Thursday, October 18, 2007

Eat Your Children: a digression

Halloween costumes are a cherished part of autumn. Children's spirits soar as they experiment with make-believe and the assumption of new identities. It's a way of making real a small and friendly magic. And who hasn't oohed and aahed over little ones dressed for the season as teddy bears or tigers or kitty cats? (For our first Halloween, so many long, tedious years ago, we were a humble, brown mouse.)

But these are not that kind of costume. No, when you dress your child in these costumes, the magic quickly curdles. You are pretending for your baby, imagining she is food, meat, a dead and cooked animal.

It won't escape your attention that these costumes—featured on Martha Stewart's television show and website—are specifically not depictions of living beings. That livid red lobster is fresh from the boil. And the plucked turkey is wearing those paper shoes, the dead-turkey equivalent of heavy rouge on a corpse. The babies are even posed on platters, swaddled in garnish!

In that modest, unassuming way of ours, we refer to this as Ironic Aggressor Sublimation, and we've discussed it before (here, for instance). It's the supposedly hilarious identification with animals classified as victims, inferiors who could never threaten our status. It is never less than a laugh riot!

"It's a morbid thing."

Addendum (2/12/08): Another one. So cute! Hey, it's not like they feel pain or anything. (Image source.)

Addendum 2 (5/03/08) Of course, some people don't need to imagine their food babies as animals at all. For them, it's enough that they simply be identified as human chefs. No, wait. This is making less and less sense. (Photo courtesy of Dr. William.)

Addendum 3 (3/02/09): You may also choose to eat your child in sandwich form.

Addendum 4 (9/12/09): Or just cut out the middleman and eat a baby made from meat. Can you remember a time before you had ever seen this? Neither can we.

Addendum 5 (2/21/10): Children are edible in many, many forms.

Addendum 6 (12/26/10): Another example of the Grandmother Effect in action?


Andrew said...

Just wanted to drop a line to let you know that although "Suicide Food is not funny." the way you write it up is one of the most dry, satirical and overall hilarious things I have ever read on the Interwebs.

Reminds me of the first time I saw an episode of MST3K.

Thanks for assuring me "of the rightness of our habits." It's nice to know I'm not the only person watching this and laughing, just so I don't cry.

Anonymous said...

Para comerselo!
Sick, or what?

Francois Tremblay said...

Children are also considered as inferior by their parents and are often the victim of sublimated hatred. But now that beating and spanking are illegal, I guess they dress up their babies like dead animals.

lilzilla said...

I was wishing I had a baby so I could dress it as a tamale for Halloween, actually. You could just get some good corn husk-like fabric and wrap it around your fuzzy-yellow-clad baby, and tie it in knots at the end. Plus a plush hot sauce bottle would be great. Yes, it's kind of horrifying, but it's Halloween! It's cute and unsettling simultaneously, and inspires thoughts of mortality! To me that's fantastically appropriate.

Also, cuteness and edibility are tied together - "you're so cute I could just gobble you up!". I interact with people and animals that I love by pretending to eat them. Sure it's weird, but I'm not convinced it's sinister.

Great blog, though, I'm enjoying it.

Anonymous said...

The meat baby reminds me of dead and dissected babies I've seen on and, horrifying images returned to mind. Wish I'd never strayed from the safer areas of the web.