The first version: the animal, the object, signified by the term “dog.” We imagine fur, tongue, eye contact, friendliness in the form of a wagging tail. The name is a collection of associations. The name is not itself attached to the animal, though there are many names for the diverse genus that is dog.
Nevertheless, we think of Gertrude Stein when others assert that a dog is a dog is a dog. In the sense of the object signified by the term, we extend that concept to: a dog is a creature of the hunt, existing in the countryside. Where it belongs.
The other version, to which I have referred in repeated queries, can be found in the apartment below mine.
A dog, in an apartment, in New York City. Where it does not belong. Where it yips. Incessantly.
The first version appeals to the sense of order. Objects signified by dog exist in the countryside. The second version upsets us, multiplying discomfort through aural irritation. Thus a dog becomes not a dog, first by its displacement, and second by its yipping. The act of yippage makes the not-dog other than a not-dog: yippage makes the not-dog an instrument of torture.
Referring back to the first version, we can see that the not-dog does not even come close to the object signified by a dog. Seventeen not-dogs grouped together in the shape of a dog still would not make a dog.
The not-dog, the instrument of torture, is an object resembling a ball of hair that can eat, shit, and yip. This is not a dog.
I cannot dismiss the notion that the sorcery here lies in an operation rendered torturous by the simplicity of its result, but which alone can explain the anxiety produced. Balls of hair should not eat, shit, yip. Such objects of torture should be swept up and discarded with the trash.
Fantasies arise. We imagine we would like to shoot the ball of hair with a miniature pistol (see: This Is Not A Gun) or kick the ball of hair off of the roof of this very tall building (see: This Is Not A Game).
Therefore, the not-dog can be read thus:
* ☛ is not [a dog]
[this] ☛ is not *
Shut the thing up or I’ll call the city.