Fri. Apr 19th, 2024
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Police Pig

Pig” is one of the many common slang terms for police officers. Since pigs are generally viewed as being foul and unpleasant creatures, and comparing pigs to humans is almost always done unfavorably in an offensive way, it’s frequently used as a very derogatory insult by people who don’t really like the police for various reasons.

“Pig” is especially reserved for cops who are regarded as being idiotic or incompetentcorrupt crooks, and violently (or even homicidallyaggressive towards other people. These negative stereotypes of the police also strongly parallel boorish behaviors commonly associated with pigs; such as greed and gluttony (which fits well with the common joke of donut-munching cops), leaving behind big messes for others to clean up, and generally being quite stubborn and ill-tempered (pigs can be very aggressive when it comes to securing food and territory, or when reacting to other perceived threats and provocations).

For this reason, fiction often uses “pig/cop” as a Literal Metaphor or Visual Pun, and portrays police officers as anthropomorphic pigs. In more realistic works, cops may instead have pigs as an Animal Motif or may have some vaguely pig-like traits. However, this isn’t always used in a negative way; in some stories (such as those set in a World of Funny Animals), a policeman may be a pig solely as a Stealth Pun. That being said, Stealth Pun examples are more likely to be seen as more neutral as opposed to outright heroic due to the negative context. However, this trope is not about simply calling the police “pigs”; the association must be strong within the work itself or at least prominently drawn attention to at some point.

This trope is Older Than They Think. The first known usage of “pig” to refer to a police officer was recorded in 1811. The 1972 animated film Fritz the Cat portrayed the cops as pigs (pictured on the top right), which helped to give the term a big comeback in modern times. This term is not exclusive to the English language either; the association of pigs with police carries over to other languages as well. Just for one example, the Finnish word sika (“pig”) is also used as an insult to the police. 

Existing tropes about pigs can also easily be combined with tropes about police. When The Bad Guys Are Cops, this trope will be naturally combined with Sinister Swine. Anthropomorphic pigs also have a tendency to be portrayed as (racist and/or sexist) Politically Incorrect Villains, so Bigot with a Badge naturally compliments that. As mentioned above, expect to see Donut Mess with a Cop mixed with Gluttonous Pig. There’s also a fair amount of overlap possible with Messy Pig or Perverted Pig. However, police pigs are rather unlikely to be Brainy Pigs, instead playing up the stereotype of being stubbornly (and literally) “pigheaded” to comically dimwitted extremes.

Also see Detective Animal, if the pig-cop is played as being more of an observant investigator. For other Animal Occupation Stereotypes (although these usually have much more neutral or even positive connotations), see Firehouse DalmatianBoxing KangarooFighting PandaMole MinerSemiaquatic Species Sailor, and Busy Beaver. Also compare Foxy Vixen for another trope about animals being used as a Visual Pun regarding their name.

No Real Life Examples, Please! Since this trope is about a derogatory term, real-life examples (especially in the context of police-related controversies, or political activism in reaction to it) would only attract controversy.

