Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Good Good Pig - Pigs and cleanliness

Good Good Pig CoverWhen I think of pigs and pig pens, I can't help thinking about an incident Colleen McCullough writes about in The First Man in Rome. Three young military tribunes have thrown a pompous young man into a pig sty to celebrate the young man's 18th birthday. The young man erupts from the mud, and berates them for being low-born and unworthy to be in his presence. One of the three replies:

"Don't mistake me, I really do appreciate everything you're saying, Quintus Caecilius," he said, "but the trouble is you've got a big fat pig turd on your head instead of a crown, O King of Etruria!" Out came a giggle. "Go and have a bath, then tell us again. We'll probably manage not to laugh." (Page 47 in the edition I used.)

When you mention pigs and cleanliness to me, all I can visualize is that fat pig turd on Quintus Caecilius' head.

All of our folklore equates pigs with filth. A cluttered room is called a "pigsty". An unbathed person is characterized as being a pig. In the cartoon series Peanuts, the character "Pig Pen" was always surrounded by a cloud of dirt.

However, all the literature and Sy Montgomery claim that pigs are very clean...

With that in mind, Montgomery tells of Chris rooting up the front lawn, leaving mud and destruction in his wake. James Herriot talks about how destructive large pigs are - usually inadvertantly. They crash through the walls of their enclosures and can crush their babies without noticing. Chuck Wooster (in Living With Pigs) also talks about the possibility of destruction and damage that a large pig can cause.

And every one of them says that pigs are clean... (And pretty much all the pictures of Chris in the book show him with mud and dirt and slobber...)

When *I* think of a clean animal, I think of a cat.

When you think of clean animals, what do you think of?

No comments: