The Bulletin’s Day Book
Menu JTA Search

The Bulletin’s Day Book

Download PDF for this date

Risking the fate that awaits all columnists who dare fly in the face of convention a flood of letters demanding the scalp of the such-and-such who had the gall to write so-and-so about this-and-that—today’s Day Book will be devoted to pigs.

To the average citizen of the North American continent, the statement that “pigs is pigs” needs no further explanation. But in the Jewish household the phrase which was coined by Ellis Parker Butler in 1906, if it is used at all, usually has a corollary. “Pigs is traife.” Every Jewish lad old enough to babble or understand Yiddish knows that corollary.

Since time immemorial, orthodox and even not-so-orthodox Jews have sedulously avoided the porker as part of their diet. Something about the animal’s personal habits failed to appeal to the patriarchs who formulated the dietary laws. Other factors possibly entering into the official ban on piggie were the absence of a cleft in its hoofs and the fact that in the pagan days of old piggie had the misfortune to be used by heathens in their pagan rites.

However, despite the Jewish dietary ban on pigs, that creature has managed to do rather well in this world. It has found favor on the tables of the humble and the lordly. In its many forms of preparation for the stomach, it has gained the praise of gourmand, epicure and just plain mouth-stuffers. And the English language is richer by several words and analogies because the hog has lived.

Yes, indeed, grunters have done very well for themselves in this world. So well, in fact, that it comes as a complete surprise and a distinct shock to hear that a prominent Nazi official has found it incumbent upon himself to rise to their defense.

Were it not for the fact that the defense of pigs has been given international significance by this newest expert on grunters, by the neat trick of dragging the Jewish question into it, the literary effort of the pig-defender would undoubtedly have escaped notice.

The Nazi Sir Lancelot who has thus gallantly rushed to the rescue of the sow is none other than Herr Richard Walther Darré, that clever man who not so long ago said that all German political parties prior to the advent of Hitler had been founded by Jews, must have had another of his Nazi-heaven-sent inspirations when he sat down to compose the following tid-bit which enlivens his new book:

“Pigs,” he is quoted by Die Neue Weltbuehne as writing, “have their bad reputation only because the Jews hate their noble qualities and spread lies about them.”

If the noble Darré had to condescend to discuss pigs—or do we do the noble pig an injustice by presuming that he has to stoop to their level?—it seems a pity that he wasn’t endowed with the literary powers of a Charles Lamb.

When Lamb told that delectable take of the origin of roast pig, the reader instinctively felt here was a man who knew not only the value of pigs. His essay probably did much to raise pigs in the estimation of mankind. The only other effort at all comparable to Lamb’s in this respect was that movie cartoon, “The Three Little Pigs,” by Walt Disney.

Darré, incidentally, would probably be considerably discomfited to hear that a Jew, Hal Horne, played a rather important role in promoting and publicizing that picture. And Disney’s pigs, by the way are so chock full of noble qualities that anyone who could eat any part of a porker after seeing them in action must certainly be classed at the very least as a confirmed anti-vegetarian.

On second thought, however, one can readily understand what may have prompted the pig-lover Darré into rushing to the defense of the four-footed noble#. Birds of a feather, someone long ago observed, flock together. And pigs, as Ellis Parker Butler wrote, is pigs.

But before condemning the noble porcines to so humiliating a fate as being classed in the same bracket with a Nazi cabinet minister, we should at some not too distant future like to hear from the oink-oink family on the matter. We imagine the grunters will have several snorts to emit that won’t be flattering to the ears of the Nazi cohorts.

H. W.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund