Friday, June 20, 2008

Pigs is Pigs

I remember little of my childhood. I listen to people speak of their lives as children and I long wistfully for the memories that so many around me can invoke without the slightest difficulty.

This goes doubly for my childhood entertainments. I remember very little of the cartoons and TV shows of my childhood. One thing I do remember - really liking Three's Company. And just to be clear if you were here yesterday, I don't like it anymore, or, should I say, I don't feel any need to return to my roots when it comes to sitcoms.

I also remember this cartoon. And who wouldn't? It's insane.

I had not watched this cartoon in 20 years, and it had changed quite a bit in my mind. I recalled the moral of the cartoon to be that you shouldn't overeat, the moral I believe most children took away from it.

However, it turns out that the moral is in fact that you shouldn't dream about overeating. Overeating outside of the dreamscape is fine.

But what does one make of the ending? For that matter, what does one make of the cartoon? I am sure Deleuzians or Žižekians could do a better job, but there is something about it that feels terribly relevant.

That pig, he just can't stop eating. Despite the constant scolding of his German or Polish mother (the accent seems to vary, perhaps they are Kashubians), he cheats his siblings out of food, unrepentant.

Then he has this dream. Now this is his dream, and it is a dream where our Piggy purges his sins, by being mechanically force fed by a drunk yellow-skinned scientist (another in-joke?) who enjoys feeding him as much as Piggy enjoys eating. And even when he's finished, and about to leave, he can't help himself, and, grabbing a turkey leg, he finally explodes.

But the dream explosion wakes him back into the real world, where, in the final seconds of the short, Piggy realises that it was all a dream, and that he is good to go on his program of incessant binge eating.

So my reading? Oh, how about this looks a lot like what's going on in our world right now? A sense that the end is nigh, but not quite nigh enough, so we can think that the past was merely a dream, and that the future will solve the problems we created in our past.

In other words, Pigs is Pigs.


I misremembered something else about the cartoon. My mind's version of the cartoon included the very famous Powerhouse B piece from many other Warner Brothers cartoons. Somewhere along the way I remembered Pigs is Pigs as having this Raymond Scott tune while Piggy is being force fed by the mad scientist.

Indeed, while you watch it, it makes sense that this assembly line music would be part of the cartoon. Perhaps a later iteration of the cartoon had the powerhouse tune, but I don't know, because I don't remember. And thankfully, that's also the message of the cartoon.

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