The fable known as “The Three Little Pigs” materialized in Western consciousness circa the 1840s (though the tale is believed to have been around for much longer), touting an underlying message about putting in the hard work necessary to build something lasting. And while the immediate association between a cop and a pig who builds his house out of bricks is that he is stubborn and stalwart in his ways–unwilling to let his “system” (a.k.a. his warped values)–be blown down by any amount of havoc, the truth is, cops at this moment need to do the work associated with crafting an edifice made of bricks. Not symbolizing a staunchness in their methods of doubling down on violence and oppression, but rather, creating a new ideology built out of a genuine desire to “serve and protect” (as their mantra claims)–one that will endure, instead of being so readily toppled when the people gather long enough to huff and puff and blow their predisposition toward racism down.
And the people, indeed, are starting to find that if you pick at an emblematic house made of straw or sticks, it is bound to crumble soon enough–you just have to keep at it. Were the cops–so commonly rendered as pigs–of the world (and America in particular) more discerning in what they constructed their morals and ideals out of, it wouldn’t be so “easy” to pull their structure apart at the seams. There are so many holes in it to begin with, that it should come as no surprise to the little piggies when it all comes crashing down around them. That third pig, however, the one who took his time about choosing the materials he wanted to shape his domicile out of, feels safest because he knows it isn’t sprung from bullshit.
That the story of the three little pigs begins with a mother sending her three children out into the world to “seek their fortunes” (as she also had “not enough food to feed them”–goddamn, then why you keep havin’ kids?) is somewhat telling of the fact that, as The Smiths said, “Barbarism begins at home.” Behavior is learned from one’s parents, and it is the responsibility of everyone either foolish or narcissistic enough to have a child to at least possess the decency to teach their fuck trophies right from wrong. To instill a sense of understanding that taking the shortcut in life so often comes at the expense of others one has been taught to believe are somehow “inferior” (see: pretty much any moment in history pertaining to the advancement of capitalism and the economy). Maybe the third pig was simply a classic case of nature winning out over nurture, for Big Mama Pig surely didn’t help him in comprehending that the “hard way” is the more rewarding one in the long run. Not just for oneself, but for those around them. Also setting an example against the forces of evil both real and metaphorical (perhaps best elucidated in Twin Peaks)–one that declares, “You’re not going to get the better of me. Or wear down my resolve or principles.”
With the wolf representing not only those who can tirelessly “blow the house down” toward change, but also the combustibility of a flimsy sense of honor and duty, it is the conclusion of “The Three Little Pigs” that so often seems to be forgotten among the image of all that huffing and puffing (followed by the wolf’s chasing of the two passive pigs into the third pig’s house–in this moment, there is an echo of the The Little Red Hen fable). For in the final act, the wolf becomes so determined to infiltrate the house now containing all three pigs that he ends up crawling through the chimney, Santa Claus-style, only to be met with a boiling pot below. The third pig puts the lid on, cooks the wolf and serves him up for dinner in a classic “eat or be eaten” example. The third pig is also left to carry the other two on his back as a result of their own prior lackadaisical behavior. It could be said, in this instance, that the other two are the Derek Chauvins of the police force, giving any single cop that might actually put in the work to uphold the ethical implications of their job a bad name (and for the extreme cop haters, it’s easy to say ACAB but then how do you explain Frank Serpico?).
It is laziness and a fear of being made uncomfortable that has kept humanity in this state for so long. Cops above all have found it too convenient to resort to the “joys” of stereotyping and violence, speaking to the lines, “The first little pig was very lazy. He didn’t want to work at all and he built his house out of straw. The second little pig worked a little bit harder but he was somewhat lazy too and he built his house out of sticks.” But the time has come for the police to realize this is no longer what they can build their foundation on–insubstantial materials (read: scruples) that do not represent anything solid or worthy. At the same time, one looking at the fable from a different angle could posit that the cops as pigs allegory might mean that, ultimately, they end up just roasting their opposers by any homicidal means necessary.
One thought on “Cops & the Pig That Built His House Out of Bricks”
The job of the three little pigs is to control the poor (in particular persons of color). The house of bricks is the best fortress of state capitalism for maintaining social order and it protects cops from the consequences of their actions. In this sense, the three little pigs easily transform into tools of oppression. Thanks Genna. Well done! 🙂