The Meaning of Pig Fucking at the End of History

Tweet all you want. But this was no mistake. This was ordained. This is your death coming for you, and it is too late to escape.


In his book Living in the End Times currently unfashionable philosopher Slavoj Zizek added a fourth category to Donald Rumsfeld’s famous epistemological index of “known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns.” The idea of a Zizek’s addition — unknown knowns — was that of truths that we all secretly knew, but refused to admit into our consciousness. The revelations of Wikileaks were the example used to elucidate this concept: of course we all knew Western armies behaved immorally and savagely, but we collectively chose not to acknowledge this. In refusing to discuss or operate on such truths publicly, we hid from ourselves and society the foundational pillar necessary for personal belief: the belief of the Big Other — the totemic belief we posit in some external body that allows our own knowledge to function as valid.

In some ways, I think that the recent allegations of David Cameron fucking a pig’s head belong in this very same category. As giddyingly shocking as the revelations are, there is a sense that deep down, on some level, we all already knew this. There is the feeling that suddenly everything makes a little more sense today, that we have simply put on a new pair of glasses correcting a long known visual ill. Cameron putting his penis inside a dead pig is an ancient knowledge that we had simply forgotten: we have remembered it, not learnt it.

The story has still been met with unbridled joy across social media, on a day in which Twitter must surely become the world’s most valuable company. Hordes have rushed to comment, to commit to hashtags, to battle violently for any new space opening up for jokes. We are the Black Friday shoppers. The zombies at the gate. The survivors hunting in the irradiated wastelands for just one more pun, one more fav.

With a story like this, it is hard not to see today as The End of History. The story is so huge, so monumentally perfect, that it is like we have completed The News. The history of all society can only now be seen for what it was: a series of trivialities simply serving as build-up to this moment. And, of course, in the closing of this loop — in the death of dialectical materialism — we can see the pig-fucking ritual for the true evil that it really is.

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In Utopia or Bust, Benjamin Kunkel describes the role of Marxist thought as an attempt to contemplate capitalism in its totality, to elucidate its manifestation across both the smallest and largest features of contemporary life. There is the argument that capitalism’s domination of the global order is so complete, so pervasive, that we can no longer see its effects in action. But the logic of the system of course impacts the role of culture, the behaviour of individuals, and the operation of our politics. Of course it does. And the role of critical theory has been to highlight the invisible chains that tie us to a system that we see as inevitable, but that in reality is contingent, and vulnerable to revolutionary forces.

With stories such as PigGate, we don’t even need to look at the consequences of neoliberal ideology echoing through some seemingly benign cultural phenomenon, we can actually see its machinations at source. This act was not one which unconsciously emerged from neoliberalism’s hidden core, it was something that was explicitly marked out and self-defined as a pre-requisite of admission into its highest stratas.

To be sure, Cameron’s pig-fucking is not isolated from the kind of politics he has come to enact. Fucking the pig was necessary for acceptance into an elite Oxford University society. A society that, while not the society responsible for arguably the top three most powerful Tory politicians currently holding office, is still related to actual power and the actual ruling classes in a very real way.

That acceptance into this elitist society involved fucking a pig is no accident. Essentially, capitalism is one big slow fuck of a dead pig, and the ruling classes’ mistake here was in making this ritual flesh: in making the dark rite to their great God Pan explicit. Pig-fucking is, like Marx always said, built into the very DNA of our ruling class and their power structure.

In these overt snapshots into the heart of darkness, we see the phosphoric, burning eye of the Ideological State Apparatus turn its gaze towards us, and stare back. It dares us to look at it, to contemplate it in its full majesty. The implicit becomes explicit in the boldest checkmate the Lizard enemy could possibly ever make against the Left’s attempts to theorise our way to a new utopia.

And of course, we must remember, the frenzy that this has generated on Twitter is no mistake, no coincidence. As well as boldly revelling in the immorality underpinning our divided society, this move also cuts to the core of any possibility of dissent, destroying all hope of humanity emerging unscathed from this long and violent battle.

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Log onto Twitter today and you’ll soon realise that all puns, jokes, and hot takes about this incident have already been made a hundred times over. You can scrabble around desperately for some new space to open up — perhaps something about Corbyn being a Trotskyist? Perhaps something about bubble and squeak — that could be new? — but in the arms race that is Twitter comedy this is to resort to the lowest of the low: chemical warfare, chlorine bombs desperately being hurled out into the void. All the thoughts have been had. You are now redundant as a person. The hive mind has transcended all, and as such there is nothing left for you here.

In Freudian thought, the counterpoint to the libidinous drive underpinning our psyches (Eros) is perhaps only matched in its foundational nature by that of the Death Drive (Thanatos) — the drive for humans to return to a state of pure being, of inorganic nothingness. In this drive, we are haunted by history, by the archive, for our relation towards it renders our complete self-annihilation impossible. If we are not the only existent, we cannot truly be erased from ever having existed, for those other objects will always strive towards existence through their relations to us, just as our opposing libidinal energies will push us towards infinity through our relations to them. The battle rages onwards, forever, as we seek resolution.

Freud was himself haunted by this notion of the archive. In some of his later work Freud became deeply concerned that he was somehow repeating himself, that his writing was contributing nothing new, or original. He was simply trapped in a repetition, creating a monstrous excess that can only be indicative of the death drive’s failure to destroy the symbolic universe that so spooks our existence.

Could it not be said that Pig Gate is the global realisation of this libidinal mechanism? That in totalising all jokes, about an Event located at the End of History, we have condemned ourself to only experience the possibility of repetition, of the ego’s symbolic anchor to reality? We can still not escape the spectre of the archive, but in the post-pig-archive’s stultifying completeness and closure, we are condemned forever more to roam its unending corridors, stroking its dusty bookshelves. Trapped, we are, in a prism of our own futile attempts to access infinity, realising with guilt that all along nothingness was the only thing that could have saved us, that there was no such thing as Absolute Knowledge. It was the abyss all along! Our existence was a mistake, our consciousness an aberration, and we are now trapped in the eternity of hell, punished for our hubristic desire to develop subjectivity, to describe Cameron as for the chop.

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As you go to type your last tweet — the one that links Nick Clegg back to all of this — you realise that you are unable to type. Your fingers freeze up, creaking as you try to move them across the keyboard. You feel the paralysis creep through your hands, shooting up your arms with an excruciating, stiffening sharpness that jolts you upright into your chair. It is like you are being jacked into the static of the Matrix, twitching as the frequency surges through you. You shake as the virus grips your whole body. Rigid now, you can only stare straight ahead as your screen flickers, the negative image of what looks like David Cameron fucking a pig pulsing quickly in and out of focus as your head swims, and you start to forget who you are. “Dissent is impossible” you hear, as images flash rapidly before you of hundreds of others chained to their seats in this same manner. “Nothing can stop us. We rule all. We are opposed by none. WE ARE THE TOTALITY. WE ARE ANNUNAKI, DESTROYER OF WORLDS”.

Just before you slip into unconscious, you look at the screen again, at the video of Cameron fucking that dead pig. You squint, trying to maintain focus. It can’t be. It isn’t. Please God, no.

For you realise that the video isn’t of David Cameron. It is of you. You are fucking the pig. You are fucking the pig, and you are enjoying it.

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