The Three Lazy Pigs: A Short Story

three pigsThere was once an old sow who lived in a barn in New Brunswick. She gave birth to three piglets, but her boar-friend, who didn’t want to be a father, left her.

The old sow raised three sons all on her own: Big Snout, a black pig with a large nose; Curly Tail, a white pig with a long tail; and Barn Breath, a white pig with black stripes and a large mouth.

When Big Snout, Curly Tail, and Barn Breath became full-grown, they ate so much that their mother couldn’t afford to keep them anymore.

So one summer day, she opened her barn door and said, “The more I fill my fridge, the more food you eat! None of you have ever worked a day in your lives. It’s time for you to stop freeloading off of me, and start earning your own money.”

The three pigs knew better than to argue with their mother. Big Snout strapped his TV to his back; Curly Tail filled a bag with barley for them to eat; Barn Breath folded up their blankets; and as they walked out the barn door, they hugged their mother and kissed her on the cheek.

“I’ll miss you, Mother,” Big Snout said with a tear in his eye. “You’ve been good to us.”

“We’ll make you proud of us, Momma,” Barn Breath said with a smile.

“Yeah, cause we’ll be rich!” Curly Tail laughed.

“Lazy pigs don’t get rich,” the old sow sighed.

The three pigs said goodbye, and then walked to the Trans-Canada Highway, hitched a ride on a tractor-trailer truck, and travelled west to Saskatchewan.

Seeing a farmer bailing hay, they asked the truck driver to stop, and they hurried across the field to see the farmer.

“Please, Mr. Farmer,” Big Snout said, “We are homeless and have no money. Could you give us one hundred bales of hay? We want to build a house to give us shelter from the cold and the rain.”

The farmer frowned. “You want hay? Go get a job, and then pay me! I don’t give free handouts.”

The three pigs got down on their knees and begged, and the farmer said, “Alright, alright. You can work for me, and I’ll pay you in hay.”

For the next two weeks, the three pigs worked from sunrise until sunset, and when they were done, the farmer gave them all the hay they wanted, and they each got a bag of corn as a bonus. The pigs built a house of hay in the corner of the field; then they sat down, watched Big Snout’s TV, and ate like pigs.

“Brothers,” Big Snout said. “We must never do hard work like that again to get what we want.”

“Yeah, that was terrible,” Curly Tail groaned.

Barn Breath wiped his forehead. “We sweated like pigs.”

A few days later, a big bad wolf knocked on the pigs’ door. On the run from the police for killing three sheep, he needed a place to hide.

The wolf said, “Little piggies! Little piggies! I feel chilly. Please let me come in.”

“I’ll open the door if you give me fifty bucks,” Curly Tail promised.

The wolf slid fifty bucks under their door. Then he said, “Now please be nice pigs and let me come in.”

“No! Not by the peach fuzz on our cheeks and chins,” Barn Breath snorted.

The wolf threatened them: “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down.”

“Ha, ha,” Curly Tail snickered. “We don’t believe you.”

The wolf said, “I’ll stomp on the roof of your house.” But he didn’t. Then he said, “I’ll kick down your door.” But he didn’t. He just took a deep breath and walked away.

“What a moron!” Curly Tail laughed as he folded the fifty dollars and put it in his pocket.

Big Snout said, “I don’t think you should have made fun of the wolf. He might come back and try to eat us.”

But Curly Tail and Barn Breath just laughed.

Later that night, while the pigs were sleeping, there was a great rainstorm, and the house of hay collapsed.

Barn Breath shouted: “Let’s get out of here before the wolf comes back!”

And so, Big Snout strapped his TV to his back; Curly Tail picked up their bags of corn; Barn Breath folded up their blankets, and the pigs left the farm.

The three pigs hitchhiked along the highway, got a ride with a man in a van, and went west to the Rocky Mountains. Seeing a logger cutting down trees, they asked the man in the van to stop, and hurried across the clear cut field to see the logger.

“Please, Mr. Logger,” Big Snout said. “We are homeless and have very little money. Can you give us some logs and nails? We want to build a house to protect us from the cold and the rain.”

