Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Frenchy's King Ro

For the record, we will stipulate that this is, in fact, a chicken, and not a quail of some kind.

Regardless of the bird’s provenance, what’s going on here would be macabre, if not for the oomph that Nawlins puts into everything. The meaning’s not buried, is it? Even though King Ro soon will be?

In the finest tradition of the Crescent City, our bird struts down Bourbon Street, backed by the swingingest dixieland combo. While the bass drum pounds and the clarinet soars, King Ro heads up his own funeral, thumbing his nose at old man Death even as the chains rattle. Finally, it’s “You want me? You got me!”

The king gives up the ghost, a smile on his beak. But don’t be blue. Ro wanted to end up this way, spinning upon the device whose name he bore. Besides, his spirit—that is to say, his taste—will last forever!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Randolph County (WV) Fishing Derby

The Fishing Fish—an exceedingly common, but previously unremarked-upon, symbolism. In this case, the fish's distinct amphibious quality should probably be chalked up to poor draftsmanship, not to any broadening of the message.

While some might argue that this represents not so much a death wish as cannibalism, this much is certain: The fish is engaged in an act of pescicide, and his expression surely reflects resignation more than horror. Those world-weary eyes! His glance is a veritable shrug.

He was not coerced into angling, no! He declares that he would rather be hooked on fishing than on drugs. Indeed, stabbing your kinsmen with a barbed hook for sport and then hauling them up into the suffocating air—or even being caught on a hook yourself, to wriggle your way to death—is hardly the worst fate.

Say it loud and say it proud! HOFNOD!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Doc Miller's Original Turkey Hook

Meet the Doc Miller's Original Turkey Hook turkey! A more florid case of Turkey Derangement Syndrome you will never find. This bird's uniform bears the face of the man who has perfected "the finest hook available today for deep frying" turkeys. The "doctor" is a one-man crusade in the War on Turkeys, and what does this bird do? Parades around shilling for him, laying down the soft-sell wherever he goes. "No, no, you don't understand. Doc Miller loves us turkeys!" (And then, inevitably, under his breath: "You bet he does. Slathered in gravy, that is!") And then: "What's that? Nothing! Just remembering something funny Doc Miller once told me! So! Can I sign you all up?"

There's a word for this sort of disciple: fanatic. A slave to the Cult of Personality, he beams, glassy-eyed. His arms are open wide, inviting you into the fold. (Arms? Has he had his wings amputated and replaced with arms in order to more closely resemble the Good Doctor?) His worldview is as warped as a wattle and he needs more converts, ever more fellows to endure the Hook.

And what of the Hook? Many are the benefits it confers upon its charges!

  • "[Yo]u can effortlessly screw apart the hook for easy removal from the bird. This way you don't have to handle that hot bird!"
  • "The hook keeps the bird from floating to the top...."
  • "The top of the hook will easily slide around a broom handle or wooden dowel...."

    Harken to the trumpets! Is it any wonder a bird would devote his life to a product capable of such glory? (Remember that the bird in question is severely unbalanced and quite probably psychotic.)

    Alas, that shot of Doc Miller's O.T.H. in action might as well be erotica to our poor turkey. Console yourself with this final thought: his disordered mind will soon be at peace—crisp, flavorful peace.

    Addendum (9/22/07): Of course, with a logo this good, you knew you'd see it elsewhere.

    Addendum 2 (10/23/07): And again.

    Addendum 3 (11/22/07): The best one yet, this one from a company selling turkey calls! (Get it? Tomfoolery? And they fool poor ol' Tom Turkey? Oh, mercy!)

  • Wednesday, February 21, 2007

    Wagon Wheel BBQ Catering Company Inc.

    The Wagon Wheel gives us a new twist on a standard theme. Pinky (as the website identifies him) is not simply preparing to dive onto the grill. No, he has contrived to be sent from present-day Stilwell, Kansas, back in time to the Papal Inquisition, there to subject himself to horrors unending and the torments of the soul. Thus, the act we see the pig performing in a state of near-ecstasy. "The Devil's Bicycle," as it is known in the alternate universe under discussion, involves the penitent pedaling a burning wagon wheel, all the while dodging the Holy Spit.

    We have never before met Pinky, but we know him all too well. His pathology, his utter shamelessness... Cross-eyed, he goggles humorously. His lopsided ears waggle. This has become a staple of suicidal food and it's almost more than we can bear. We look away. To spare him? Ourselves?

    His Act of Faith—his auto de fe—is, truly, the sacrifice he was born to make, one that Wagon Wheel patrons receive with gladness, sloppy-fingered and besmeared of face. Still, we must ask: What weight does his sacrifice bear if it was Pinky's destiny to perform it? Could a pig so suicidal have done any different?

