Greased Pig Chases Aren’t Allowed! Except They Are

Greased Pig ChaseI understand that the feeling of outrage is delicious. We all need to get our anger out and there’s nothing so great as righteous outrage. But like anything, a little of something can be good where a lot can be bad. Think: water. It is because of this push towards outrage that I often find myself on the receiving end of stories like, “Did you know that Target forbids their employees from saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to their customers?!”

Statements like these would have set me off… when I was 13 years old. But over the past 40 years I’ve learned a few things. One is that these stories are often not true. For example, Target never told its employees to stop using the word “Christmas.” So when I hear something along these lines, I usually sigh and assume it isn’t true. But another thing I’ve learned is that when the story is true, it is almost always way more complicated and nuanced than claimed.

No Greased Pig Chases!

This brings me to Wednesday. My father has a regular lunch date with his friends on Tuesday. And so my father told me something he learned from his friends: the Sonoma County Fair had canceled the greased pig chase. This is where a pig is smeared with grease and children run around and try to catch it. According to the experts at the luncheon, it was canceled because someone thought it was cruel to the pig.


Learning this put me in a difficult position. First, I was pretty sure the story wasn’t true. Second, I do think it’s cruel to the little pig. I know I wouldn’t want a bunch of five year old kids running around trying to catch me. But given other things we do to pigs, a greased pig chase isn’t high on the list of cruelty. For example: burning pigs (don’t watch it). So I found it hard to believe that suddenly people were freaking out about greased pig chases.

Political Correctness — in 1971

But it is true that people do care about the issue. Greased pig chases (and related activities) are illegal in Minnesota. But this isn’t the result of our political correct culture that has gotten such a boost from Donald Trump. That law was passed in 1971. Is that the case in California? No.

I went online and found Free Family Fun at the Sonoma County Fair. And there on the 24th of July was, “Catch a greased pig on Farmers Day.” Maybe if a single man at the luncheon actually cared about greased pig chases, they would have known this. But I doubt anyone at the luncheon had ever participated in such an event — or even seen one outside a movie.

Growing Old Sucks; Grow Up!

But they were all only too happy to grouse about the fact that the America they knew is being destroyed. Of course, it isn’t an America that they ever knew. It’s just an excuse to bitch: kids today don’t get the joy of doing what the vast majority of children never did in the past. But as I noted: it’s understandable.

I can see as one grows older, one naturally feels that their culture is dying. That’s because it is. But it isn’t because liberals like me are murdering it; it’s just the way the world works. Poor children learn that rich children get more ice cream. The universe isn’t fair. Why can’t old people learn that the culture leaves them behind?

But barring that, they could at least find real things to complain about.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

6 thoughts on “Greased Pig Chases Aren’t Allowed! Except They Are

  1. Utterly believable, and predictable. One of the core right wing beliefs is that humans in general, and American white christian men in particular, have a god given right to dominate, subjugate, consume, and destroy as they please. And liberals would like to take that away from them. They are right about the second part. But everything, every ask of “Is this something we should be doing?” becomes an unbearable burden on their psyche. To be resisted and revenged. My wife’s father and stepmother are like this. They were visiting once and we were telling them, just to have something to talk about during one of these dreadful occasions, was that we were having our house treated for termites. The stepmother, on cue, comes in with “Aren’t they not allowed to kill the termites anymore? Don’t they have to divert them somewhere else without killing them?” Because liberals, and PETA, or something. And I grind my teeth a little because it’s not worth addressing. Where did this one come from? Hannity? Beck? Alex Jones? I cant even. I’m actually in favor of exterminating termites to the extent that is possible because of all the methane they produce. But an ecologist might explain to me that total extermination would be undesirably disruptive to the environment. And we could have a discussion of the cost benefit analysis of how many termites to destroy. Certainly the ones eating my house have to go. Because that’s how actual liberals behave in the wild. So, outrage over the imaginary objections to pig cruelty make perfect sense.

    Off topic, I just read your old post about cursive writing disappearing. In it you said that you only use it for writing notes in greeting cards. You also said you often needed to look up how to write a capital Q. Am I to believe you often have occasion to use the capitol Q in greeting cards?

    • Regarding termites: they produce methane, which has the shortest atmospheric lifespan of the major greenhouse gases. It is important because it holds a lot more energy than CO2. But it soon breaks down into CO2 where it doesn’t much matter. The total CH4 in the atmosphere is about 1/200 of CO2. And the termites aren’t to blame. Their methane production has been in equilibrium for millions of years. The issues we should care about are rice farming, cattle ranching, landfills, and so on. You know: things that are our fault.

      As for the letter Q, would you believe me if I told you my father’s name is Queequeg? Okay, maybe not. I don’t know! I’m sure it doesn’t come up much, but it’s notable every damned time it does. Who ever came up with that?!

      • I meant exterminate termites in addition to mitigating the human caused methane emissions. We’re going to have to go as low as possible for a while. Rice farming is one I didn’t know about. I’ll have to look into that. And landfill decomposition is an energy source, if we were smart about it. Fracking and gas well emissions are another problem. I don’t object to using gas as a bridge fuel to a zero carbon grid. Doesn’t make sense to be sloppy about it.

        • Interestingly, however, many rices can be grown with almost no standing water. But regardless, the issue is that we are drilling huge amounts of carbon from deep in the ground and releasing it. Termites are amazing animals.

          How did it work out with your house? I hope you got rid of them. I think grizzly bears are cool too, but I don’t want them in my backyard.

  2. Frank,

    I am still awaiting the county fair that will allow me to devour pie with my hands tied behind my back.

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