“And wolves!” Barn Breath added.

The logger thought for a moment. Then he said, “OK. You can all work for me, and I’ll pay you each one log a day.”

“But we have no logging skills!” Barn Breath yelled.

“And we might get injured,” Curly Tail cried.

Big Snout said, “Given our inability to do this kind of work, if you won’t give us logs and nails, then we’ll sit and squat.”

“And hug every tree you try to cut!” Barn Breath blurted.

The logger put his hand on his gut, let out a loud laugh, started his chainsaw, and went back to work.

But the three pigs meant what they said. They all sat and squatted, and hugged every tree the logger tried to cut.

“OK, you tree-hugging pigs!” the logger thundered. “Take all the wood you want.” And then he handed them a hammer and a box of nails. “But don’t bother me again.”

The three pigs thanked the logger, and dragged dozens of logs to a meadow where they built a house. Then they wrapped themselves in their blankets, watched Big Snout’s TV, and ate like pigs.

A few days later, the big bad wolf knocked on the pigs’ door and said, “Little piggies! Little piggies! I feel cold. Please let me come in.”

“I’ll open the door if you give me fifty bucks,” Curly Tail promised.

The wolf slid fifty bucks under their door. Then he pleaded again, “Now please be nice pigs, and let me come in.”

“No!” Barn Breath boomed. “Not by the peach fuzz on our cheeks and backs!”

The wolf threatened them: “Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff. And I’ll blow your house down.”

“Ha, ha,” Curly Tail chuckled. “You’re not strong enough.”

The wolf threatened them: “I’ll rip the roof off your house.” But he didn’t. Then he said, “I’ll set your door on fire.” But he didn’t. He just breathed a heavy sigh and walked away.

Curly Tail laughed out loud and said, “What a big bluffer!” And then he folded the fifty dollars and put it in his pocket.

Big Snout said, “Brothers, you shouldn’t have made fun of the wolf. He might come back and try to eat us.”

But Barn Breath and Curly Tail just laughed.

Later that night, there was a great windstorm, and the house of logs fell down.

“This house sucks!” Barn Breath yelled. “Let’s get out of here before the wolf comes back!”

And so, Big Snout strapped his TV to his back; Curly Tail picked up their last bag of corn; Barn Breath folded up their blankets; and the pigs left the meadow.

The pigs walked until they reached the rail tracks, and jumped on board a train. When the train passed through a small town in British Columbia, the pigs jumped off the rail car, and wandered up and down the streets until they found a building supply store.

“We demand service!” Curly Tail squealed as soon as they went inside.

When the manager came to them, Big Snout said, “Please, Sir. We are homeless and have very little money. Can you give us some free bricks and plaster? We want to build a house to protect us from the cold and the rain.”

“And bacon eaters!” Curly Tail blurted.

“You want bricks?” the manager frowned. “You’ll have to pay, just like everyone else. We aren’t a charity.”

“I urge you to reconsider,” Big Snout said. “If you refuse to give us bricks and plaster, we’ll sit on the floor of this store.”

“And we’re dirty stinking pigs,” Barn Breath added. “You’ll lose a lot of customers.”

The manager rolled his eyes. “Yeah, right. Nobody smells that bad.”

But the three pigs meant what they said, and they sat on the floor of the store. Big Snout made nasty noises out of his nostrils; Curly Tail wiggled his tail, let out a lot of air, and Barn Breath belched.

All day long, every customer who came in the door yelled, “Pee-yew! This place stinks!” And they ran away.

The manager was furious. “OK, you filthy stinking pigs, I’ll give you a load of bricks and plaster. But I charge $100 for delivery.”

“That’s a deal!” Curly Tail said. And he gave the manager the money he received from the wolf.

The three pigs oinked in appreciation, and the manager delivered the bricks and plaster to the garbage dump. After the pigs built a house, they wrapped themselves in their blankets, watched Big Snout’s TV, and ate like pigs.

