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I’ve been traveling again this past year, airborne every few weeks or so, and the evidence would indicate that the number of apparently insecure and damaged Americans who need security animals, mostly smallish dogs who, it seems to me, wouldn’t be worth a damn in providing anybody any real protection in an actual crisis, has metastasized exponentially.

I have learned to keep my instant existential dread to myself when I see a baby boarding with young parents on a long flight, despite my hard-earned knowledge that modern mom and latter-day dad will all too likely deploy reasoning, good-natured suggestions, and binkies to encourage their darling or buddy to please shut the fuck up, to no real avail.

You can never really know how well eyes can be averted until you’ve watched young parents ignore the glares of their fellow passengers as their child behaves as if it’s just another night at home, with mom and dad colluding with their offspring in this delusion.

But the idea of spending hours hurtling through the clouds with dogs yipping, alone or with their fellow travelers, is a bridge too far. And the looks of insolent indifference from the vulnerables, which I’ve noticed is the primary reaction to the reproving stares of those of us traveling pet bereft, speaks volumes about the ongoing culture of narcissism.

I love my dogs. But really now.

This weaponizing of fragility—either real, imagined or simply “I want to take my dog everywhere, so fuck you” fraudulent—besides representing a newly evolved brand of emotional blackmail, implicitly demonstrating by its presentation of vulnerability the insensitivity of the rest of us, seems to me to give aid and comfort to an enemy who regards so overt a performance of sensitivity as a moral and physical weakness, not to mention outright comical and silly, and will all too likely successfully weaponize it right back at its purveyors.

As ever, I remain,

Howard Victor Chaykin…A Prince…


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