    Saturday, February 17, 2007

    Texas Brothers Barbeque

    In this 140 x 138 image, we find the entirety of the suicide food aesthetic. Two cowpokes—the Texas Brothers website identifies them as Harvey and Butch—flank a boiling cauldron and its bovine occupant. True, the cauldron is not a common element in these by-now-familiar scenes, but this scenario is nevertheless comforting in its familiarity.

    Harvey and Butch appear to be not ranchers so much as sadists: Harvey (or is it Butch?) tests the sharpness of his knife, all the while leering at the steer in the pot. Meanwhile Butch (maybe) can't even wait until the poor beast is dead to start seasoning him. (If desperados like these are indeed the backbone of the West, we have a case of psychological scoliosis on our hands.)

    Of course, true to the essence of suicidefoodism, the steer is here to make it all better. His tiresome message? "Those two aren't slavering sickos! I want to be eaten! See? I'm even tasting my own broth! (I could use more salt, Butch.) So pull up a stool and start eating!"

    If, as the good citizens of BBQ Nation continually trumpet, they believe that the Lord put creatures like this one on earth for us to butcher and eat (and, sure, to taunt and terrorize), why the unending cavalcade of soon-to-be-devoured animals assuring us that all is well, that they have no objections to what you're considering? That, in fact, they'd be downright offended if you didn't at least have a bite? Quite a puzzle.

    South Carolina Poultry Festival

    Thank you, South Carolina Poultry Festival! (You may now re-read that sentence. No well-adjusted person could possibly hope to make sense of it after only one go-through.)

    Thanks are in order for introducing the world to no less a personage than Cornpeck Cluckswell, III. (Not the character's real name, except by unimaginable coincidence.) What's not to love about him? This tophatted, tuxedoed dandy has his traveling case in hand (containing, it may be assumed, brandy and ascots), and he's off to the S.C.P.F.

    Mr. Cluckswell offers us all a valuable lesson: Suicidal ideation is not solely the province of the demented indigent (see nearly every other post here). Even the well-to-do know the sting of disappointment, the stain of regret. Even a coopful of receptive pullets cannot erase Cluckswell's clinical depression. And so—South Carolina, here we come!

    Oh, for a time, the assembled poultry-gawkers will pat him on the back and exchange pleasantries. But then, as he knows it will—he's counting on it—the crowd begins plucking him with their eyes. Before he knows what's happening, South Carolinians (Batesburg-Leesvillers, to be precise) have rent him drumstick from drumstick. "Come on, Paw! This rich chicken wanted it that way!"

    And finally, Cornpeck Cluckswell, III, is at peace, just another dead bird in hand-stitched Egyptian linen, freed from the unrelenting demands of wealth.

    Monday, February 12, 2007

    Piggly Wiggly

    The Piggly Wiggly chain of supermarkets began in 1916, the brainchild of Clarence Saunders. PW stores can now be found in 17 states. This is the sum total of knowledge gained from investigations of pigglywiggly.com.

    I learned nothing of Mr. Pig's ghoulish preoccupation with his own death.

    Which fact is certainly troubling. Imagine this pig, rising early, washing, selecting one from his many red and white shirts, tying his bowtie, setting the paper hat on his head just so, and striding out of his sty to face the day. He walks to his store. (Yes, his store—his name in yard-high letters on the facade. Well, not his name, exactly, but the demeaning nickname he's been saddled with lo these many years.) Never one to let discouragement or self-pity slow his step, Mr. Pig walks to the front doors. They open automatically, and he enters the store, there to begin his wearying shift of greeting, smiling, waving, and pointing at things.

    This pig has gumption (evident in his unremitting cheerfulness and snappy fashion sense) and will find a way to express his innermost desires one way or another. This image from pigglywiggly.com shows him welcoming us to a list of "Winner Dinner" recipes, including—of course—pork. Not to put too fine a point on the matter, but isn't Mr. Pig himself made of pork?

    Such is the mind of suicidal food.

    Sunday, February 11, 2007

    Hatfield Quality Meats

    Such a soothing respite from the cares of the day! Thank you, Hatfield Quality Meats, for this quality coloring book!

    Surely, however, it is more than a mere coloring book. Better to look on it as documentary evidence of life on the Hatfield Farm. What we see in its pages is, doubtless, meat of superb quality. The Hatfield Quality Meat pig, for instance. (Apparently, he has no name. But, being meat, after all, he deserves none.) His numbered days at HQM are filled with banjo pickin’, horse... um... mooin’ (?), and bunny cartwheelin’. That’s right: the plantation’s jes’ a fine place to be!