A few days later, the big bad wolf knocked on the pig’s door and said, “Little pigs! Little pigs! I’m freezing. Please open your door, and let me come in.”

Barn Breath snorted, “No! Not by the peach fuzz on our cheeks and butts.”

Big Snout said softly, “Brothers, I think we should let him in.”

But Barn Breath said, “No way, brother.”

And Curl Tail agreed: “Yeah, that would be stupid.”

The wolf threatened them: “If you don’t let me in, I’ll huff and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down.”

“Ha, ha,” Curly Tail giggled. “You make threats, but you don’t follow through.”

“You can huff and puff all you want,” Barn Breath laughed. “We aren’t afraid of you.”

The wolf pounded his paws on their door, and howled, “You fat unfriendly pigs! I’ve had enough.”

“Woo-ooo!” Curly Tail yelled.

“Mr. Wolf sounds mad!” Barn Breath boomed.

The wolf said, “I killed three sheep, and I need a place to hide from the police. You take my money, but you won’t open your door for me. I’m going to destroy this house, and then I’m going to eat you!”

“Ha, ha,” Curly Tail snickered. “You can bluster all you want, but you’re full of—”

The wolf took a deep breath, and then he blew with all his might, and the house of bricks began to shake.

“Oh, no!” Curly Tail squealed.

“We’re dead meat!” Barn Breath cried.

“I told you not to make fun of him,” Big Snout sighed.

The big bad wolf continued to blow, and blow, and blow. And then, all of a sudden, the house of bricks fell down! The three pigs were out of luck.

The wolf chased after the pigs, and he ate them all up.

And do you know what? The big bad wolf wasn’t lying. He really did feel chilly. He put the brick house back together, wrapped himself in the pig’s blankets, sat down, and watched Big Snout’s TV.

Image Credit: http://pixdaus.com/three-pigs-animals-farm-pig/items/view/175306/

Why Racial Stereotypes Are Not Always Racist: The Lone Ranger (2013)

lone_ranger_ver19_xlgRacial stereotypes are “simplified and often misleading representations of the characteristics of members of a given ethnic group.”1 Stereotypes can be misleading because there will be individuals in a group who do not have the same characteristics as other group members. It is a common misconception that racial stereotypes are always false. On the contrary, in some instances, they may accurately portray individual members of an ethnic group. Stereotypes are not only negative; they can also be positive.

Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger (2013) has been criticized for reinforcing racial stereotypes about Native Americans. Some critics have called the film racist.2 Tonto (Johnny Depp) speaks in broken English, has a painted face, and is referred to as a “noble savage.” Although these are considered racial stereotypes of Native Americans, Tonto’s characterization is not racist.

Racial stereotypes are only racist when they are used to characterize one race as being inferior to another race. Racism is “the ideology that humans are divided into separate and exclusive biological entities called races … and that some races are innately superior to others.”3 For The Lone Ranger to be a racist film, it would have to characterize Native Americans as being inferior to white people. Tonto, representing the Comanche Indians, is not inferior to anyone.

One stereotype in the film is Tonto’s inability to speak English as well as a white person. A recurring (and funny) line is when he says, “Make trade.” Tonto is not inferior because of his broken English. On the contrary, he is bilingual, a sign of intelligence, and he has learned a second language without going to school.

Tonto does not have any formal education, yet he has something more important: wisdom and life experience. In contrast, John Reid (Armie Hammer), who has a University degree, is naïve and out of touch with the real world. He refuses to carry a gun, saying, “I don’t believe in them.” Unarmed, he gets shot, falls off his horse and nearly dies. In an earlier scene, he does not realize that a poster for “Reds” is for a brothel, and when he sees the women in the brothel, he does not know they are prostitutes. Reid grows as a human being and becomes the Lone Ranger due to Tonto’s wisdom and influence. Tonto’s characterization as the “wise” Native American is a positive stereotype.

