Thinking With Pigs
Certain animals, as the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss explained in his study of totemism, are good for thinking with (Totemism, 1963). Here are a collection of quotations from individuals, both eminent and obscure, that use pigs in their speech.
In our thoughts and words, pigs are generous figures of speech. They freely lend their intrinsic nature to us for simile and metaphor, hyperbole and idiom. Pigs are also handy to use in personification or in analogy and allegory. And pigs are certainly good for swearing.
The thought of ‘pig’ in all its attendant meanings is an indispensable element of language in every culture that has encountered the pig. Handy and useful, ‘pig’ augments the meaning of many concepts — appearance, attitude, behavior, food and even currency.
Throughout the pig’s association with man, their use to think and speak with has farrowed ideas and images as fit for a reflective pig as for a man to consider. Many within our swinish multitude have seen fit to utilize the pig in thoughts and words and our world is far richer for it.