   Comic Strips
  • Pearls Before Swine: Mentioned in one strip, where Rat loses Pig at a protest and shouts “Pig! Come here, Pig!” while trying to find him. He accidentally attracts the attention of an irritated police officer in the process.
    Fan Works
  • The Air Watch, in the Discworld, is made up of Witches with a passion for flight who provide Sam Vimes with an aerial dimension. Aware of the derogatory nickname, the Air Witches have claimed N-Word Privileges for themselves and their unit badge depicts a pig in a pointy hat astride a broomstick. Of course, any civilian referring to Flying Pigs might still get a taster of Watch brutality. Read more in the works of A.A. Pessimal.
    Films — Animated
  • Fritz the Cat portrays police officers (pictured on the top-right) as corruptincompetetentanthropomorphic pigs. As noted earlier on the page, the film was a major reason for the usage of “pig” as an insult for cops making a big comeback in The ’70s.
  • Hoodwinked!: There are three policeman pigs who appear a few times in the movie, and they are shown to be quite gluttonous.
  • Sing: Serves as a double Stealth Pun. When Marcus breaks out of jail to see Johnny perform in the ruins of the Moon Theater, one of the cops searching for him is a pig flying aboard a helicopter.
  • Zootopia: A Stealth Pun example. At the end of the film, when Dawn Bellwether is in prison, a pig policewoman/guard can be seen watching the prisoners.
    Films — Live-Action
  • Discussed and Played for Laughs in Dr. Dolittle, where a group of animals block the path to the building where the titular character is performing a life-saving operation on a circus tiger, which he kidnapped. The animals respond by chanting “Pigs, go home!” Actual pigs were among the animals, and assume they actually wanted them to go home until Lucky said they weren’t speaking about them.
  • Spiral (2021): As a Visual Pun in regards to their MO (specifically, targeting corrupt cops), the Spiral Killer has a police pig puppet named “Mr. Snuggles.”
  • Animal Farm: Played with. The pigs aren’t necessarily police but are still in high positions of authority, and turn the farm into an oppressive dictatorship, using Angry Guard Dogs to enforce their Reign of Terror. The Acceptable Targets part of this trope is played straight, in that the pigs were meant to represent tyrannical despots such as Josef Stalin, who ran the Soviet Union as a totalitarian Police State.
  • Filth: The book’s cover depicts a pig in a police hat, and the book itself is about a Corrupt Cop undergoing Sanity Slippage.
  • The Stand: Randall Flagg, the demonic protagonist of the book, is described as wearing a denim jacket with several buttons pinned to it. One of them depicts a dead pig wearing a policeman’s cap. “How’s Your Pork?” is written along the bottom of the button.
  • In Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, the policemen are pigs. This raised controversy and resulted in the book being banned in some schools and libraries.
    Live-Action TV
    Puppet Shows
  • The Muppets:
    • In the “Bear on Patrol” sketches on The Muppet Show, Officer Fozzie’s superior is Link Hogthrob.
    • In The Muppet Movie, when Dr Teeth is running through a variety of slang terms for the police, he gets as far as spelling “The P.I…” before Miss Piggy tells him not to finish that sentence.
    Video Games
  • Pikelet from Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is a Pig Man and the chief of the Showdown Town Police Force. While he doesn’t even pretend to not be looking forward to beat the bear and bird duo if they even think of breaking one of his highly arbitrary rules, he isn’t above letting them go if they are willing to grease his hooves a bit. Notes make the world go around, after all.
  • In Disco Elysium, “pig” is a common insult used against cops in Revachol, and since many residents of the Martinaise district lack respect for the RCM, it gets thrown at the Detective and Kim a lot. Also referencing this trope is a woman who calls herself “The Pigs”, who has a large collection of police paraphernalia and speaks almost entirely in nonsensical copspeak. When you meet her, Kim wryly notes how refreshing it is that someone else is being called a “pig” for once.
  • In the Duke Nukem series, one of Duke’s most typical enemies are the Pig Cops, who are LAPD officers that were mutated into monstrous Pig Men by the evil aliens.
  • Mother 3: The main villains are the Pigmasks, a paramilitary organization whose members wear pig-faced masks and helmets, and whose leader is Porky Minch (himself likened to a pig) turned Dragon Ascendant.
  • Police Quest: Many antagonistic characters throughout the series call Sonny Bonds or the Lytton police in general pigs. Tawnee V. Helmut in the first game’s remake even mocks the protagonist with several things associated with pigs (a sty, rolling in mud, and oinking) after receiving a ticket. Conversely, in the fourth game only Yo Money references those animals, calling Dennis Walker “a boil on a pig’s butt”, which is not meant to disparage the new protagonist John Carey and he immediately apologizes for any potential insult from that line.
  • The fan-made Pokémon parody Pokémon Clover has Piguson, a pig-like Pokémon who dresses up as a police officer. It also chases after Vandash (a Pokémon based on Black stereotypes) in a jab at the bias against black people from the police, and its name references the Ferguson riots, which began after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer.
    Web Animation
    Web Original
  • Vixen: NYC: Maksai gains the ability to change his minions into animal men. He turns a cop who stumbles onto his hideout into a pig-man, lampshading it as an appropriate transformation.
    Western Animation

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