Is Did Eric Clapton name his dog after Dr. Dolittle's Pooch? on-topic here?

I was reading Are questions about authors on-topic? and the only answer, which is at +18 votes states:

I would say that they would be on-topic, but only insofar as they relate to an author's literary life.

So I was thinking maybe the question about someone who is not even the author but only a fan of a book's character would not be on-topic. What relevance to literature does the fact that another well-known figure has named his pet after a character in a book?

Related Are trivia questions about authors on-topic?. Because if it is questionable if trivia about authors is on-topic, now we are looking at trivia about a person who is not even an author of a work. How many degrees of separation are we willing to go, especially with trivia? And note again that questions about authors are "supposed to" (as far as the +18 answer goes) relate to their "literary life".


1 Answer 1


Maybe you're approaching it from the wrong direction?

There's no reason why a question about Eric Clapton's dog should be on-topic for a literature site. But looking at it from the opposite point of view, this question is not just about Eric Clapton's dog but about the influence of a particular work of literature. A question about whether a name in the Doctor Dolittle stories inspired something in real life should be on-topic, not because of that thing in real life, but by virtue of Doctor Dolittle being on-topic.

Similarly, it should be on-topic to ask about the relationship between a book (on-topic) and a film inspired by it (not on-topic per se). Questions about literature inspiring the real world should be just as on-topic as questions about the real world inspiring literature. It can certainly add to our appreciation of a story to know about its influence on the wider world outside of literature.

  • 1
    Then it becomes a question of how far-reaching, or reaching, one wants to define as "influence". Surely at some point there is over-reaching. Commented Apr 23, 2018 at 15:34
  • @Clare Yep, agreed. But exactly where to draw that line is (IMO) something we can only learn through experience, as we find out which "influence" questions people ask here and which ones get closed vs left open. If you reckon this one should be closed, flag it for closure and we'll see what the review queue makes of it - maybe other people will also vote to close and we'll have a data point on the "bad" side of the line.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Apr 23, 2018 at 15:52

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .