Every year for the past decade, we here at Cincinnati Magazine have taken it upon ourselves to gather up some shining examples of stupid behavior by local citizens and package it (with a wink and a snort) as the Pork Roast. This began long before I became editor, but in its current form it is a blatant rip-off—though we like to think of it more as an homage—of “Dubious Achievements,” Esquire’s long-running satirical breakdown of modern American inanity. Of course, making fun of people for doing dumb things began, I believe, shortly after God uttered those famous words, “Don’t touch me there, Zebediah.” But seriously, satire has a long and illustrious history, which is why we consider compiling the Pork Roast not just a duty but a sacred honor.
By now, you might think it would be hard to surprise us. And yet, every year, we humans seem to outdo ourselves, taking our idiocy to dizzying new heights. It’s enough to make you cry for future generations, but it’s hard to cry when you’re laughing. Naturally, some trends emerge that leave us scratching our heads. Like, what’s the deal with guys stuffing T-bone steaks down their pants? Especially eight T-bone steaks. That takes a big pair of pants, not to mention a palpable love of red meat. Actually, food-related items were big this year. In one brilliant example of the criminal mind at work, cops followed a trail of candy wrappers to nab a foursome who’d broken into Peter Minges & Son candy store downtown. In another, a woman menaced another woman with a peanut (the victim was known to be highly allergic). A couple of items also made national news, most notably the 89-year-old woman in Blue Ash who was arrested for refusing to return a neighborhood boy’s football. What can you say? You have to respect someone who sticks to first principles, I guess.
But for all the joy we get out of reliving low moments from other people’s sad lives, there comes a time when you have to move on. And so, this will be our last Pork Roast. It is fitting that we end with a team effort. Everyone on the editorial staff gathered a heap of news items over the year, many of which flew under the radar. In particular, I’d like to thank Brent Donaldson, Aiesha Little, Grace Saunders, Katherine Sontag, Linda Vaccariello, Amanda Boyd Walters, Kathy Y. Wilson, and this year’s featured illustrator Mark Matcho for their hard work and great sense of the absurd. And most of all, my undying gratitude goes to former senior editor Jason Cohen, who worked at the magazine for only a year but has contributed the brunt of our funny fake headlines and inspired conceptual gags since 2005. Cincinnati, it seems, has a way of getting under one’s skin.
This doesn’t mean we won’t take every opportunity to work humor into the magazine, but clearly, it’s time to let this pig fly. Shed a tear if you must, but as you savor our 10th Annual Pork Roast, know that there will be many new and refreshing examples of hubris, criminal imbecility, brash egoism, and all-around dufusness for us to make fun of in our pages for years to come. The pig is dead. Long live the pig.