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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Of Blogs and Rats and Me

Why do I blog?
This is as good an answer as any.

At this point, I'd like to inform everyone that Stephan Pastis (may he live forever and continue to draw Pearls) owns Pearls Before Swine. I don't. Copyright and all that, everything, belongs to Pastis & Co.

Pearls is my favourite strip. Not that kind of strip, perv. Comic strips. The kind they put in newspapers. Like, say, Dilbert. Anyway, about Pearls. It's my favourite strip (I love repeating myself). Not Calvin & Hobbes (it's a close second), not Garfield (third, like Ender), not Dilbert (it's nowhere on the list), not {insert name of comic strip here}, it's Pearls Before Swine that's my favourite. The title is taken from a line in the Bible, that goes something like, thou shalt cast no pearls before swine. The strip is about a bunch of anthropomorphic animals that live in a city, alongside humans. Humans don't appear in the strip very often, and when they do, they don't find talking animals unusual at all.

The humour is dark, it often comes across as insensitive, there are plenty of people lobbying for the un-syndication of Pearls, it pokes fun at many serious issues, but, bottom line is, I find it funny. Funny as in 'hahahaha if I laugh any more I'll die' funny.
Pearls, for the lack of better words, is me. I can identify with all of the main characters in the strip, except one. God, not that one, please.

The hero, Rat, is the personification of our greatest vices. And I don't count greatness as a vice. I think, when things get really really sticky, we think about our own skins alone. I don't mean that we are all always uncaring monsters, we do give lots of damns about our loved ones, it's just that we love our own selves a little more. Take unrequited love, for instance. X (yeah, took me an hour think up the name) loves Y (it was easier this time, only 45 minutes). But Y does not love X (big surprise, huh?). X is sad (understatement of the year) because (duh!) Y does not love X. What I'm trying to say is, although X loves Y, all X is wants is another person to love X. There is no such thing as an unselfish act. No, that's too general. I have never come across a completely unselfish act. Think about it.
Rat is the personification, or more accurately, the rodentification, of the worst of many of my faults, magnified into something enormous that fits into the body of a rat. He is a self-centred, cynical, cruel, sarcastic, insensitive, totally hateful megalomaniac. I know myself well enough to realise that I have a nasty streak in me. I don't kick small children, but I'm tempted to, if they bug me. I need to use a lot of restraint when it comes to not pulling their hair out by the roots when they do that to me, the force of temptation being directly proportional to the age of the child. Rat is multi-talented, he writes children's books and romance novels, owns a tabloid (The National Enquirat), and is also a highly successful (what else?) lawyer.

Pig, Rat's roomie, is, well, a little dumb. He says and does a lot of things that are misunderstood, because he did not know they could be taken the wrong way. He is innocent, not very worldly-wise, shy, insecure, a little slow, a misfit among his peers (he likes bacon). I wish I could say I'm nothing like him, but the truth is that I'm too much like him for comfort. But he's also very sweet, a description that, sadly, does not apply to me.
Rat: If you could have a conversation with one person, living or dead, who would it be?
Pig: The living one.
Pig: You must really think I'm stupid.

Goat is quite intelligent, a loner, prefers books to people, is always the butt of Rat's ridicule, and easily exasperated by stupidity and apathy. He can't stand Rat, either, but it's always Rat who gets the last word. Goat keeps a blog that no one reads. Yes, I know, the resemblance is uncanny.

Zebra is a very ordinary sort of guy, but unfortunately, prey. There are all kinds of predators waiting to eat him, or one of his herd members back home in Africa. He's an idealist, trying to make the predators more understanding about the plight of becoming eaten. Not a particularly easy task, when staying alive is hard enough. He also has a lot of principles that he lives by, and he finds it frustrating when they are paid no heed. I could write entire books on the subject.

Most people have guard dogs, but Pig has a Guard Duck. His solution to every problem, small or big, is his rocket launcher. Not a bad idea, that. Nothing like a rocket launcher to stop others from being annoying.

