Friday, July 09, 2010


Seems like every day George Harrison's classic song "Piggies" is the true soundtrack of our lives. In the past day, you could play it as background for such headlines as: the BP oil spill continues, 2 suicide bombers kill 50 people in Pakistan, or obscenely rich ex-eBay CEO Meg "Pig" Whitman runs for Governor of California. More people in the news? How about LeBron James leaving Cleveland (where he even lives) to get an even bigger and piggier amount of money to play for Miami? How about zoologist Jack Hanna declaring in 50 years half the animal species will be extinct? What's causing it…except human piggies with their over-population and their sadistic and ignorant pastimes of hunting and seeking aphrodisiacs and status symbol fur coats to wear?

On this Animal Farm that we live in, "piggies" is too nice a word for most corporate villains and politicians, to say nothing of the radical Islamic loonies who would be deeply offended at any reference to pork while they grind people into sausage. But "piggies" suits the ridiculous "stars" who are constantly in the headlines. That includes Lindsay Lohan literally giving a "Fuck U" in court, George Michael once again in trouble with the law, and Mel Gibson "using the 'n' word" (as the tabloids shiveringly put it) and facing 4 years in jail for punching his girlfriend. Also in the news: Leslie Van Houten, now 60 and a model prisoner for 40 years, actually denied parole for the 19th time on the grounds that a lesson needs to still be sent to those who think actresses, socialites and rich businessmen can be slaughtered as "piggies" by a cult of hippies. Key phrase there: "by a cult of hippies." Otherwise, yes they can, and it happens every day.

George Harrison's dead…otherwise he could spend an entire 2 hour concert adding verses to "Piggies," including the phenomenon of "entitlement," that means immigrants automatically get welfare (ie "the dole") and illegal ones get even more, that overcrowded jails mean even murderers can skip out free in a year or two if they've even been convicted, and that the sense of "entitlement" has yielded vast armies of selfish and clueless fools who think that the only freedom worth fighting for is getting anything copyrighted for free…mostly because they are obsessed with idiot celebrities and must own (free) the latest musical tripe from Lady Gaga or get the latest rotten movie about vampires (bloodsucking and parasitism being something they identity with so readily).

Mel Gibson's news, which should be on a back page somewhere along with the news of Lindsay Lohan or George Michael, is front page because so many piggies care about the piggy lives of "celebrities." We're supposed to care about nauseating couples such as Katy Perry and Russell Brand, or worry over "Brangelina" breaking up, or care what's happened to Jon and Kate. It's ridiculous enough to care about talented millionaire singers or actors, but it hits rock-bottom when the subject of all the attention is some talentless swine from a scripted low-budget "reality" show. The Kardashians shouldn't be allowed in a Burger King much less on television. They are no talent. As for faint talent, how often do we see pictures of an aging, idiot-speak model (who only has the talent to stand in front of a camera after the make-up artist and wardrobe mistress did all the work) and her husband, whose hoarse crooning is not original at all, just Johnny Mathis after being kicked in the balls by Phil Collins. Yet we constantly need to know what's going on with baby-making Heidi Klum and her trained Seal.

Piggies constantly gobble up media coverage by their appallingly bad behavior…which is only matched by their appalling lack of talent. Charlie Sheen? Making a million an episode? On a sitcom? When he has no comic skills at all? He replaced boorish bastard Jim Belushi as America's long-running sitcom star on a show with no laughs, and Noisy Jim was also in the headlines for being a creep. Meanwhile anyone who comes out gay only needs an ounce of talent, since the homosexual cliques in Hollywood (from the top, with Barry Diller, Jann Wenner and David Geffen among them) will keep them constantly in front of the cameras, in disproportion to their abilities. Or do you think Neil Patrick Harris or David Hyde Pierce really have talent? Not to mention coy Ryan Seacrest, milking the "is he or isn't he" game. The press is loaded with gay gossip column writers and anyone tacky (Perez Hilton) can instantly join and become famous just by being a piggy. With almost nobody working at their craft long enough to display actual acting, singing or dancing skills, we now have idiot piggies for superstars, ones named "Vienna" or "Snooki" or "Omarosa," and this slop is good enough for all the piggies to be fed every night, in time-slots that once went to television programs of style, intellect and courage. But piggies watch anything, and most are home all day long to wallow in whatever burbling twits like Rachael Ray or Martha Stewart have to say, or what "The View" crones want to interrupt each other with, or what garbage somebody's giving away on "Let's Make a Deal" or "Price is Right." Piggies also are fascinated by learning if some white trash or tar ball is or isn't the father of some other piece of baby-spawning shit getting a lie detector test from Maury Povich. Or what moron is being yelled at by Judge Judy…who herself is to celebrity what an old shoe is to breakfast. Not to mention Jerry Springer except briefly.

