Sunday, October 28, 2007

Silver Leaf Lard

Back before the days of strong labor unions, in the genteel, yet gritty, 19th century, Chicago—hog butcher to the world—was home to a de facto caste system. Proletariat pigs propped up hogs of wealth. The upper crust lorded over the workers at the bottom of the heap, workers who could only dream their simple dreams of freedom.

Enter Silver Leaf Lard, the great equalizer! Through Silver Leaf’s divine order, pigdom is once again at peace. All are welcome at the lardworks. All are worthy.

While their divisions linger, now the classes are revealed for all their irrelevancy! They are the stuff of petty fashion, of bristle-thin loyalties. Yes, yes, it is left to some to pull the lardbucket carriage along. It is for others to enjoy the ride with their walking sticks and topcoats. And yet!

And yet all are going to the same place. The factory awaits them all, to render them all to their porcine essence. All are reducible to pure, sweet lard!

The draft-pigs, those six sturdy gallopers, strain at their traces. The passengers chatter excitedly. How impatient they are! Onward! Tally ho! How handsome the sows in their Sunday finery! How eager to face the culmination of their lives, wherein they will finally achieve their truest equality, their noblest brotherhood. If you prick them, do they not bleed? If you render them, do they not become a succulent, silvery, Swift and Company-blessed lard?

Lard! Lard! Glorious lard! Uplifter of the laborer. Humbler of the aristocrat. Scourge of the tyrant!

(Thanks to Dr. Pes for the referral and the image. Do yourself a favor and visit Pes's brilliant site.)


octopod said...

Wasn't Silver Leaf Lard the company in "The Jungle"?

Ben said...

After a little research, we can say with confidence: We think so.

This piece indicates that, yes, Silverleaf was featured in The Jungle.

Good catch!

Red said...

Plus, Sinclair relates a truly gruesome story about Silver Leaf in the book. Apparently, the lard was boiled in enormous vats over which ran the workers' catwalk. One slip and fall later, this story was burned into my memory when I read "The Jungle" at age 14. So perhaps it's appropriate that the pigs look especially human...6 nooses, please.