizarre factoid:

Hitler, a well-known dog-lover, had two German Shepherds named Blondi and Bella. He killed Blondi shortly before killing himself in 1945.

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