Nope, definitely not a cur. Vienna is on loan to see if she fits into our family and life, but after two weeks we are already quite taken with her, and she with us. She is no low, viscious dog, but a lovong member of the family.
The cur is the grumbling, growling, biting dog, the back alley dog, the drooling menace, the lowest of the low. A dog of mixed breed, or unknown parentage, ugly, fearful yet aggressive, angry but yet a true coward.
The cur doesn’t discern, but simply lashes out, bites and runs away. The cur hides in darkness, in shadows, is easily whipped by the masters tongue, and grovels to the one who feeds.
As a child I heard this term used as a putdown on a number of ocassions, listening to the men talking at the BBQ, now and again an absent man would come into discussion (isn’t that the way of it? To analyse and disect the absent ones) and I have a memory, that some were described by the epithet cur, or its equivalent mongrel! “That bloke’s just a lying cur.” “He’s just a no-good mongrel.” “He’s just a bastard.”
Something in me would twinge, I felt for the absent ones. Was this how we were all described when absent? Was this the sum view of all who didn’t fit this group? Besides, I knew some of these ‘curs’ and I didn’t share that view! Ever since I have puzzled over the way we tend to use comparison, to take nature and make it a negative description of a person. You pig, you scaredy cat, you cow, you dog, you wounded duck, you silly goose and so on. It all rolls easily off the tongue, especially when angry.
Cur when applied to humans, means, the person who is grumbling, annoying, untrustworthy, reactive, unreliable, disliked, cowardly …
Sadly labels stick – either directly in the social milieu, or in the mind of the agressor, or worse, in the mind of the victim, there is no easy escape. We so readily resort to defiining the other, and sometimes negatively, boxing them in, giving us and them a mind-map to follow, defining their potential and their future. Words have meaning, words convey place, words have power, most especially in the mind, but also in the group. With a word we convey goodness and hope, with another social death, and isolation. With words we steal life itself and terminate those we so easily label, sucking their identity from them, and boxing them into our definition. Control!
But there is some redemtion of the term. There are dog breeds known as curs in the US. The Catahoula Cur, the Blackmouthed Cur, and others. These are dogs bred for rugged conditions, mountain dwelling, coping with bears, pumas, coyotes, and other threats while guarding sheep and cattle. They are adept hunting dogs, and loyal to the family or individuals who care for them.
What I like about that is the opportunity to turn the term around. So what if the cur is loyal, hard working, protective, fearless, helpful …
I love binary terms, they shouldn’t exist but they do, and in the end the positives always outweigh the negatives. The binary of cur is a gift. We can use that gift to refute the negatives and redeem the victims everytime. I believe there is good in everyone, we just have to set aside our filters and bias to see the true person before us. With a word we have the power to box people in, or, set them free.
I want to set them free! (And, I too want to be free)
That your name is cur recurs, recurs, until we set you free to be ©Paul Cannon