Pork is the term for most pig-based products intended for consumption. In advertising terms, it is also referred to as "the other white meat", mostly to contrast it/compete with chicken. Pork is a particularly popular meat in relatively poor or marginal areas.
In Judaism and Islam, where they actually pay attention to their holy book's dietary strictures, pork is forbidden (in the former, it is not kosher; the latter, it is haram and not halal). This religious custom stems from the idea of pigs as unclean animals. Unclean animals were not to be eaten because they would make the eater unclean upon consumption. The uncleanliness those societies were worried about is suspected to have been the disease trichinosis, which has been mostly eradicated in modern times — to the point that a pork loin dish ordered at a fancy restaurant can be ordered rare or medium rare in temperature.[note 1]
Pork is also an (originally American) political term referring to "frivolous" government projects whose main purpose is to ensure the reelection of incumbent representatives, who can return home and campaign on how much bacon they're bringing home to their district. Of course, people have a really hard time actually pointing out real pork, as most of those projects turn out to serve a very important purpose, no matter how weird they seem at first blush.[note 2]
Projects that are derided by politicians as pork inevitably only exist in other people's districts. You could say that one man's pork is another man's highway.
Pork also serves to lubricate the wheels of governance by getting reticent members of Congress to vote for a bill they otherwise might not have and provide congressional leaders with leverage for keeping their caucus in line.
Those opposed to Congressional earmarks have occasionally pushed to give the President line-item veto power, at least until Clinton v. City of New York. The Constitution of the CSA, in one of its rare changes not related to slavery, required that all Congressional bills deal with only one subject (few Western nations currently do this, though the state of Nevada does locally, and in Great Britain there is a similar rule of laws having to state in their title what they are about).
The Pork Crusader
The most (in)famous politician to slide down the anti-pork slippery slope was Senator William Proxmire (D-WI), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee for nearly a decade. While his "Golden Fleece Award" revealed several instances of what could be considered wasteful spending, he then attempted to gut legitimate research from organizations such as NASA (especially the SETI program) because he thought they were "nutty fantas[ies]" (you can never escape Dunning-Kruger).
- Abomination (what eating pork is considered [when eaten by Jews] according to Leviticus)
- Animal Farm
- The NIMBY principle is in some sense the same thing in reverse
- It is still possible to get Yersinia enterocolitis from contacting uncleaned pig intestines; it's notorious for having a wide array of symptoms that make it difficult to diagnose, although diarrhea is usually present, but is rarely fatal. Although regular cooking easily kills them, they are, similar to the closely related plague bacteria, resistant to cold temperatures). Cases almost never occur from sausage casings, but in the form of chitterlings.
- Consider the following fail from Fox News: Waste: The Final List. Very, very little of this list is actually waste (much of it is funding for various science projects, and the largest chunks of the package are funding for such frivolities as nuclear waste cleanup and Amtrak subsidies). Interestingly, even stuff that seems frivolous, like the football gloves, might have applications in other parts of the clothing and safety equipment industries.