Several years ago we took a long hard look at the well-known story in which the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. So compelling was our analysis that there was general agreement, in both vulpine and canine circles, and more broadly, that no further light could possibly be shed on the matter, at least not in our lifetimes.
But lo! What is this? Writing from the fair land of Denmark, Jacob Thoegersen has added a comment to the original potsage [sic] which, frankly, blows the whole thing up a fresh spout. (I don’t think that is a common phrase, or even means anything, but it damned well ought to become part and parcel of our parlance, daddy-o.) To ensure Mr Thoegersen’s contribution does not lie neglected in the archives, here is his comment in full:
I thank you for your review, my dearest Mr. Key, which I think – in broad strokes – sums up the most pertinent questions to students of the story, the ‘pillars’ of our discipline.
I think you will agree with me also that many of the factual questions you raise will in time be answered upon careful scrutiny of video documentation now published (or is that ‘leaked’ one might speculate) about the incident:
I advise all people to see the video and form their own opinions, but in my eyes, the dog appears to be standing, it is of a light brown (cappuccino?) colour, and the fox does indeed appear to be in a somewhat playful mood – if ‘playful’ and ‘mood’ can be properly applied to canines.
Of more interest, perhaps, to students of the story is the new insights the video give about the performance of the actual jump. How many of us, for instance, had in our mental reproduction of the scene envisioned the fox *landing* on the dog. If I am not much mistaken, the photographic evidence of this occurring will spawn much renewed interest, will force us to rethink many interpretation we had come to accept as self-evident, and, we may hope, open up entirely new avenues of research into the psychological implications of the story.
My personal analysis on the history of studies in the dog-and-fox story is that the community can be roughly divided between parabelists, historist and omenists – of course proposing this meta-theory will infuriate many if not all scholars in the field, but alas, so is my burden…:
Parableists see the story as a parable, to be read for its symbolic and moral implications (far too many and multiform to mention here – not least because the emergence of the video, I think we all must now agree, renders the entire avenue of thought untenable). To parableists (or the agniostics if you prefer) it is irrelevant whether the event actually occurred or not; the story has very real social and human significance today irrespectably. Historists see the incident as an actual occurrence of the past; omenists, on the other hand, see it as prophetic vision of a future, possibly, messianic event (not unlike the less well researched story of the lamb lying down with the lion published in a much inferior literary piece of drivel whose name momentarily slips my mind but which may be familiar to your readers).
The new video evidence should feed much renewed interest in the two latter schools of thought: Is this the final proof that the quick brown fox did indeed jump over the lazy dog – and when and where did this then happen..? Or is this the sign that Armageddon is upon us? I think we all agree that we are living in intensely interesting – what could be traumatizing – times. I for one shall sleep little while this new evidence is being scrutinized in labs and offices around the world.
As to the implications for our field as such, I believe this could be the time that lay people, average Janes and average Joes around the world, realize that we are not, emphatically not, crackpots and monomaniacs. Our studies have very serious and very real implications for the future of mankind. I foresee a future of even more specialized journals and conferences, and perhaps even an international newspaper dedicated to fox-and-dog’ology. I foresee a future where any serious national newspaper worthy of its name will have a daily section or a weekly supplement on current trends and new findings on a par with their treatment of business, culture, weather, TV and politics. I foresee in other words, brothers and sisters, a future where we will receive the same media coverage as our colleagues and rivals in dogs-on-skateboard’ology. I have always held that an important component in their media flair was the constant outpouring of new photographic evidence which is only too eagerly lapped up (if you will excuse the pun) by newsrooms.
These are exciting times, Mr. Key, and I trust you will follow the development closely in your show. You have always been a leading light in independent coverage of the news the people really want to know about.
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE : Mr Thoegersen has now added a further, perhaps even more compelling, comment.