Fairy tales are rife with code violations

January 28, 2008

You are familiar with story of the Three Little Pigs.

If you're not, I'll give you the CliffsNotes: Pigs, house, straw, sticks, brick, wolf, huff, puff, happy ever after. Oh come on, I can't do everything for you - connect the dots.

Anyway, what you might not have been familiar with is that the children's story is horribly offensive to Muslims and home builders.

That's not me talkin', that's straight from the mouth of the British government's technology agency, which refused to consider a remake of the tale for some sort of media prize.


I don't know as much as I should about Islam, but I take it that pigs are bad ju-ju. I'd always assumed this had to do with eating pork, but I guess it extends to getting the better of the Big Bad Wolf, as well.

Still, I can't help but think that if you polled a majority of Muslims in Washington County, you would probably find that they haven't given the matter a whole lot of thought.

If you say the Three Little Pigs are offensive to Muslims, it might also follow that Christians would take umbrage at Mary had a Little Lamb.

Huffing and puffing could hurt the feelings of people with asthma and "Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin" could also be offensive to Leonardo DiCaprio.

But I'm particularly interested in the angle that the story is offensive to home builders.

Said one of the British judges: "Is it true that all builders get their work blown down, and builders are like pigs?"

Not all, no.

The story of the Three Little Pigs simply does not give us enough information about whether the comparisons to contractors are justified or not. For example, did the pig building the house out of straw show up six weeks late and then spend the next week driving back and forth to Straw Depot on your dime for supplies? The story does not say.

Did construction of the house built out of sticks have to sit around on the back burner for three months waiting on a building permit as government code inspectors argued over the necessity of load-bearing twigs for the hallway? Again, we have no way of knowing.

I was tempted to call up the local branch of the Associated Builders and Contractors to find out how many of their members go to sleep at night weeping over the thought of structurally unsound pig shelters. But I didn't want to reopen any old wounds.

But if you're going to criticize swine-related building projects, how come Hansel and Gretel get a pass? True, the witch's house didn't fall in, but it's hard to put any faith in an abode where you can just walk in and take a bite out of the foyer.

Old Mother Hubbard, aside from being offensive to single welfare moms, was in clear violation of maximum-occupancy laws. Whoever built that show was clearly looking for ways around the county's Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance.

And then you have Rapunzel, who let down her hair as a prince entrance in a castle that clearly suffered from multiple safety-code violations regarding the lack of adequate fire escapes.

And speaking of safety, where are government crash-test standards when any ole princess can drive around all night in a pumpkin? She pulls that sled out of the garage on trick-or-treat night and the paramedics are going to be wiping Cinderella off the highway with a wet sponge. And that's not to mention all the grief this story causes for the punctually challenged.

But back to the pigs cubed: I don't want to launch any conspiracy theories, but you notice that the one group that emerges from this tale smelling like a rose is the Masons?

But then the British government didn't seem to have a whole lot to say about that.

Did it?

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324 or via e-mail at You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on

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