Michiko Kakutani--the New York Times' very famous, very harsh
book critic--is not generally one for frivolity. Hence our surprise today at seeing her review
of Andrew O'Hagan's ghostwritten "memoir" about the life of Marilyn
Monroe's dog, Maf, written in the voice of Family Guy's talking cartoon
. Even more amazing is that Kakutani/Brian actually liked
the book. A sampling of Kakutani/Brian's more noteworthy proclamations:
the dog here. You know, the talking dog from Family Guy: best-selling
author, actor, television writer, movie director, song-and-dance ace,
civil rights crusader and, yes, animal companion."
- "Like me, Maf
is a credit to his species. Like me, he refuses to demean himself by
perpetuating the stereotypes of 'the good dog,' the obedient dog, the
unthinking mammal. Like me, he's a cultured hound with a busy mental
life: he knows his literature, his art history, his philosophy. And like
me, he joins Lassie, Rin Tin Tin and Toto in elevating the canine
reputation in as expeditious a fashion as possible."
- "I might
also point out that Maf, again like me, is almost always the sanest,
most reasonable voice in the room. I don't know why it's so often left
to us dogs to put things in perspective--to see what’s obvious or just
plain common sense. Why are humans so stupid? Why are they so blind,
pigheaded and impervious? But I digress."
- "All of us
talking dogs do a little intellectual name-dropping: it's because people
tend to make the worst assumptions about us, treating us like dumb
animals or second-class citizens or something."
- "Of course in
the top-dog department, Maf doesn't come close to having my skills. He
can't drive a car, he can't sing and dance, he hasn't attended college,
and as far as I can tell, he's contributed exactly nada to the
- "I, Brian Griffin, your best-selling competitor and
colleague in the literary trenches, award you for your novel--er,
memoir--a coveted three out of four paws up."
To compare to the tone of the text under review, see this excerpt
from O'Hagan's book. This could be commentary. This could be caprice. This could be Kakutani's most devastating review yet. Your guess is as good as ours.
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