Recently I was scratching my dog’s butt. He likes it quite a bit.
To be clear, I’m talking about the area above his tail, really analogous to the lower back on a human.
Most dogs like being scratched there. Porthos really loves it and often demands, sweetly (with big brown begging eyes) a scratch.
My friend Norman noticed and said “my cat likes being scratched there as well.”
I said, “how does it make you feel?” Scratching my dog’s butt is nice because it’s nice for him but it doesn’t really feel like I’m getting much out of it. His head is faced away from me and I kind of feel like I’m doing him a favor without getting much in return. It kind of feels like I’m giving him pleasure in an obligatory way.
Norman replied, hilariously, “it’s a little like fan service.”
I understood what he meant, exactly.
Kind of like how superhero movie makers have to put in certain references for the die-hard fans of the original comic books. These tidbits don’t serve the story or flesh out the characters. They just bring jolts of recognition to those of us who read about these characters 22 pages at a time back in the late 70s.
Scratching my dog’s butt is pandering and it feels good for him just like Flash Thompson in Spider-Man feels good for me. If you know what I mean you know what I mean. If you don’t, it really doesn’t matter.
Here are some other things that I love guiltily because I feel like I’m being pandered to.
This format/station plays exactly what I want to hear every time I turn it on. I don’t do it that often because it makes me hate myself for being so predictable. I thought I was an individual with wide and divergent taste but it turns out I’m just part of a demographic that loves REM, Prince, The Rolling Stones and Daft Punk and then is delighted to hear my favorite Soft Cell and Def Leopard songs that I didn’t know I wanted to hear (but Jack did).
It makes me feel dirty.
Ready Player One
I’m talking about the book which was not really very cinematic but was really aimed precisely at geeks who were born in the sixties.
I’ve never resented loving something so much.
Me First and the Gimme Gimme’s
I just discovered this band. They do punk covers of decidedly non-punk songs and it’s fantastic. Take the catchy melody of and touching lyrics of “Seasons In the Sun” and shred away the shmaltz with heavy drums, crunching guitars and howling vocals.
And it makes me feel dirty.
And I love it.
Please keep scratching my butt.