To Deuce of Clubs index page Deuce of Clubs Book Club: Books of the Weak

A Porcine History of Philosophy and Religion

James Taylor (1972)


A Porcine History of Philosophy and Religion is a hilarious book of cartoons lampooning various incarnations of the wise and compassionate religious temperament we humans all know and love so much that we continue to put up with it century after century.

Some choice examples of the book's hilariousness used to appear right here on this page, because it would have been stupid to have a wordy review that tried to explain how hilarious a book of cartoons is. Ever have someone at your workplace corner you and do that? It was the only time in your life when jabbing ballpoint pens through your eardrums stopped pain, wasn't it?

Accordingly, Deuce of Clubs, in partnership with the A.S.S. (Auditory Salvation Society), made the editorial decision to simply show you, without comment, how funny this book is, by way of a few examples, so that we didn't have to button-hole you outside your cubicle and be like that guy who tries to explain the funny. "They're all cartoons of pigs. see? Porcine—get it? One shows a pig reading and it says, "ANGLICAN PIG GLORYING IN ONE OF THE MORE PROVOCATIVE PASSAGES OF HOOKER'S LAWS OF ECCLESIASTICAL POLITY. Holy cow is that funny, huh? And another one depicts a snooty religious pig with his arms crossed, and underneath it says CAMPBELLITE PIG BEING SILENT WHERE THE BIBLE IS SILENT. Oh, man. Can ya see it? Can ya?"

Well, no. You can't see it. Until you see it with your eyeballs. That's what eyeballs are there for. And that's what the sample images were there for. (For a poor imitation of the original, see Fig. 1.)

Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly), there is a soulless killjoy who does not want you to see samples of the subtle brilliance of the humor to be found in A Porcine History of Philosophy and Religion. Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly), the soulless killjoy is the religious publisher of A Porcine History of Philosophy and Religion, Abingdon Press, who published the book thirty-four years ago.

Well, then.

It's clear that James Taylor's publisher, unlike James Taylor, has no sense of humor. (I have no idea whether James Taylor has a doctorate in cartooning, but if he does, I'll bet that, outside of academic circles, he doesn't insist on signing his name with "Ph.D." after it, which we all recognize as a near-infallible sign of an insecure, insufferable dickhead.)

But there's a larger point here (not that throwing jabs at corporate pricks isn't a worth doing for its own sake). The world has long been accustomed to religious people holding completely senseless positions, but at least when they concern only theology, no harm done. (Sprinkling, immersion, neither, both—who could possibly give a genuine shit?) Senseless positions in publishing are another matter, jack. It's not as though the display of a few of these cartoons was taking bread from anyone's table. (Not even the shewbread, which none but the priests of the temple may eat.) Quite the contrary—we know for a fact that the sample cartoons formerly on this page induced a number of people to seek to purchase copies of A Porcine History of Philosophy and Religion in order to see the rest of the cartoons. That is part of the point of these book pages here at Deuce of Clubs: to bring attention to deserving books. When any of these deserving books by some stroke of luck happens to be in print, we always include a link enabling interested parties to buy the book easily.

Aspiring purchasers of A Porcine History of Philosophy and Religion, however, have had to rely on second-hand book sources because Abingdon Press—for what are undoubtedly awesomely wise and deeply spiritual reasons that we of ordinary human intelligence could not possibly hope to comprehend—is not interested in keeping this 34-year-old masterpiece in print. Certainly no one expects much in the way of intelligent decisions from religious publishers, particularly religious publishers who can't be bothered to keep a brilliant work like A Porcine History of Philosophy and Religion in their catalog because they're too busy bringing out timeless, monumental works such as two books Abingdon is pushing on its home page as I write this (21jun2006):

Drama Queens (and Kings): "Unraveling the challenges of doing a drama using young people's natural tendency to act up and act out."

Milk and Honey Cooking School: "Just say the word Bible history and the eyes of the children (and adults for that matter) glaze over. But if you mention the word "food" then everyone sits up and takes notice. Who doesn't like to eat?"

Well, gosh, Abingdon Press—I really couldn't say. I guess we pretty much all like to eat. Hey now, who knew religious enlightenment could come so easily? Thanks a bunch, Abingdon Press! And thanks for causing the removal of the samples of James Taylor's work, which now hardly anyone will see. Thanks for letting Taylor's fine book languish in out-of-print limbo, while simultaneously refusing to sustain any more of the unspecified yet surely crushing damage that must have resulted from our letting interested readers peek at a few sample pages from a classic work you yourselves show no interest in making available for them to buy and enjoy. (If anyone needs a parable to understand the situation, may we suggest "The Dog in the Manger"?)

Regrettably, therefore, caught between a rat and a cliff-place, Deuce of Clubs has been forced to replace James Taylor's cartoons with one of our own, whose nasty mean-spiritedness, trust us, is in no way reflective of the deft, good-natured humor of Taylor's originals. Maybe before another three & a half decades pass, Abingdon Press will stop being so porcine and re-publish A Porcine History of Philosophy and Religion. Until then, enjoy the only widely available example Abingdon has left to you of the religious pig cartoon genre:

To Deuce of Clubs

Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006
From: Robert A. Ratcliff
Subject: A Porcine History of Philosphy and Theology
To the owners of the "Deuce of Clubs" web site:
You have posted on your site pages from the Abingdon Press publication A Porcine History of Philosophy and Theology, by Professor James Taylor. These pages are the intellectual property of Abingdon Press, and appear on your site without permission from the publisher. Please remove these pages from your web site immediately, and respond to this message to let us know you have done so. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Robert A. Ratcliff, Ph.D.
Senior Editor
Academic and Professional Resources
Abingdon Press
201 Eighth Ave., South
Nashville, TN 37203
voice: (615) 749-6303
fax: (615) 749-6061