Sunday, December 31, 2006

St. Michael's Lobster Rolls

Signifying a new low in obsequiousness, it’s the St. Michael’s Lobster Rolls lobster! Servile, to be sure, but also—and this is a rare combination—sinfully vain. So proud is he of his dime store halo, his beatific attitude. “Yoo hoo!" the fawning simperer seems to say. "Down here, Lord! Have I got a soul for you!”

His back legs bent in an arthropodic approximation of genuflection, the lobster eagerly awaits his martyrdom by boiling. And it’s precisely the patina of religiosity, of piety, that renders this depiction more revolting than the standard I-want-nothing-more-than-to-be-eaten illustration. The suggestion that this is all for some Greater Good and Glory—greater than stuffing the bellies of Marblehead, Mass.—is nauseating. By his baptism in the rolling boil will he—and we—be sanctified.

BJ's N.C. Bar-B-Que

Classic. Our hog is catching some rays, just chillin' in the barbecue! He's got his knife and fork. He's got his shades. He's got his napkin. (Although it might be the Bandanna of the Damned.) No scene of horror this, as he feels, sees, and smells his own meat cooking. No, no, sensitive viewers. This is leisure, not wicked rite. Recreation! Pleasure! The pig is wearing sunglasses! How dire could the situation be?

The wisps of pig-scented smoke remind us of the scene's raison d'être: the consumption of animal flesh. The spirit is weak, and the flesh is all-too-willing! The pig's ecstatic, lolling tongue lets us know that this—sitting in the roasting pan—is his reason for being, too. It's all about kicking back and getting eaten. So grab a plate, you prigs. Live a little!

By the by, do you suppose this is the North Carolina way of doing everything?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Baby Got Rack

A porcine temptress, a platter of pig ribs, and thou. Surely, this is the stuff of nightmare—the cruel, bosomy pig in frilly skirt and garter belt, holding aloft her dismembered relatives. (Have sex and violence ever commingled to such repugnant effect?) Is she peddling their flesh in a craven attempt to spare herself from the roaster? Doesn’t she know that pimps only claim to love their bitches? Once they turn you out, you’re nothing to them.

But let us ask this more mundane question: Exactly what message is the “award-winning bbq team” (bbq team?) from Temple, Georgia, shooting for here? “I don’t know which I want more: to pork the waitress or butcher her and tear the flesh from her ribs!”

Perhaps this harlot has a heart of gold after all, and she'll steer the customers to the salad bar instead.

Barbecue Company

A more repellant case of Stockholm Syndrome is difficult to imagine. Our pig has adopted the worldview, mannerisms, and wardrobe (!) of his captors. Pigs and cows are merely meat, right? Ain’t that so, Piggy?

Why, just look at him ringing his two-legged “kin” to table, while the corpse twirls on the spit behind him. (Even Patty Hearst—she of the beret and SLA sympathies—had more self-possession than this pig. ) The expression on his face is inhumanly human: a vicious glee, a joyful malice. He can’t wait to tear into the deceased and suck the “juice” off his trotters.

But all the pig-sized Stetsons in the world will never change this one simple truth: the pig is not one of them. They will allow him to call the hands to chow, but they’ll never let him date their daughters.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Rosie's Vermont Beef Jerky

Rosie’s may be "quite possibly the world's finest tasting beef jerky," but, all the same, it looks like chewing gum. Or maybe… Is it just compressed slabs of suet? Is that Rosie’s revolting secret?

An equally hideous, yet open, secret is that our lumberjackbull must have sampled many, many beef jerky products to make his startling claim with such equanimity. Here is the most dubious spokesman yet. His everyman cap and plaid cannot disguise his pronounced unfitness for duty. Exactly how many of his bovine brethren has he tasted? Would you take the word of an avowed and unrepentant cannibal?

Could it be that Rosie has something on him? Does the plight of the blackmailed bull stir our sensitivities? Or may we comfortably place him in the collaborator file and be done with him?

(Answer: Collaborator.)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Divine Swine

Victim, you say? No victim here. Only a fortunate soul hastening to his final reward. Our homely pig—that questionable orthodontia, that chin stubble!—appears overwhelmed with relief. A relief that would never have been, doubtless, were it not for the red-hot coals searing his spirit’s recently abandoned temple.

Our guilt, such as it may be, is assuaged by this fellow’s satisfaction, his undying gratitude. It buoys him into the Eternal. His butchers have done him a great favor.

Our good deed done, we have nothing more to do except unfold our napkins and dig in! Our full bellies give his sacrifice meaning.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Educated Pig

This charming British enterprise, their web site proclaims, is “a celebration of Prime British Pork”—they even have a “24 hr Enquiry Hotline”—and a bloody good celebration it is!

Of course, what does this logo tell us about the UK’s education system, when a so-called “educated” pig can appear as the spokesman for a company dedicated to killing and eating him? His overeagerness, even as he clutches his worthless diploma, disgusts everyone who witnesses it. Would it surprise you to learn that the college that graduated him was an elaborate sham perpetrated by his human “masters”? (It would not.)

