Most of New York Magazine's April profile of actress Eva Mendes is devoted to her refusing to talk about things.
She doesn't want to talk about her role in her boyfriend Ryan Gosling's upcoming movie ("I don't want to disclose anything"); she doesn't want to talk about how she and Gosling met ("That's where I start to shut down"); she doesn't want to talk about whether she wants kids: ("I'm so out of here!"); she doesn't want to talk about why she mumbles to herself that an antique store's wooden Satan curio is "interesting" ("Sorry! It's a private moment.")
Pretty much the only thing Eva Mendes wants to talk about is how she doesn't want other people to talk about her dogs. She doesn't want people to know what they look like. She doesn't want people to know their names. Won't someone think of the dogs, but not my dogs, specifically, by name? cries Eva Mendes.
She wishes that tabloids would blur the faces of their dogs, Hugo (hers) and George [Gosling's], in photos, like British papers do to kids' faces. "I'll go somewhere and they'll be like, ‘Hey, Hugo!' and I'm like, ‘How do you know Hugo's name? That's so creepy!' "
Perhaps one of the reasons people know Hugo's name is that his owner, Eva Mendes, goes on programs like The Late Show with David Letterman and tells everyone not only his name, but different situation-specific variations of his name.
"His name's Hugoooo," Mendes cooed to Letterman during a promotional appearance on his show last week. "Well, ‘Ugo' if I'm upset or need to give him a command," she added, as though this detail were interesting.
Let's be clear: David Letterman didn't trap Eva Mendes into revealing her dog's name. Eva Mendes went into her brain's card catalog of TV-appropriate stories and selected the one reading:
Dog, Hugo the
A Life in Fur: Stories to Charm America/ by Hugo the Dog; edited by Eva Mendes.—
New York: Mendes PR, c. 2013.
1. Adorable stories - animals. 2. Relatable stories - pets. 3. Guard dogs. 4. Shock collars – defense of.
But let's imagine for a moment, a wild world in which Eva Mendes never exploited stories about her exciting life as a dog owner (I have a dog! Haha, what a dog do I have.) in order to enhance her commercial likeability. Let's imagine that dogs, like children of the Real Housewives during reunion show tapings, are a topic that is "off-limits, Ramona." Let's imagine a world in which all photographers are banned from taking pictures of celebrities' dogs; in which all media publications are forced to blur out the dogs' faces before publishing.
How does this protect the dogs' anonymity?
The thing about dogs, if we may flirt with racism for a minute, is that within a certain breed, they all look pretty much alike. If you have a German Shepherd-looking dog, as Eva Mendes does (hers is technically a "Belgian Malinois," but if you see one walking down the street, you'll probably think "German Shepherd?"), that German Shepherd is going to look roughly identical to every other German Shepherd. It's as if your German Shepherd has 500,000 twins living in the United States alone.
So, even if a magazine blurred out your dog's face, we still know what your dog looks like. Look, I just found a picture of him sitting next to himself.
But let's say that we are somehow unable to piece together what a specific dog looks like using the billions of photographs of dogs available on the Internet. We will still recognize Eva Mendes' dog every time we see him out and about with Eva Mendes, because the defining feature of Eva Mendes' dog is not his distinctive face, but the fact that he is the only dog walking next to Eva Mendes.
Otherwise, what is the alternative? That, every time we see Eva Mendes with a dog in real life, we assume she has stolen someone else's pet because her dog has that trademark blurry face? As long as it's Eva Mendes walking that dog, it's going to pretty clear whose dog that is.
While we've got a dialogue going, does Eva Mendes' dog even understand that his privacy is being invaded? Does he look up at the moon every night with his big brown eyes and sigh "I just wish I could keep a piece of me for myself?"
Does Eva Mendes ask him what's wrong?
Does he respond, "Sorry! It's a private moment"?