This week, Cornell staff and students have been inundated with information, reported cases, and mass hysteria centered around the dreaded swine flu. Forget budget cuts and that there are now two salad lines at Statler - we’ve got the urge to oink. But what did a little swine ever do to you, besides giving you a temperature high enough to miss your sorority’s annual wine tour? Pigs were dealt the short end of the stick, and have paid countless contributions to our daily lives. Need proof? I present… The Top Five Pigs (Swine) in Popular Culture… NUMBER 5: WILBUR (The Literate Pig) It wouldn’t be right to have a pig countdown without this porker on the list. If you didn’t laugh, cry, and pee yourself with excitement (in elementary school) over Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (Cornell ’21), then you’ve got issues. In this classic, Wilbur learns that he is to be fattened up for slaughter on Mr. Zuckerman’s farm, and his eloquent eight-legged friend, Charlotte gives him some tips on how to sell himself as a carnival attraction, instead of as a pork chop. This particular pig is shameless all in the name of entertainment. Still scared of swine flu? More like whine flu!
“Chin Up” from the 1973 “Charlotte’s Web” cartoon movie
NUMBER 4: MISS PIGGY (The Hyper-Sexual Pig)
Annoying, yet relevant. Miss Piggy is 33, and since birth in 1976, she’s never stopped trying to get what she wants – the love of Kermit the Frog. Weird and somewhat unnatural? Uh, yea. But giving credit where credit is due, Jim Henson’s Muppet creation has graced the big screen, television, children’s books, music, and music videos (including Fine Young Cannibals’ “She Drive’s Me Crazy” with a cameo from Katie Couric). Sure, she drives me crazy, but I can’t help myself.
Miss Piggy (and Kermit) star in Fine Young Cannibals’ “She Drives Me Crazy”
NUMBER 3: PIGLET (The Cute Pig)
Would Piglet ever give you Swine Flu? Didn’t think so. Winnie the Pooh’s stuttering friend, Piglet, conquers his fears time after time, simultaneously teaching Pooh’s readers and viewers about courage and bravery. For added cuteness, he jumps into Kanga’s pouch. Piglet presents the cuter side to swine flu. If he’s infected, I want it, too.
NUMBER 2: BABE (The Chatterbox Pig)
“Baa-ram-ewe, sheep be true,” bleats Babe, 1995’s favorite talking pig on the big screen. In this heart-warming tale a farmer teaches his pig that he isn’t a dog, a rooster, and certainly not a sheep. And while he’s best suited for sausage links, Farmer Hogget (played by James Cromwell) keeps him around Christmas after Christmas, and gets his ham elsewhere. In 1998, Babe embarks on a trip to the city to aid his farm family’s financial failures, and meets a ragtag group of urban animals in the sequel “Babe: Pig in the City”. That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.
Babe serenades the Hogget farm on Christmas morning
NUMBER 1: COLLEGETOWN BAGEL’S TURKEY HILL BLT (The Delicious Pig)
Turkey, bacon, aioli dressing, lettuce, and tomato, all on hand-sliced pumpernickel bread. All jokes aside, the H1N1’s got nothing on this sandwich. With basically an entire pig’s worth of bacon piled high on this feast of a meal, the point is clear. The only swine worthy of discussion is the one that’s sliced, cooked, and layered on top of a CTB delicacy.
Someone actually photographed the sandwich. But not me, I swear.