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What is the Difference Between Joe Btfsplk and Pig Pen?

pig pen dancingjoe btlspkjoe btfsplkAsk anyone who the iconic comic book character with the perpetual dark rain cloud over his head is and they will invariably answer with Pig Pen. This is not true.  The original rain cloud character is from the “Lil’ Abner” comic strip by cartoonist Al Capp and the character’s name is Joe Btfsplk.  However nobody believes it even when you correct them. Thank God for blogging. Let me set the record straight before this thing goes viral.

A few Sundays ago Agape’s Rev. Michael Beckwith asked from the pulpit during service: “We have people here at Agape who walk around like that cartoon character with the rain cloud over his head, what is the name of that character?” “Pig Pen!” was the unified reply from the congregation. Wrong answer Agape community. Everyone gets this one wrong. The character with the perennial rain cloud following him around is not Pig Pen it is Joe Btfsplk.

Pig Pen and Joe Btfsplk Are Both Well-Intentioned Souls

Most importantly, the clouds and dust do not represent either character’s consciousness or their intentions. The dirt and clouds symbolize the darkness of collective human consciousness inside each and every human soul. It is the artists intention to allow us to examine our own hearts of darkness to feel and see how we articulate and project our darkness upon the scapegoat of the popular culture catharsis of any given moment. The Hebrews had goats, we have Pig Pen and Joe Btfsplk. The Pig Pen is me is the Pig Pen in you. 

Pig Pen’s Dust Stays at His Feet and Never Rises to His Head

The Pig Pen character in the Charles Schultz Peanuts Comic Strip is such an iconic comic book character that he is often mistaken for Joe Btfsplk. Pig Pen carries the dust of ancient civilizations around his feet. Sometimes when Pig Pen takes in a big breath before singing his dust rises up a few feet in a symbolic representation of his lung movement. However Pig Pen’s dust cloud never rises anywhere near his head. Pig Pen’s dust cloud does not symbolize negative thinking. Pig Pen’s dust cloud symbolized the cross of Christ. Pig Pen tells Charlie Brown that people call him mean names, really insulting names. Yet Pig Pen is dignified and secure within himself as he carries the dirt of humanity about as his dharma. Pig Pen has a positive outlook on life. Pig Pet never complains and he isn’t mean to people like Lucy is. 

Joe Btfsplk is the Cartoon Character With the Cloud Over his Head

The iconic cartoon character with the perpetual black storm over his head is Joe Btfsplk created by Al Capp in the Lil Abner comic strip that ran from 1934 to 1977. Joe Btfsplk is the well-meaning, worlds worse Jinx. The small dark raincloud perpetually hovering above his head symbolizes his bad luck and not his state of mind.

The black cloud that follows his head is not Joe Btfsplk’s consciousness it is his destiny. The dust that follows Pig Pen is not his consciousness either, it is the dust of ancient history. Pig Pen is just a mirror of what we don’t want to see and learn about ourselves. 

The dust that eternally shrouds Pig Pen is not mere dirt it is the swirling dust of history. Pig Pen is the  original history hound. Pig Pen is not a slob, the poor kid tries to bath but he is a magnet for the dust of history. The lesson of Pig Pen is to discover your authentic self and accept it. Gratitude and acceptance.

The love that Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith delivered to me is the ability to become comfortable in my own skin. I have become my own naked yogi in the desert. Last night a black man came over and made love to me like a wild animal. The blackness that follows me is the sexual heart dark heart of the pre-Donald Trump American repression.

ron pig pen mckiernan
Founding member of the 27 Club Ron “Pig Pen” McKiernan of the Grateful Dead
Do You Need a Joe Btfsplk Whipping Boy to Feed Your Ego?

There are no victims only volunteers. No one here gets out alive. There are two kinds of people. The people like me that get mistaken for cartoon characters and the authority figures who love us. My Religious Science minister has ritualized me as Joe Btfsplk and Pig Pen. I am in good company.

Joe Btfsplk and Pig Pen Are Rebels

Joe Bftsplk and Pig Pen are non-conformists who are being their authentic selves. Do you want cartoon characters or do you want authenticity. Do you want Mr. Bojangles shuckin’ & jivin’ or do you want to hear the small still voice of silence? Pop culture icons will always be a part of life and a part of any community. I need a new icon. I need my own icon of self. I have redeemed and transformed myself and I don’t really need any spiritual teacher. I have Joel S. Goldsmith. I am becoming my own community. Agape is cool but Agape is still a religion. Agape is a religion you are required to buy into by tithing, taking classes, and going to retreats. Been there done that. I am done seeking and into being. Being right here right now ha ha call me Love Niggah Pig Pen!

pig pen or joe btfsplk