Saturday, June 02, 2007

Some "Monster Pig" Follow-up

Well I'm sure glad I used the word "supposedly" in my Wednesday post about Jamison Stone, the 11-year-old who purportedly bagged a wild hog even bigger than the mythical hogzilla. By the time I returned to my e-mail, I'd gotten one comment from P. Burns at Terrierman's Daily Dose (here) that pointed out that this was a canned hunt concocted by a brand new "pay to shoot" hunting club. I also had friends send me links to other articles that pointed out what was wrong with the photos of this "monster pig." For a good one from the folks at, click here. If you now look at the site you'll find an interesting explanation from Jamison's father, who concedes that this "monster pig" came from a hog breeder and was sold to the "hunting preserve" where Jamison Stone shot it.

While a lot of interesting questions have been raised about this story, ranging from whether this was ethical hunting to the nature of the Stone's photographic trickery, no one has bothered to ask why the media was so interested in this story (and Hogzilla before it) in the first place. In other words, what is it about "big pigs" that is so interesting? While stories like these obviously fit into a long tradition of "tall tales" about hunting and the outdoors, I wonder how they are related to other representations of pigs and to pork consumption. Elsewhere I've written about the "saved from slaughter" narratives of pigs that have gotten away from slaughterhouses to be "pardoned" to a hobby farm, stories that, I suggest, serve to assuage our culture's anxieties about the eating of pigs. I'm still working to figure out what's going on with all the feral pig/wild hog stories out there. Perhaps part of their appeal is connected to the ways in which they transgressively point to the incompleteness of human mastery and dominion over these supposedly "domesticated" animals...

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Friday, June 01, 2007

James Dean & His Pig

The famous photo to the left was taken by Dennis Stock for Life Magazine in 1955. According to the website for the exhibit "James Dean Comes Home: Photographs by Dennis Stock" (here), Dean asked Stock to accompany him to his family's farm in Indiana to celebrate his birthday. This picture of James Dean and a pig on his family's farm in Fairmount, Indiana was part of the exhibition of Stock's many photos of the young actor.

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