Dog Shows and the Illusion of Order

I spent two nights last week watching the Westminster Dog Show with several other contributors to this blog. There were a few conversations about how immoral and sometimes cruel dog-breeding can be and about all the other ways in which this spectacle might be offensive: You have to be a certain kind of rich to even partake. And it’s a kind of objectification that most of its viewers would find objectionable in any other context. The most analogous “sport” or contest I can think of has to be the child beauty pageant. But I won’t go into that or into the ethics of the breeding.

What I really want to write about is how this contest purports to sort and rank among the thousands of dogs that are escorted around that stage every year.

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