We are presented with the backyard of Blue Velvet. Nicely fenced in, constrained. Idyllic, though the shrubs against the house are curiously stunted. At first glance, as with all Bil Keene, it's a perfect summer day. Dolly, though, is angry. The dog is drinking the pool water. "Do you wanna get sick, Barfy" she growls, "Jeffy and PJ were swimmin' in there!"

A straightforward comment on gender relations? Hardly. This is Bil Keane at his most mysogynystic.

The portrait (spoof, really) that we're given of Dolly is not so much that of a little girl, but of a Russian female body builder. No neck, thick arms and legs. There is nothing cute or gentle about her. She is the very image of the stereotypical castrating woman complete with pulled back hair. The lines of her hand and back foot are, what Paglia would call, Apolloian. This Dolly looks like she walked straight out of Reifeshtal's Olympia.

Given this, one is tempted to stop. The puzzle has been solved. She is venting her anger against the "dirty" boys on the "stupid" dog, educating him, if you will. But there are two questions that linger.

1) Why is she talking to the dog? The first answer is that Keane is equating her with a dog! The tone of familiarity is not that of master/underling, it is one of peer/peer. This creates a mysogyny that is almost unbearable. One wants to cry out "You're human, Dolly, it's just a dog! Don't let your creator pull you down! Rise up!" A second answer is that the "dog" is touching the sacred waters of "boy country." There is a status quo to be maintained and Dolly, knowing her place, must maintain it.

2) What is she looking at? If you follow the line of her eye, it becomes clear - she is looking at the phallic wagging tail of the dog. A classic case of perpetuating Freud's discredited "penis envy."

It hard to see hard the daily newspapers would ever let this one go through. Such must be the power of Bil Keane.


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