Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Cost of Loyalty

I couldn't resist this splendid, eye-catching advertisement for Brown Thomas, Dublin's premier department store. What a great picture! The site itself is very visible from St Stephen's Green and I don't imagine it's cheap. It has always been a "bearer of signs". Dogs of course have their fans. We tend to emphasise their loyalty, but diminish the other aspects of their character. So the massive portrait of the dog fragments it from the real somewhat. It leads me to consider what of the dog is in the imaginary, the real, the symbolic or the concrete? I like to think of the mythological dog Cerberus here. With his three heads, he was the guardian of the Underworld. But the important point about Cerberus was that although he could grant everyone admission, he would not let anyone out again. Maybe this is the thing about the pleasures of such department stores. We don't want to leave. We need an Orpheus to intercede on our behalf and persuade Cerberus with his song.