Da Brudderhood of Zeeba Zeeba Eata. The dumbest Crocs on earth live next door to Zebra, and are such incompetent predators that they have to subsist on take out from KFC. Da only seemilareety between da Crocs and me ees dat me sometimes talk like dem. But that could be because I'm addicted to Pearls.

The jokes in the strip are my favourite kind- horrible puns that would leave my victims writhing in agony.
Rat: I saw my cousin Gene today.
Pig: Is he the guy that runs marathons?
Rat: Yeah, but he's a real jerk ... nobody in my family likes him.
Pig: It must be tough to have a bad Gene that runs in the family.

I hope everyone liked the new display picture. And do check out Pearls here. You can read the Wikipedia entry on Pearls here. Enjoy.

There are dozens of recurring characters, like Danny Donkey, Farina, Stromoski, and Angry Bob, who is the hero of the romance novels Rat writes, but none of them are, well, me. The day I become Angry Bob is the day I die (pun intended). Plus the strip is really complex, with cross overs, pop culture references, running gags, and all. In short, just like life. But taken in in its entirety, the strip is totally me.

I'd like to remind everyone that all of the pictures I have used here, and the characters, are the property of Stephan Pastis, the creator of Pearls, and that the copyright and things belong to him.

There are very few things for which I have strong feelings, humour is one of them. My tastes are another. There are a few more, but Medicine tops the list. I also love stating the obvious. I don't know how boring this has been, I talk seriously only about issues that are very close to my heart.

From now on, I'll be ending all my posts on this blog with a joke that I find funny. I'm going to call it *drumroll* Postal Joke.
Pig: What are you reading?
Goat (holding book): It's a mystery.
Pig: Have you checked the title page?


Tys on Ice said...

:) ..u just made me a loyal reader of this strip...i totally understand with wht u said abt identifying with some of the characters...we r ultimately an amalgum of all traits..thts probably why all those zodiac books sells...

I think iam a lot like the goat..atleast the antisocial part :) but u wud hve made a gud rat ;)

Sreejith said...

Now that's one long post! so long comment to do justice.

As tys said.. another one added to the fan club. I like those crocodiles and pig and goat and even the duck and the hyenas. And rat's just like me! and i like me... so i like rat too. drat i like them all!! As for Dilbert... your appreciation will only start when you sit in that cubicle and start working. Whatever the man writes is the truth.

btw, long back when i started writing, i too promised to end with postal jokes but in the end my posts ended up as jokes! Hope you fare better.

You remind me of me :)

mathew said...

i have never read these strips..thanks for loading it..seems like am getting to be a fan of it too..

btw Calvin never stands second ..he is always first okay!!;-P

ToOothlEss WOndeR! said...

all my life i have been a loyal stripper, and a gentleman.
(dont you think that's extremely funny?) and i've never come across the rat and the swine.
now i did. :)

satish said...

wow! gud work! 'living or dead' wala mast tha.

I am glad that I visited your blog.

Spunky Monkey said...

Okay, now I know who you are. I thought you would be some Arundhati Pottakkaraanjekkil; turns out you are not!
I am such a sleuth. Say Bhesh, Bhesh.

Adorable Pancreas said...

@tys on ice:
You're Goat? How does this affect me?

You're me? You have half a locket that matches with my half?

Pearls sort of grows on you. And it displaced C&H for me. Sorry. :)

@toothless wonder:
I do. I've een told I have a warped sense of humour.

Thank you for dropping by. :)

@spunky monkey:
Bhesh, bhesh, Sherlock. Now go back to your cocaine bottle.

Hershey Desai said...

ALL HAIL PBS! and those who think thats short of peanut butter sandwich..they are fodder for the crocs!

Kusum Rohra said...

I have been a loyal reader of this for such a long time. Me and beau both go nuts over some of the strips. There are so many lines which I remember from pearls. I am definitely linking this post on my blog.

Great job :)

love and squalor said...

one helluva long post that was. lemme confess that I din read all of it.
I was too eager to show off my own broad knowledge and deep sophistication by recommending 'rhymes with orange'.

Bob Andelman said...

You might enjoy this audio interview with “Pearls Before Swine” cartoonist Stephan Pastis.