Used in the phrase "casting pearls before swine", it means to give something valuable, whether monetarily or otherwise, to someone who is too ignorant to truly appreciate it. Kind of like expecting young children to appreciate Monet, but more derogatory. The kids might actually grow up to appreciate Monet one day. The swine, on the other hand, aren't getting any smarter.

Pearls Before Swine is a cartoon that's mainly based around two characters - Pig and Rat.

Rat is arrogant, philosophical and self-centered. Rat's personality is apparently the one which most closely matches that of the author, by his own admission. Rat spends his time with the intellectually inferior pig because no-one else wants to hang around with him.

Pig is a little slow of the brain, humble and kind. His relationship with Rat is perhaps one of the opposites attract kind, or perhaps he admires Rat's outgoing schemes.

Other characters include a smart goat, and a zebra who spends his time trying to find ways to protect his species against predators such as lions, including a plan to arm his friends with automatic weapons.

The strip is produced by Stephan Pastis, who was raised in California.

Notably this famous phrase does not appear in the parallel portion of the Gospel of Luke, the Sermon on the Plain, nor does it appear in the more ancient Gospel of Mark. It is therefore quite lost to history whether Jesus actually uttered the phrase or if it was constructed by "Matthew" in his compilation of the many sayings presumably attributed to Jesus.

Another famous but perhaps apocryphal story is told of the encounter between Dorothy Parker, writer and wit, and Clare Booth Luce, writer and wit. Meeting outside the entrance to a party, the much younger and much more beautiful Luce stepped aside and invited Parker in with the now trite phrase, "Age before beauty." Parker swept past and into the gathering with the response, "Pearls before swine."

It all began with television. 30 minute human logic problems: a minor quotidian crisis, rising action and climax. Teaching conflict resolution, but also teaching gender roles and class struggles and ways of thinking about onesself. Television was the greatest self-fulfilling prophecy.

Television taught us to search for plot, and ignore all else. For this reason we fictionalize our own lives. We trim edges, we delete pauses, we polish. No one wants to hear about the hour you spent pouring Cosmos into some skank at the bar, we want the ten to fifteen of her, gasping, face smooshed up against your rear passenger window, and we want it in Cinemascope. We want the truth put into a neat sequence. Listen to someone who doesn’t do this; it is excruciating.

Reality must also mean something and be moving towards something. No one cares about grocery shopping or blowing your nose because those activities are essentially the same for everyone. {Aside: For me, having sex after the advent and major explosion of pornography is annoying. I’m sure that before there was a lot less posturing and fake moaning. If someone's mouth comes in contact with my penis and I’m not sounding off like a cat being boiled alive, the mouth assumes I’m not enjoying myself. News Flash: It feels good, but it would be better if you would stop asking dumb questions and start humming. Loudly.}

In your 20’s, you realize that existence is mostly episodic, with subtle trends in one direction or another. The idea of a bildungsroman is laughable, because by the time you start off on your grand adventure, your learning curve has scoliosis.

At 24, I am qualified to speak on very few subjects, one being Psychology, which is the subject that I have devoted the most study to. The other stems from my employment at a smattering of low-rent, low-wage shit jobs to pay for school or other necessities. I know about poor people. It has recently occurred to me that this knowledge is useless on its face; I once considered myself an anthropologist, seeking new facets of a group of people that I didn’t understand. Slowly, I have become one of them.

As such, my anecdotal data is of no use. So, I lay it out before you here.

Pearls Before Swine: Some Notes on Minimum Wage Workers

Poor people are boring. If there is not a strong conversation going, they can stare off into the distance for far too long, and only grunt as you leave to go back inside. You can end any conversation with them with a simple generality, the most effective being about how the big are always picking on the weak1, that the best thing to do is accept your lot in life and keep working, or about how it all seems to come out in the end. This may or may not invoke mention of Jesus.

There are several types of poor people conversation, with many sub types. The first is personal, and is either about a disappointing ex-, brother, or child that did not take the story tellers advice to straighten up their lives, and is usually accompanied by waving the index finger around and tapping a table. The punchline of this story is more often than not jail. There is also the mooch story, about a family member/friend that will not pull their own weight, or a story about surgery. The surgery story is actually a long drawn-out process, the first station being a brief description of the afflicted individual’s medical history, usually involving an uppity nurse and a brave face put on before surgery, despite fear. If the surgery goes well, then the process must be poorly explained, using specious medical jargon and embellishments that enliven the story.

The surgery story is similar to the lawsuit story, and follows the poor person’s organizing principle if you let them, they will rob you blind. The lawsuit story will be an opportunity to tell lurid details of their personal life, no doubt.

If a poor person lends you money, they will sometimes bring up your possible financial woes as an excuse to mention the money they lent.

Every man who makes less than 20,000 knows exactly what is wrong with your car. They smoke all of the time and shrug off the notion that it is unhealthy. The have ungrateful children who are suing one company or another. They think pride is an excuse for physical violence. They get into pissing contests easily.

Their heads are like grease traps filled with every backwards notion that has ever floated into their ears; systematic epistemology is lost on them. Their arguments are patchwork affairs; filled with straw men and slippery slope logic. They pride themselves on being both blunt and tactful. They rage against things and can call evil by its name.

They are perpetually broke but never broken, guardians of their own strange legacy and the loyalty of their blood. They are not too cynical to care about justice.

These notes are, of course, my own experience with lower to middle class workers in the southern part of the United States. Your experience may vary.

1. The government on citizens, lawyers on plain folk, bad men on good women.

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