Another stereotype in the film is Tonto’s painted face. Although the style of his face paint may not be historically accurate,4 and the dead crow on his head is a parody of the Comanche Indians, Tonto’s strange appearance is used for comic effect, to make audiences laugh, not to portray him as inferior. Stereotypes arise from past and present observations of an ethnic group, and some of those observations are funny. Tonto, however, is more than a comic character. A loyal friend to Reid, he twice rescues him from death, often risking his own life in the process, even after Reid has abandoned him. Tonto is the hero of the film, a brave warrior who is not afraid to die, a positive stereotype of Native Americans.

Perhaps the most controversial stereotype in the film is Tonto being referred to as a noble savage. In a flash forward scene, he is too old to work, so he earns money in a circus by standing in a tableaux called “Noble Savage in his Natural Habitat.” This term is not negative or demeaning. A noble savage is “a representative of primitive mankind … symbolizing the innate goodness of humanity when free from the corrupting influence of civilization.”5 Tonto may fit the definition of a noble savage, but he is not a brutal one. A white man, Cavendish (William Fichtner), is the brutal savage. He guts Dan Reid (James Badge Dale) with a knife and eats his heart. Cavendish, who killed everyone in Tonto’s village, is the most inhuman character in the film. Additionally, all of the “bad guys” in the film are white men—another racial stereotype.

In The Lone Ranger, the Comanche Indians are innocent victims of white men, but the historical reality is they were a brutal and violent tribe. The word Comanche means “anyone who wants to fight me all the time.”6 According to author S.C. Gwynne, when the Comanche attacked white settlers, “All the men were killed, and any men who were captured alive were tortured; the captive women were gang raped. Babies were invariably killed.”7 The film, however, depicts the Comanche as a peaceful tribe who do not attack any white settlements, and only go to war to defend their territory. This is a positive stereotype of Native Americans, and while many Native Americans in the 19th century were peaceful, there are others who were not. Thus, it is not only negative stereotypes that can give us a simplified and misleading representation of an ethnic group; positive stereotypes can too.

Notes

  1. Questia, s.v. “Ethnic Stereotypes,” accessed October 31, 2014, http://www.questia.com/library/psychology/social-psychology/ethnic-stereotypes
  2. Aisha Harris, “Johnny Depp’s Tonto: Not as Racist as You Might Think. But Still Kind of Racist,” Slate, July 3, 2013, http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2013/07/03/johnny_depp_as_tonto_lone_ranger_movie_pushes_against_racism_but_reinforces.html
  3. Encyclopædia Britannica, s.v. “Racism,” accessed October 31, 2014, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/488187/racism
  4. Caity Weaver, “Johnny Depp’s Tonto is Based on a White Man’s Painting of an Imaginary Native American,” Gawker, May 1, 2012, http://gawker.com/5906868/johnny-depps-tonto-is-based-on-a-white-mans-painting-of-an-imaginary-native-american
  5. Oxford Dictionaries, s.v. “Noble Savage,” accessed May 5, 2015, http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/noble-savage
  6. Encyclopædia Britannica, s.v. “Comanche,” accessed April 4, 2017, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Comanche-people
  7. Jonathan Foreman, “The truth Johnny Depp wants to hide about the real-life Tontos: How Comanche Indians butchered babies, roasted enemies alive and would ride 1,000 miles to wipe out one family,” Daily Mail, August 18, 2013, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2396760/How-Comanche-Indians-butchered-babies-roasted-enemies-alive.html#ixzz4cIFIGSB9

How the Palestinian Authority Encourages Terrorism

dalalThe Palestinian Authority (PA) is the interim “self-governing authority” that represents the Palestinian residents of the West Bank.1 In March 2017, the PA honored Dalal Mughrabi by naming a youth camp in Jericho the “Brothers of Dalal.”2 This is shocking because Mughrabi was a terrorist. By celebrating her as a national hero, the PA is encouraging acts of terrorism.

