This article by acclaimed novelist and essayist Paul Theroux talks about the folly of anthropomorphizing animals; he thinks it's pretty bogus to impose human thoughts, emotions and yearnings onto critters. My family and I are all about doing cutesy ventriloquist acts with our pets, imposing silly voices on them and presuming to explicate their thoughts. A couple years back it struck me that all the words and tones of voice we'd superimposed on our pets were alien to the pets themselves, and obscured rather than revealed their real personalities. I still play this silly game with animals, but I want to clear it away. If I stop playing these neo-con games with animals I may learn something from them. As Theroux points out, the game in question is all about making animals an extension of ourselves instead of really paying attention to them.
I love cartoon animals, and that seems relevant to this subject somehow, but I'll save that for a later post.