Review Blog

Jan 06 2017

Doug the pug - king of the internet by Leslie Mosier

cover image

Pan Macmillan, 2016. ISBN 9780752266039
(Age: 0+) You don't see many A5 coffee table books, but then pugs are small dogs. Predictably, Doug the pop culture icon, is anthropomorphized by being photographed in a variety of costumes.
A body of research exists which attempts to explain the cute animal or child effect. One study found that viewing cute photos improved concentration in addition to inducing warm and fuzzy feelings. Brain imaging proves that our brains release dopamine when viewing such images. But why pugs? The emotionally needy pug epitomizes Conrad Lorenz's 'baby schema' (infantile features) with their small noses, chubby faces, large eyes and fleshy bodies. It doesn't take a degree in consumer psychology to realize that Doug and myriads of cute animals and babies are amongst the most shared images on social media.
For centuries, frivolous pugs have been a costly and popular fashion statement raising the status of the owner. Undoubtedly, more than one 20th Century fluency can be demonstrated by the Doug the Pug phenomenon, but Doug is probably best viewed and discussed in his natural habitat online rather than on paper.
Deborah Robins

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