    It’s a paradise is what it is. The grass, soft as a cloud, the birds and bugs singing along… Who wouldn’t want to live out the remainder of his or her “natural” life in such a setting? (Please note that the HQM pig is unnatural. He alone among the animals wears clothing—overalls and that HQM chef’s hat! Even when he frolics in nature’s playground, he still announces where his loyalties lie. With HQM, “naturally!”)

    And when "work" (read: lying around fattenin' up) is done, it's away to dreamland! The HQM chef's hat comes off and the HQM nightcap goes on.

    Shhh! The HQM pig is snoozing, alongside the HQM duck. (HQM duck?) And what dear dreams they must be having, for truly they are blessed to live in such a place. (The framed picture on the wall behind the headboard bears the legend "Home Sweet Home.") Even ol' man moon smiles on them. Unless... Is he just watching to make sure they don't escape?

    Either way, this diptych represents a textbook rendition of suicidefoodism in all its bland, subversive power.

    Sleep tight, pig. Don't let the "bedbugs" "bite."

    Friday, February 9, 2007

    Fat Daddy's Southern Bar-B-Q

    “Yes! Join us! Join us!”

    These perpetually grinning cultists are inviting you. Life is good at Fat Daddy’s. Have you ever seen a pig so happy, a chicken so tickled, a cow so gosh-darned pleased? See the bliss on their faces! The truth has set their souls free. Their bodies will soon follow.

    From the looks of it, Fat Daddy’s might well be located in Jonestown. (Attention, sticklers: It's actually in far-eastern Pennsylvania.) Join your new friends—these soon-to-be, shall we say, "released" creatures—in the dining room. Finally, you feel at home. Your parents never understood. Their religion failed you. Money woes have hounded you your adult life. But here! Here at Fat Daddy's you can find a new family. A real family. At last, someone understands.

    The new Trinity—Cow, Pig, and Chicken—are calling. Answer. Join them in the kitchen. All of your troubles will be over, as soon as you are rubbed, seasoned, glazed, and roasted.

    Sunday, February 4, 2007

    Smokin' Stokes

    What you see before you is evidence of an animal mind made mad. The Smokin’ Stokes pig does not merely accept his own destruction. He does not merely welcome it. He revels in it. He rolls on his bed of flame as a sane pig would roll in mud. His death gives him unending joy and satisfaction. He is rolling in fire and he loves it! His squeals are of ecstasy. Through the alchemy practiced by followers of Suicide Foodism, his pain—the hellish agony of the burned alive—is transmuted to pleasure.

    People of Greenville, South Carolina, take heart. You need never wonder at your practices. The animals, do they suffer? The cows, do they miss their young? The chickens, do they long for open spaces? The pigs, do they feel pain?

    No, Greenvillians! Like this pig, all the animals inhabit a world devoid of anguish. What we call cruelty, they call love.


    Dark and secret are the ways of this world. In a brighter, more welcoming world, such a picture, and its source, would surely not exist. But in this single harmless—even cheerful—image, a grim way of life is contained.

    First, there is the flagrant indoctrination: children taught to believe that animals embrace their own extermination. This little piggy is shown in mid-scamper, an expression of delight on his face. He is clearly in love with the world. If a happy chap like this can endorse the status quo, then the status quo is good and just. Believe, children, believe.

    Beyond this statement—blatant to an adult mind—is a subtler suggestion:

    Pig = Pork. “Pork Links” the image says, not “Pig Links.” (Yes, yes, "pork links" means sausage. This "humor" only underscores the message.)

    Believe, children: That capering scamp is only so much meat awaiting its eventual liberation.

    Friday, February 2, 2007

    17th Street Bar & Grill

    "Is everybody ready to laugh?"

    Don't look now—it's Oinky O'Squeals, the "hilarious" 17th Street Bar & Grill pig. This old ham wouldn't know his ass from a pork butt sandwich, but that doesn't stop him from believing he knows how to tell a joke. Desperate for a laugh—desperate for your approval—he trots out from the kitchen to regale you with his shopworn routine that wasn't even funny when he first ripped it off in the 50s.

    The double chin, the spare tire, the crows feet—this guy's been around so long, the football they turned his firstborn into has liver spots. (Is this thing on?) Years ago, he fell from headlining, to warming up, to the barbecue circuit equivalent of dragging pedestrians into strip shows.

    His one fall-back, his last attempt to win you over, is something he can do only once. There's no encore after this bit.

    "Step right up, ladies and germs! I'll be appearing in the dining room in about an hour and a half, dripping with sauce and still pink in the middle. You won't wanna miss this one, folks!"