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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

PIGASUS the PIG



Writing entertaining stories often proves difficult for me. Though I never feel at a loss for subject matter, piecing together a story filled with tension, conflict, and a satisfying ending is the challenge. That is why posting short articles to this blog is such fun for me. This week's post is a bit tongue-in-cheek.
    
Disillusioned by the choice of presidential candidates during the 1968 presidential campaign, college students in Chicago during the days before the convention decided to submit their own candidate. As a planned protest, several young men purchased a pig they dubbed Pigasus and hauled it to the Civic Center Plaza where they proclaimed the cloven-hoofed animal their choice for president. The idea was to show the country how ineffectual the government could be.

Chicago police arrived on the scene to scatter the participants. History records that those taken into custody asked the officers how they learned of the protest. The reported response, whether urban legend or truth, stands:

"The pig squealed."

The protesters soon learned a valuable lesson: for every action ... there are consequences. Following is an excerpt from the official public court record concerning the arrest of seven men and the aforementioned pig:

MR. KUNSTLER: Mr. Ochs, can you describe the pig which was finally bought?
MR. FORAN: Objection.
THE COURT: I sustain the objection.

MR. KUNSTLER: Would you state what, if anything, happened to the pig?
THE WITNESS: The pig was arrested with seven people.

MR. KUNSTLER: When did that take place?
THE WITNESS: This took place on the morning of August 23, at the Civic Center underneath the Picasso sculpture.

MR. KUNSTLER: Who were those seven people?
THE WITNESS: Jerry Rubin. Stew Albert, Wolfe Lowenthal, myself is four; I am not sure of the names of the other three.

MR. KUNSTLER: What were you doing when you were arrested?
THE WITNESS: We were arrested announcing the pig's candidacy for President.

MR. KUNSTLER: Did Jerry Rubin speak?
THE WITNESS: Yes, Jerry Rubin was reading a prepared speech for the pig---the opening sentence was something like, "I, Pigasus, hereby announce my candidacy for the Presidency of the United States." He was interrupted in his talk by the police who arrested us.

MR. KUNSTLER: What was the pig doing during this announcement?
MR. FORAN: Objection.
MR. KUNSTLER: Do you remember what you were charged with?
THE WITNESS: I believe the original charge mentioned was something about an old Chicago law about bringing livestock into the city, or disturbing the peace, or disorderly conduct, and when it came time for the trial, I believe the charge was disorderly conduct.

MR. KUNSTLER: Were you informed by an officer that the pig had squealed on you?
MR. FORAN: Objection. I ask it be stricken.
THE WITNESS: Yes.
THE COURT: I sustain the objection. When an objection is made do not answer until the Court has ruled. . .

For more information about this protest: http://www.porkopolis.org/2008/pigasus/

2 comments:

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks for digging that episode out of the archives, Gail. It's hard to imagine anyone taking the incident seriously enough to press charges. But then, that was the era.

Actually Jerry Rubin and company made a better point by being taken to court. The incident would have been forgotten long ago if not for the authorities.

We now have a suspended coach in the DC area. A parent of a kid who was kicked off the team objected to the coach's giving the team buzz cuts, even though the boys were actually honored that he did so. Evidently, it was a rite of passage. Anyway, after getting suspended, he voluntarily coached the team. The parent didn't accomplish much.

Both were rebel without a cause situations. 1968 wasn't a very good year for presidential candidates anyway.

Gail Baugniet said...

Elaine,
I agree with your comment: The incident would have been forgotten long ago if not for the authorities.

It brings to mind the mad hatter's comment that a certain event would be easier to forget ... if we didn't make a memo of it.

Of course, as writers, we tend to make a note of everything!