1. “Talk to the Animals.” In his latest Laser Age column, Keith Phipps on human/animal relationship.
“It’s a final misogynistic twist in a tale dripping with misogyny, one that prompted science-fiction writer and critic Joanna Russ to write a lengthy evisceration whose opening paragraph declared, ’I proclaim publicly right here that sending a woman to see A Boy And His Dog is like sending a Jew to a movie that glorifies Dachau.’ It’s also self-aware enough to suggest irony has been hardwired into it, though this interpretation might be overly kind. (The film’s awful final line, which Ellison hated, to say nothing of the contrast between Ellison’s typically sharp writing and Jones’ relatively pedestrian direction, makes it a little easier to read it this way in the source material.) Vic leaves a surface world in which women have become an endangered species, and joins an underground world made to resemble an idealized—and deeply patriarchal—American past. Both worlds are, in their own way, awful, and both are awful places to be a woman. Not that the dim-bulb Vic gives much thought to such issues. He begins the film as an unrepentant rapist. He ends it by feeding the first woman to awaken tender thoughts in him to his dog, locking him forever in a post-apocalyptic nightmare version of the boy’s-own-adventure tale suggested by the title. Blood isn’t Vic’s Jiminy Cricket, he’s a shaggy Tinkerbell. The boy will never grow up.”