This is a story about love and death in the golden land, and it begins, of all things, with a pig.
Well, technically a lot of pigs. Real ones, inside a meat factory. And a lot of fake ones painted all around it.
Five miles south of Downtown Los Angeles, in the industrial Gehenna that is Vernon, Calif., stands the only meat-packing plant left in an area that was once overrun with meat-packing plants -- though you might not know it just by looking. In fact, if you ignored the smell (and the giant "Farmer John" logo emblazoned on the building's side), you might even think it housed a petting zoo, what with all the paintings of happy, smiling pigs lying around.
Pigs next to farm children. Pigs wearing baseball caps. Pigs basking blissfully in the sun. The mural that wraps around the Farmer John processing plant literally fills entire city blocks with, as LA Bizarro puts it, an "almost excruciatingly poignant irony," as hordes of swine smile at unassuming passerby while their less fortunate brethren get annihilated inside.
The shamelessness of Farmer John's "protein propaganda" is something of a Los Angeles legend, but when Socal-based streetwear company The Hundreds recently moved its headquarters from downtown to just down the street, they decided to draw up a little mural of their own -- only this time, the pigs are calling the shots. And boy, are they pissed.
It's like Animal Farm, but with a lot less Stalin and a lot more bombs.
According to the blog post written by Bobby Hundreds, The Hundreds Co-Owner and Chief Creative Officer, the mural represents "a tale of justice, David taking down Goliath, fighting back."
"Our re-appropriation of the Farmer John mural now exists at the entrance of The Hundreds' new office and warehouse space in Vernon," he writes, "and it's always an appropriate reminder to all of us starting off our workday -- as the little guys going after the big dudes, we're here to setup the upset and upset the setup."
Taking key scenes from the original mural as its inspiration, the new parody mural features pigs killing farmers with baseball bats, pigs killing farmers with flame throwers and pigs killing farmers by burning down the whole damn barn -- all painted by artists from Clawgrip Hearts, some of the most recent painters commissioned to restore the original Farmer John mural over its 50+ year history.
It's a testament to the power of parody, a pseudo-statement on the importance of corporate transparency. Most of all, it's fun.
Check out the promotional video below and feel free to ruminate of which method of manslaughter (pigslaughter?) you might prefer. Because I don't know about you, but I for one happen to like bacon, a lot, which probably means I deserve to be up on that wall somewhere. Maybe next to the pig with the Jason mask.