Other Titles > Disciple of the Dog

Disciple Mixtape: Track One


So I’ve wanted to do this for awhile. I’m not sure that many of the TSA readership actually followed across genres but I feel Disciple of the Dog is worth breaking down – despite the fact that Bakker allegedly wrote DOTD in three months, listening to 10,000 Days the whole time. Apparently, it is his least literary work; and so begs to be analyzed in its minutia ;).



Meet Disciple Manning, Private Dick extraordinaire.

--- Quote from: ”DOTD, p1” ---For some mysterious reason, maybe genetic, maybe environmental, maybe some combination of the two, I am doubtful and irreverent through and through. Show me a picture of your newborn baby and I’ll ask you if you’re holding it upside down. Tell me you’ve won the lottery and I’ll give you the number of my coke dealer. Show me a flag and I see kinky sheets on a hooker’s bed. I never commit, not to the big things, and certainly not to the little. It’s not that I’m evil or anything, it’s just that, no matter how hard I try, I never think what I should. Where everyone sees a Merge sign, I read Detour.

A true-blue individual—that’s what I am.
--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---Truth is, the only kind of individualism Americans believe in is the one that numbs the sting of name tags, or that makes a trip to the mall an exercise in self-creation.

The consumer kind.

The false kind.

And who knows? Maybe that’s the way it should be.

Ignore the Merge sign long enough, and sooner or later somebody gets killed.
--- End quote ---

Disciple seems to imply that he, or individualism, will get people killed.

Then onto the most oft quoted passage of the book:

--- Quote from: ”DOTD, p2” ---I’m what you would call a cynic.

This isn’t to be confused with a skeptic. Skeptics don’t believe in anything because they care too much. For them the dignity of truth is perpetually beyond the slovenly reach of humankind. We’re just not qualified.

A cynic, on the other hand, doesn’t believe in anything because he doesn’t care enough. I mean, really, who gives a fuck?

--- End quote ---

By picking the Detective vehicle (which many think strikes to the heart of narrative) and Disciple’s first-person expression, Bakker allows himself some direct condemnation of the reader: holding those who would share Disciple’s perspective accountable as real-life individuals. Disciple’s autobiography might be fiction but the reader, his audience, is… as real as real can be.

Do we care about Disciple? Do we care about the world we find him in (which seems to mirror ours in so many ways)? Are we cynics or skeptics?

--- Quote ---My name is Disciple Manning. A stupid name, I know—pretty much what you would expect from stupid-talking parents. When people ask me my name, I simply say Diss, Diss Manning. When they make funny with their faces, I lie and tell them I was named after my father, Datt Manning. I usually get a laugh out of dat. If I don’t, if I still get the funny stuff, you know, the What-fucking-planet-are-you-from look, then I hit them, hard—unless they happen to be a cop, in which case I just keep kissing ass.

The one thing you need to remember about me is that I don’t forget.



According to the doctors, it’s driving me crazy.
--- End quote ---

And the concise summation of our character vehicle; we are welded to Disciple’s autobiography, to Sherlock’s perspective, absent dear Watson the chronicler.

--- Quote ---And this is why I find myself sitting down and writing. My latest therapist thinks my problem isn’t what I remember so much as how. She’s a big believer in the power of stories. She thinks hammering my more toxic memories into narrative form will give them some kind of psychologically redemptive meaning.
--- End quote ---

I can’t help but correlate first-person perspective, especially one that is consciously autobiographical, to a direct communication to the reader. Disciple is retelling us his memories. The following are to be events of things, which already happened. Clearly, Disciple hasn’t benefited from “some kind of psychologically redemptive meaning”…

But what are we expected to take from his “stories,” as the readership?

--- Quote from: ”DOTD, p3” ---Sounds foofy, I know. I’ve always thought writing is just what happens when we pursue our genius for justifying our scams for its own sake. But she’s cute, and there’s a wisdom you get after botching as many suicide attempts as I have. Putting pen to paper just doesn’t seem that big a deal after putting knife to skin.
Nothing does, really. Strange knowledge, that.
--- End quote ---

And Disciple quickly derails the meaning of any of his words – after all, writing to us, across the boundaries of time, space, and fiction beats another failed attempt at the oblivion Disciple seems to seek.

Disciple continues on to suggest that it is the minute, day to day, decisions, the piling and piling of concession, which defines our lives, the stranded sense of continuum that results in our lives as they stand in the Now.

Great quote:

--- Quote ---You see, it’s convenience that drives the species, not in any grand sense but in the most squalid way you could possibly imagine. Say your wife starts coming home late on a regular basis, and you get this kind of queasy feeling in your gut, like on some parallel plane of existence you just stepped off the Tilt-A-Whirl. So what do you do? Say nothing. Follow the ruts. Keep your eyes on the habituated prize. Only ten years to go on the mortgage!

It’s these kinds of decisions that define who we are, by and large. The small kind. The lazy kind.
--- End quote ---

I really love that Tilt-A-Whirl line.

--- Quote ---Trust me, dude, I know. I spy on you. I see you all the time.

I’m the archivist of your lesser self—you know, the side of you that calls the shots between official engagements. I’m the bastard who makes your secrets real. Disciple Manning, the sole proprietor of Manning Investigations, based out of Newark, New Jersey.

That’s right. I’m a private detective. A dick. The part-time security guard of the investigative world.

A real winner.
--- End quote ---

Disciple is implying comparable flerws between the people of his world and the readers...

We shall see...

Well I'll be following these posts for sure, though I'm not sure how much there is to discuss and contribute, but I'll offer up my own perspective if ever the need arises.

What a great book. Any ways, mark me down as a cynic.

Lol - cheers. I'm sure some of the posts will attract TSA readers as there are explicit comparisons to make between Disciple and Nonmen.

It'll be interesting to see who partakes and if anyone picks up the book based on these threads.

Callan S.:
Good thread! And I keep reading it as tract...

Lol, cheers, Callan.


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