Monday, February 18, 2008

Marsh & Baxter's

We know what you're thinking: It's not very sporting to criticize such a charming token from a bygone era of good taste and wit.

But we must. This advertisement is transcendent in its tastelessness!

It's not merely the over-reaching, making-the-figurative-literal pun—"drawing his own conclusion." (Har har!) No, it's that same nihilistic cynicism that equates living creatures with the food they are to be turned into. It is as though the people of Marsh & Baxter, and all people who would consume their products, are unable to make a distinction between a pig and the substance out of which it is made.

Only psychopaths are afflicted with a similar handicap when it comes to humans. We fear and shun those who see humans as mere objects, as walking piles of flesh. Yet when it comes to pigs, this sentiment is utterly conventional among the ranks of suicidefoodsists.

So here, a shyly smiling hog allows himself to be hitched to a wagon bearing the processed remains of his kin. We are meant to believe that even he finds the joke humorous.

Unlike us, he is a good sport.

(Thanks to Dr. Lemur-Cat et al. for the referral.)

Addendum: For another example of hilarity derived from interpreting figurative language literally, see this old post.


tinymango! said...

oh my gosh. i just found this blog. this is hilarious. pretty horrifying, but hilarious.

Desdemona said...

I actually bought a postcard of this image a few years ago, on a visit to my family in England. It's now framed and hanging in my kitchen, where it has started some interesting conversations, not least because my partner and I are vegan. I think it combines a peculiarly English variety of gallows humour with an important reminder of where sausages come from, lest we forget!

DDD said...


Looks like a reference to the Trundholm sun-chariot xD

BTW, I love this page!

- DDD, Denmark

Anonymous said...

This is a fantastic advert of its time. You really should try to get out more.

Anonymous said...

I found this via Google, after recalling that my late Grandmother many years ago told me that she thought a relative of hers had penned this ad. I was not more than 10 (42 now) and had only her secondhand description, but I always remembered it. I thought it was quite funny. But then I also enjoy black pudding and black humour with an equal lack of compunction. Thanks for showing it.

Anonymous said...

I bet the artist who drew this great advert never imagined that it would be seen by me on the internet all this years later. Sadly, Marsh & Baxter no longer exists, but the advert still works as it got me out to the farm market where I bought some really great pork and leek sausages for the family supper. Very tasty.

Anonymous said...

I've been a vegetarian for many decades, but I must own up to a connection with Marsh and Baxter. During WW1, at the time she met my grandfather, my grandmother was nursemaid to the Marsh children at their grand family house. A legend in our family has it that my father was conceived in the cherry orchard.

Ben said...

Ego te absolvo.