At this point in my life, as a general rule, I choke back small-ball outrages—particularly in the sometimes infuriatingly malleable realm of language. This restraint is necessary because energy’s in short supply and must be conserved for actual struggles, injustices, and associated bullshit. It’s hard enough, most days, just to wrestle the bed covers away and stare down life’s myriad demands and disappointments. This now-constant need for restraint is a big part of why I don’t write as many condensed arguments or rants—for this site, or anywhere, really—as I once did. But for now, let’s cast that aside as I note, pointedly, that not everything has to be excessively cute.
Specifically, dogs. I mean, dogs are great! It’s great that dogs exist, and that some of you own them, or even breed them. On Thanksgiving Day I sometimes watch that dog show. Used to be a dog owner myself. Dig all those photos of dogs you post. (Please keep posting them!) Some of these dogs are mature and grown, and so they’re dogs. Some of these dogs are younger or newboard, and so they’re puppies. They all have names and so it makes sense to refer to them as Rover, or Marquese, or whatever. Cool, cool. Use your dog’s name, or caption a snapshot of your wiped-out canine something like “My puppy is unimpressed by your faux-bougie irony” or “Man’s best friend not gonna fetch today, snitches.” Please, please, please don’t say “doggo.”
I’m not sure when or how “doggo” became the go-to social media descriptor for our four-legged friends; lately, though, it’s inescapable. A little piece of me dies every time I see it. At some juncture, “dog” became not enough, in the same sense that “baby” or “babe” became too much, begetting “bae”—which, thank God, seems to be fading from the larger popular vernacular. When you make the leap from “dog” to “doggo,” you’re appending an unneeded extra syllable and making yourself work a little harder for no appreciable reward beyond broadcasting your own tackiness. I mean, you didn’t come up with “doggo” right? You came across it somewhere and incorporated it into your personal lexicon, alongside other similarly dumb phrases like “photo geek” and “life hack” and “bazinga!” Stop the madness.