Dalal Mughrabi took part in the worst terrorist attack in Israeli history. As reported by the Times of Israel, “On March 11, 1978, Mughrabi and several other Fatah terrorists landed on a beach near Tel Aviv, hijacked a bus on Israel’s Coastal Road and killed 38 civilians, 13 of them children, and wounded over 70.”3 Mughrabi was killed by Israeli forces, and following her death, many buildings and streets in the West Bank have been named after her.4

Naming a youth camp after a dead terrorist is an example of moral inversion: declaring evil to be good. A Palestinian Authority official, Ramallah Laila Ghannam, praised the initiative for “remembering the pure-hearted Martyrs.”5 The PA should be condemned by the International Community for honoring Mughrabi. She was a criminal, not a martyr.

Unfortunately, honoring dead terrorists is common practice by the PA. A 2010 report by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) included “100 examples of places and events named after 46 different terrorists.”6 Instead of condemning Palestinian terrorists for killing Israeli citizens, the PA celebrates them as heroes, even though they killed innocent people.

Honoring and celebrating terrorists sends a message to Palestinians that if you carry out acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens, the PA may one day honor and celebrate you. Naming a youth camp after Mughrabi is a tacit endorsement of terrorism by the PA. They are encouraging Palestinians to follow her example, and do what she did. Further, by calling a dead terrorist a “martyr”, the current leadership of the Palestinian Authority stands for radical Islam. And the goal of radical Islam is to destroy the state of Israel.

Notes

  1. “Palestinian Authority,” The Reut Institute, accessed March 12, 2017, http://reut-institute.org/Publication.aspx?PublicationId=563
  2. Brooke Singman, “PLO names youth camp after terrorist who murdered 37,” Fox News, March 7, 2017, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/03/07/plo-names-youth-camp-after-terrorist-who-murdered-37.html
  3. “Palestinian Authority holds youth camp in terrorist’s honor,” Times of Israel, March 6, 2017, http://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinian-authority-holds-youth-camp-in-terrorists-honor/
  4. “Israel Balks as Palestine Honors Militants,” CBS News, March 24, 2010, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/israel-balks-as-palestine-honors-militants/
  5. Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “PLO names youth camp after terrorist who led murder of 37,” Palestinian Media Watch, March 5, 2017, http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=20557
  6. Itamar Marcus, “From Terrorists to Role Models: The Palestinian Authority’s Institutionalization of Incitement,” Palestinian Media Watch, May 2010, http://palwatch.org/STORAGE/special%20reports/PA%20honors%20terrorists%20Final%20Eng.pdf

The Sheep Who Refused To Fight: A Fable

sheep-goatA goat herder bought a herd of young goats and raised them in a field that he owned. But he was mean and cruel, and enjoyed yelling at them, and chasing them around the field. Then one evening, he left the gate open, and when he came back the next morning, the goats were gone.

The goats had fled to a grassy plain where they could graze. They enjoyed their freedom and had plenty to eat. However, one night, after the goats went to sleep, they were attacked by a wolf. No matter where the herd went, the wolf followed them, and every night the goats wondered which goat he would eat next.

A nanny goat decided to do something about the wolf. She waited until sunrise (when the wolf went to sleep), then she tip-toed away, and walked all day until she came to a flock of sheep.

“A wolf has eaten nearly half of my herd,” the nanny goat said to the sheep. “Can you send your strongest and bravest rams to help us?”

The sheep, both ewes and rams, all replied, “We are peaceful sheep and don’t believe in fighting. But if any goats want to come and live with us, they are welcome here.”

The nanny goat pleaded with the sheep; however, no matter what she said, they would not change their minds, so she kicked the ground and left them.

When the nanny goat returned home, to her great surprise, the young billy goats had grown horns.

That night, she gathered the billy goats together, and they rammed the wolf in the head until he dropped dead.

Several days later, a ewe lamb came to the goats and said, “A pack of wolves has attacked our flock. Can you send your strongest and bravest billy goats to help us?”

The billy goats shook their heads. “No; it’s not our fight.”

The nanny goat reminded her, “None of your rams came when we needed help.”

The ewe lamb pleaded with the goats, yet no matter what she said, she could not change their minds. So she kicked the ground and left them.

When the ewe lamb returned home, she bleated and cried. The wolves were gone, and all that remained of her flock was bits of wool and scattered bones.