And as George Harrison sang it, everywhere there's lots of piggies…so every country has their home-groan share. Oh Goody. (Jade Goody, for U.K. piggies…and let's never forget her.) But let's not get off on a rant, here! Back to the original point...

"Piggies" came to mind recently and specifically, thanks to that reliable and drunken embarrassment Mel Gibson, once an action-movie idol, but now acting like Pete Doherty's grandpa. Frankly, Mel doesn't deserve the epithet "piggy." He goes whole hog in being a misanthrope, misogynist and racist. He does win a point or two for rarely denying any of it. At best, he just grits his teeth and remains silent, asking everyone instead to go see his latest violent, misogynistic, racist movie. Let's not be too hypocritical, either; Mel says things many of us actual "think." Most especially when we're not thinking. But really, who hasn't thought of saying "sugar tits" to a bitchy female cop or some other hottie on a power trip? Who hasn't grumbled about some Jews in the world who act in a stereotypical way (though NOT your beloved Three Stooges, Mel). Who hasn't seethed over an idiot wife or girlfriend dressing or acting like she would like to be the star of a gang-rape porn video? As for the "N" word, it's "Nigger." Thinking hostile thoughts about blacks is something 90% of whites do, just as 90% of blacks think hostile thoughts about whites, but "Whigger" or 'Honky" or "Cracker" isn't as cutting a word (which is why the pen isn't mightier than the switchblade, for most ghetto-dwellers.)

Mel Gibson also called his girlfriend a "psycho cunt," and is there ANY man alive who hasn't at one time thought the same thing about his beloved significant other? Mel also told her once, "I am going to come and burn the fucking house down, but you will blow me first!" Oh for fuck's sake, it's entirely possible Ralph Kramden once said that to Alice. Except in sitcomland all he ever really did was threaten her with the massive domestic violence of being punched so hard she'd land on the moon. People say Mel Gibson is stupid. Well, finally, the proof is in. He got involved with someone even more of a swine than he…and more intelligent. She came well prepared for her relationship with him; she carried a secret recorder, to get every word of his down for posterity. And her lawyer. And you can't write a piece about "piggies" without mentioning a lawyer.

Yes, "everywhere there's lots of Piggies."

And who is the Illfolks choice to sing about it? Theodore Bikel, who was briefly calling himself Theo Bikel in the late 60's, when he recorded this tarnished gem. At the time, Bikel was considered some fogey-actor, as out of touch as Sebastian (album of Bob Dylan narration) Cabot. Bikel had become one of the ex-Tevyes, after all, appearing on Broadway in the un-cool (too Jewish!) "Fiddler on the Roof." How DARE any actor over 40 even TOUCH a Dylan or Beatles number?? Besides, never trust anyone over 30! That message, cried out by oh-so-tolerant, peace-loving flower children, was very much in the air at the time. So forget the facts, including that Bikel in the early 60's was hanging around the same Village locations as Dylan, was singing the same protest songs, and fucking the same hippie chicks as some of his better-credential'd van Ronk and Rollers. A renaissance man (not that he fucked Annie Haslam), Bikel had a massive resume at the time he recorded his Warners album, and it's gotten bigger. Christ, compared to Jon Gosselin, Bikel is Orson Welles. Compared to the latest American Idol schmuck, Somebody UnWyze, Bikel's George Harrison. So let him sing "Piggies" and don't have a cow about it!

So as you leave this blog, and inevitably run into the latest LiLo headline, Brangelina gossip, or tape-recorded rant or video-recorded raunch from Mel Gibson, have Theo Bikel's "Piggies" as a keepsake. With its zany opening, moog-ish vogue underpinnings and lyrics-as-art recitation capturing the zeitgeist of the times (even I'm nauseated by this sentence), this is quite a version of "Piggies." Ricky Gervais couldn't do any better, and let's pray to Christ he doesn't try.


Hazy Dave said...

Thanks, Illy. I've always enjoyed Theo's contribution to Zappa's "200 Motels". (The movie's pretty difficult to sit through, but the album is still a very listenable hodgepodge of FZ material.)

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