Monday, March 16, 2009

god is not Great chapter 3: A Brief Digression on the Pig

As this is a brief chapter, my review of it will be similarly short.

As the title suggests, the chapter discusses the pig in the context of religion, as well as a brief discussion of other dietary restrictions. I get the feeling that this chapter has little real purpose other than as a bit of amusement on the part of Hitchens although he does take some of the issues seriously, as well he should.

He discusses in brief the genetic similarities between humans and pigs as well as the interpretations of why they pig might be so maligned by (in particular) Jewish and Muslim scripture. Sadly there is little of real interest here until the end when he discusses the problem of fanatical pig hate from muslim groups, particularly demanding the removal of innocuous pigs such as in A.A Milne's Winnie the Pooh, or the Three Little Pigs, Ms Piggy, etc ad nauseum. My favorite was that apparently George Orwell's Animal Farm is banned in muslim countries despite the pig being basically the villain.

I suppose he does make his point here. When your religion starts dictating these kinds of things, i.e attacking classic literature, or taking offense at something natural's very presence is absurdity, and downright intolerant. Anyone is free to have their beliefs, but to impose their morals and personal prejudices on the public, unless it is provable that it is to the public benefit and non-dogmatic is unacceptable. Here I must agree that even in dietary restrictions religion -can- poison anything. I'm not saying it alwasy does, but the potential is certainly evident.


  1. Wait, I can sort of understand obeying the dietary requirements of a religion. I can understand why all the restaurants in a country dominated by that religion would obey the dietary requirements, as well.

    But banning Piglet?

    You can't eat a literary character.

    Can you?

  2. I don't even mind the dietary requirements in and of themselves. Its the fanatical taking it too far in this case. In many cases in the book, he makes a broad and significant point, but in this chapter I really can't see any group but fundamentalists being a problem.