There’s been a bit of fuss about this Leunig cartoon lately – humans on social media have been saying nasty things, as they seem to do when they don’t have to sign their names.
I thought it was pretty funny, myself. And spot on.
When The Boss takes me walking in Melbourne (and puts me on a leash, which is not to my liking) we have to watch out for other people walking their dogs and looking at screens, rather than where they are headed.
Instead of being at one with their dog and sniffing the fresh air, they wander all over the place looking at a small screen. Seems to me they do it deliberately so they can pretend not to notice their hounds pooing all over the place. Then they figure they don’t have to pick it up.
The Boss likes to offer them a dog-poo bag to give them the hint but they don’t seem to like that. Of course, once they take a look at me scowling at them they have no choice but to take it.
Then we have to avoid the young mums in leotards on their morning run, thrusting those three-wheeled pushers in front of them, mostly with buds in their ears listening to music. They're a danger to dogs, kids... and old people, like The Boss.
The Boss shoes his head and says they can’t hear anything, including mad cyclists, trams, trucks and cars, or even The Boss grumbling “Watch out!”
And the mad cyclists have music buds in their ears too, so they can’t hear anything either.
These city paths are an unnerving place for a dog, even a fearless hound like myself.
And, as for the mums with pushers looking at their phones, there seem to be more of them than the ones enjoying the sunshine and keeping an ear out for the infant.
The Boss says we need cartoonists who can shine a light on stuff we might otherwise not talk about – or feel uncomfortable about. They can remind us of things we don’t really want to reflect upon but should.
But The Boss says Leunig’s son, Sunny, wrote about the fuss on talk shows and TV shows and the ugly comments on Facebook and Twitter. People said things like “I hope Leunig dies a slow and painful death” and “If I had the chance I would burn Michael Leunig alive.”
The Boss reckons social media has given a voice to the people who once could only write some obscenity on a ballot paper on election day. At the sermon on the mount, they were the ones “who mocked and scoffed.” He says they are kind of people who will get away with things because nobody is looking.
I have to avert his gaze when he says this; I have been known to get away with stuff when he's not looking, like rolling in a dead carp or nicking a chicken leg left carelessly on the kitchen bench.
So I don't claim to be perfect - but I AM fully in the moment. Which, I figure, is what Leuning is talking about. Woof!