Sunday, October 7, 2007

Porky's Delight

Immediately on seeing Porky, something nags at us. And it's not merely the crude rendering—the too-close-together eyes, the overly angular face, the inert tongue licking in mechanical satisfaction.

No, there's something in his expression. Something we cannot quite put a finger on. Are we haunted by what we’ve seen in our never-ending campaign? Have the grisly scenes from the suicidefoodist battlefields rendered us senseless? Are we unable to see anything for what it really is?

Answers: Definitely, possibly, and who’s to say?

However, when we investigate further, the enigma begins to resolve itself.

Here is the image of Porky of a T-shirt they actually hope to sell. And here, cracks form in the veneer of Porky's supposed delight. This pig, this Porky, does not look delighted. Does he appear delighted to you? If so, you need to reacquaint yourself with the details of facial expression.

The wide eyes, the open mouth, the raised eyebrows. In your heart, in the primitive recesses of your long-ago ancestor brain, you know what you are seeing, even when you look away in dumb denial.

If you require us to support our suspicions with documentation (you noble skeptics), consider the following:

Perhaps you've seen this before. In an anthropology class, maybe. Please turn your attention to the faces circled in green and red. The green face is an archetypal depiction of delight. The red face clearly expresses terror. Return now to the image of Porky from the T-shirt. Does his expression more closely resemble the green or the red face?

With the aid of science, we have demonstrated that Porky is manifesting not happiness but fear. And yet he allows himself to be exploited, to put on the chef hat, to sit for portraits. Why? To answer, we are forced to leave the cool enclaves of science and enter the gnarled woodlands of pure conjecture.

One guesses that Porky's guilt has gotten the better of him. For too long, he has beckoned humans to make meals of his brothers. He can be complicit no longer. His death is the last, meager atonement he can offer. Does he fear the afterlife? Undoubtedly. But he knows it has to be more mild than the hell he has created for himself on earth.

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