WHEN NAZI PIGS FLY06 September 2017, Pepino
I’m painting Porky Pig, the animated swine from the classic Looney Tunes cartoons. In my practice painting means reading, too. A lot of reading. If I paint a pig, I must know everything about pigs, I must eat pigs, I must eat like a pig and I must think like a pig.
Riot squad, bash their heads
Kick their ass until they're dead
I want to be a fascist pig
I'd rather be a pig than a fascist.
In the West pigs are seen filthy and they symbolize gluttony. In the Middle East hogs are totally non-kosher and haram. In Buddhism, the animal is located in the center of the wheel of existence and represents ignorance - one of the three illusions that prevent a person to arrive at the fullness of life. Some pigs reach their goals - In Orwell’s Animal Farm it’s Comrade Napoleon who deceives the other animals and becomes a ruthless dictator.
After the Christians reconquered the Iberian Peninsula, the Spanish Inquisition investigated and punished converted Jews and Muslims thought to be insincere. One of the proofs was not to have any jamón and chorizo in the pantry. Good (and wealthy) Christians ate lots of pork. It’s interesting that something filthy became a symbol of pure faith. Pig can be related even to Satan because of its footprints resemble marks of the Devil. Europeans see demons and infidels everywhere but maybe it’s just a problem of sight - My Arab Muslim friend says it’s because ham har(a)ms your eyes. She has observed that Europeans wear more often glasses than Arabs. Spectacles were invented in the Christian Europe but based on the research of the medieval Arab scholar Ibn al-Haytham.
However, everybody doesn’t see red in pigs. The Chinese appreciate them highly, and not only in a hotpot. Pigs represent good luck and fortune. It’s the last animal of the zodiac cycle, the embodiment of integrity. In the famous Mind Dynasty novel Journey to the West Zhu Baije, an antihero partly human, partly pig, is edacious, lazy and lustful but also tolerant, optimistic and soft-hearted. The adventurer uses a nine-toothed rake to kill demons. Originally he was a commander-in-chief of a heavenly army but for his drunken attempt to seduce Chang-e, goddess of the Moon, he is sentenced to a thousand lives where each life would end in a love tragedy.
The pig represents wealth in China and Chinese communists think that getting rich is glorious (Deng Xiaoping is commonly quoted with this phrase in western media but there is no proof that he actually said it, maybe it was after all Comrade Napoleon). They can’t use pig as an insult which is common among European communists. Revolutionaries use the offence in reference to the police but also as imperialist pigs, capitalist pigs or fascist pigs.
In the book Fascist Pigs Tiago Saraiva, professor of History at Drexel University, shows how pigs became important elements in the institutionalization and expansion of fascist regimes in Europe. The pigs that didn’t efficiently convert German-grown potatoes into pork and lard were eliminated. The capitalist democracy won the war and now we have Enviropig which is the trademark for a genetically modified line of Yorkshire pigs, with the capability to digest plant phosphorus more efficiently than conventional unmodified Nazi pigs.
In the 1976 British film The Eagle Has Landed an Irish secret agent working for the Nazis replies to a German general speaking of Germany's shortly winning the war "Pigs may fly, General, but I doubt it!" Later, when the Irishman sees German soldiers parachuting before an attack, he says to himself, "Mother of God! Flying pigs!”
Th-th-th-that's all folks, stutters Porky.