Your schooling’s over, you pork. Welcome to the real world. Don’t get too attached to it.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Main Street BBQ

No longer content to butcher the innocent and unsuspecting, now we demand the flesh of the insane. Has any “livestock” exhibited such delusion? This poor benapkinned creature is obviously awaiting a lavish feast. Look at that expectant face and his raised glass ready to offer all due compliments to the chef. (And is that a fork in his trotter?) Here is our surrogate diner. And yet—and yet!—he has the Apple of Death in his mouth, and the now-standard wall of flames behind him. Clearly, he is the guest of an altogether different sort of honor!

But how we laugh! Stupid pig doesn’t know he’s about to undergo the Torquemada knife and fork treatment! But how could he not? What did he think when he accepted the apple? “Thank you for the appetizer, sir”?

Surely this one, at least, has earned a pardon.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bert Weidner Barbeque Sauce

This manly chicken appears tough enough to take on all comers. His barrel chest is burly, his “shoulders” massive, his neck suitably absent. His blood-soaked overalls strain to confine his enviable physique. Surely a muscle-bound bird like this could dispatch a crew of beer-gutted apron-wearers. But no! The bird (the “Bert”?) offers no resistance. The flames rise at his back, and still his beak wears a confident—may we say cock-y?—smile.

On further inspection, Bert’s stance carries a different meaning. Perhaps this is not the bluff (yet uncomprehending) bird we first thought. Those bulky shoulders might be not flexing, but hunching, in silent testimony to an acceptance of the End. The resignation of our would-be hero is pitiable. For if one so bold, one so virile can fall prey to the siren song of the barbecue, what chance do we have?

Ah, but we need not contemplate this. The chicken’s sacrifice means we are left merely to stuff our faces until we can’t contemplate anything at all.

All kidding aside, what the hell.

The Cajun Crab Restaurant

The ambiguity of our crab's predicament is thought-provoking. Is he chef—as
suggested by the ever-present, erect puffiness of that damn hat—or main
course—as suggested by the special blue plate he's standing on? Or is he
both, directing the efforts of his sous-chefs? "No, a rolling boil, I
said! I gar-on-tee I'll be juicy!"

The cheerful snap of his claw (note the two motion lines!) and toothy grin
give us permission to dunk him in boiling water, tear his legs off, and get
those delicious Cajun seasonings all over our shirtfronts.

Yes, yes, I admit that the smiling victim is more appetizing than the
alternative—the shrieking pain of innocence slaughtered.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Greater Omaha BBQ Society

Omaha! Flowering Rome of east central Nebraska! One can only imagine what heights they reach, when even their Barbeque Society (barbeque society?) can achieve such magnificent perversity! For here, in their (admittedly, um, "rustic") logo, we have the unholy trinity of the barbecued: Pig, Chicken, and Cow. And they are not only present, not only offering their blessings to the goings-on of the G.O.B.S., not only adorably cheerful. They are eager cooks, each adorned with the requisite chef's hat. The pig—always the pig—is the ringleader. He's got the spatula and the protruding, nothing-goes-down-as-easy-as-cannibalism tongue of the damned.

The chicken, looking as vapid as any poultry anywhere, is reduced to a supporting role. And it's possible that the cow is nothing but a decapitated head balanced on the pig's fleshy elbow. Smile now, dupes—you're the second, third, and fourth courses.

Feel good about barbecue yet?

The Smoke Ring

Not technically suicidal perhaps, this pig occupies an even lower rung on the ladder of degradation. Clearly, he has made a pact with his would-be murderers: tending the grill that roasts his brethren in exchange for a few more weeks of miserable pre-death. The guilty rictus, the anxious eye, the ready spatula—this quisling is “living” on borrowed time and he knows it.

See how the red-yellow-orange oval of the logo—the “ring of smoke”?—encircles him, trapping him in a horrifying present. He is bound to his destiny until he, too, succumbs to the kiss of mesquite.

And note that he is not content to cook the remains of his family. He’s adjusting chicken limbs, cow muscles, and sausaged any-animal flesh on the grill. “What’s that, boss? You want it medium well? Whatever you say, boss! You’re the boss, boss!”

Seriously, what is this? We see these images so often, I assume they don’t even register. They have become cheap advertising shorthand, like aprons, neckties, and skateboards stand for motherhood, the “man’s world” of work, and rebellious youth, respectively. And yet, when we do look, what are we to make of this? Are these images compelling? Why? They are grotesque, and, like prison rape, a source of supposed humor right out of Dr. Mengele's jokebook.

That animal is helping us roast those other animals—and then he is gonna die, too! Har har!

Lefty's BBQ

Barbecue joints are the most frequent offenders when it comes to this kind of nauseating autophagimania. The porcine Uncle Tom in this image is bending over backward to ingratiate himself to his devourers even as the flames rise! The “cool” pig’s self-effacement is pathetic, like an elementary school nerd who willingly—eagerly!—undergoes any humiliation as long as it means a few moments in the reflected glory of his betters. “Look at me, Lefty! Ever seen a pig rock out like me? The secret’s in the sauce!”

After contemplating the banal evil of this illustration for a few minutes, though, a horrible truth rises like clouds of mosquitoes from a miasma: The pig is Lefty! He is playing the guitar left-trottered, after all, as Lefty surely does! He is actually presiding over his own broiling, blasting out sound by the pound while cookie sharpens the knives!

"We will serve no swine before it's (sic) time." (sick)