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What’s A Roothog?

Welcome to the Roothog Report.

I’m well aware of the fact that the world doesn’t need another blog, but in my attempts to stay abreast of political issues, I’ve found blogs which focus on issues that matter most to Alaskans are few and far between.  Fewer still are rewarding to read.  I can’t promise to rectify the internet’s problems with just one website, but I’ll do what I can to make this one clear, concise, and to the point.

With that in mind, I realize that you may not understand the name.

In early America, particularly in the southern states, it was common practice (especially in the poorer or more rural communities) to turn a pig out into the woods to forage for itself.  This tended to work well, as it drastically reduced the cost of keeping the pig (zero for food, perhaps a little for fence maintenance if you didn’t want your pig to be completely free-range), and the pig was usually able to keep itself fat given locally available foodstuffs.  The saying “root, hog, or die” arose, as a command to the pig upon its release, exhorting it to find its own sustenance or perish in the attempt.

Over time, the first two words were combined into one as the command grew distant from its original purpose.  When I was growing up, the phrase “roothog or die” was used around my house whenever it was clear that responsibility for a situation was going to have to come from one’s self or not at all, as when no one took the initiative to make dinner or when the ditch next to the road degraded to the point that rainwater made a scale replica of the Grand Canyon across the driveway.

To make a long story short, I selected the name because we as Alaskans seem frequently to share the plight of the pig loose in the woods: surrounded by abundance, but liable to be in dire straits if we don’t make decisive, responsible choices.

I’ll stop the analogy there before somebody points out that a pig in Alaska’s woods would probably perish within a matter of weeks, to say nothing of surviving the winter.

-Tom Hewitt, proprietor


1. Welcome to the Report « The Roothog Report - September 12, 2008

[…] What’s A Roothog? […]

2. Katharine - October 16, 2008

Hey my dear – here is a link to the “America Decides” segment done in anchorage by paul henry from Breakfast on TVOne…he apparently went all down the west coast doing this…check it out if you like. and have a look for good old winnie on wikipedia while you’re at it and feel like a giggle!

3. roothogreport - October 16, 2008

Good lord that man is insufferable. He reports on Alaska as though it were inhabited by some primitive race. I only made it halfway through the first video I played.

4. shannynmoore - November 26, 2008

HEY, can you email me? Thanks

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