Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hotdog Man

This offers no fresh philosophical issues to explore. Its principal offense is aesthetic. And offend it does. Oh, lord, how it offends.

The legs and sneakers offend. There’s something about this everyman detail that makes for an uncomfortable linkage: Hotdog Man is me.

The intense concentration as ketchup is applied to the crown of his wiener offends. He is so particular about this detail, as though he’s role-playing as a 13-year-old preparing for her first boy-girl party.

And, yes, we cannot avoid it any longer: The hideous, distended bulk of his meat offends, the way it brushes the pavement like a sick and colossal phallus. Priapus come to life in all his engorged menace.

The enormous, bloated hotdog comes with a silver lining: It just might be the most effective stop-eating-meat message ever devised. Can even the most avid dead animal consumer see this horrible thing and think, “A hotdog would really hit the spot right about now”?

Surely, Hotdog Man turns people off everywhere he goes.

(Thanks to Dr. Patrick for the referral.)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Rosario's Italian Sausage

This Chicago sign is weathered. And obscure. "Sausage by Rosario made fresh daily." We could be anywhere within the kingdom guarded by the Big Shoulders. From this vantage point, only that tantalizing legend gives any hint to the world within.

Now, we see. The hogs have transformed Chicago—Hog Butcher to the World—into a ghastly paradise. One where our every need is met and we are freed from the tiresome toil of butchery. At Rosario's, not only do the pigs assist in their own killing—they tumble gaily into the grinder to be stuffed into casings by the sheer force of their thoughtfulness. We need not lift even a finger. Our clothes bear not a drop of gore. "Sausage made fresh daily," indeed. "Self-made sausage" is more like it. The pigs exist only to smooth our path, to serve us to the last. Like unbottled genies, they unleash a blessed magic of generosity.

And isn't this the meat-eater's Promised Land! A place where meat rains from the sky and flesh ripens on the vine! (And all with no need to reflect, no need to pause, no need to wonder at that nagging thought in the back of the mind.) A place where the disconnect between carnivores' appetites and what's required to satisfy them is tolerated. No, not just tolerated. Exalted.

But this is not the time or place for such solemnity. This is a wake! Let us use this moment to remember the dearly departed. Let us at least remember our hogs in a more festive light. Namely, the brash neon of Utopia.

(Thanks to Drs. William and orangexw for the referral.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Down in Valleydale, land of jolly, jolly pigs, life is one grand party! The pigs perform for us, tootling and swinging. Their merriment, their cheerful industry, their indomitable spirit—all are on full display. They sing, they wiggle, they strive with well rehearsed precision to erect a towering edifice proclaiming the Power and Goodness of Valleydale!

Vintage television commercials bring the golden past to life, to remind us of Valleydale's glorious beginnings. Pigs tout the wonders of bologna and the iconic Honee Weenee. Their presence is a balm to nerves frayed by the hurry-up world we all inhabit. Everything will be all right, the pigs say to the people of the Southlands. Just keep shoveling it in.

As the Valleydale all-pig marching band takes to the streets to pour their Valleydale luv all over us, they sing rapturously!

The music goes zoom zoom!
The drummer goes boom boom!
And everybody shouts, "Hurray for Valleydale!"

Hurray for Valleydale!
Hurray for Valleydale!
Hurray for Valleydale!
All hail, it's Valleydale!

Valleydale sausage!
Valleydale wieners!
Valleydale bacon!
Zing zing zing zing Valleydale!

Says the Valleydale web site: "[T]hese lovable characters created happy, long-lasting memories and captured the hearts of a generation of viewers from the earliest days of television. Even today, folks who have not been exposed to the commercials in 40 years or more can still sing the Valleydale jingle and describe the characters."

Still, for drama, for pathos and the shameless manufacture of pity, nothing bests the nonmusical "Butcher" ad. In it, a hurried customer demands of the porcine butcher, "Gimme some bacon and sausage—any kind." (Granted, we're off to a contrived start.) The butcher then responds with incredulity and indignation. Any kind of bacon? Any kind?! After chastising the customer for his culinary incorrectness, the butcher goes soft. Overwhelmed by humility, he all but begs: "Valleydale sausage and bacon! Try to remember. Won't you?"

Yes, we are asked to swallow the notion that this pig would care, that he would be perplexed and insulted were someone to choose to eat the wrong pork products. We are walking down a familiar path, to be sure, but that renders the forest no less haunted.

An often overlooked aspect of suicide food is its total lack of exigency. Think about it: do the purveyors of dead animals face a shortage of customers? Imagine Virginia and Kentucky back in the heyday of Valleydale's charming commercials. Were the simple folk of those stalwart commonwealths on the verge of throwing in with the vegans and abandoning their carnivory? Of course not. One might suppose that the only required elements of any successful advertising campaign were the pounding-in of the company's name—and this is accomplished in the Valleydale spots with all the subtlety of raining hammer blows—and footage of the purportedly mouth-watering food.

Strange then that Valleydale spends so little airtime on offering its viewers even a glimpse of the products in question. Instead, the entire enterprise revolves around redundant assurances that meat-eating is "natural," "normal," and “necessary.” Something that the audience would have taken to be self-evident if it were put to them in plain terms. And yet this nonsense is the very foundation of suicide food: the attempt to convince people of what they are presumed to believe already. Again and again, they are told, "Your habits are not objectionable in the least. Look! The only ones who might have a counterclaim are lining up on your side! Carry on!" But since when have people needed incentive not to question their own assumptions? That mental inertia is all but bred into the human condition.

The adherents of suicidefoodism are willing to take no chances. Thus, Valleydale's marching band, its Dixieland combo, its construction workers, and the rest.

(Thanks to Dr. Bob for the referral.)

Addendum (1/01/08): We have just learned that one can purchase plush representations of Valleydale's obsessive pigs. We have not learned why one would wish to.

Monday, April 23, 2007

A.C. Butcher, Leichhardt, Sydney, Australia

From Down Under comes this hellish vision: Hieronymus Bosch as butcher-shop kitsch, David Cronenberg as misguided come-on.

Far from horror at seeing her entire back half carved off, the cow feels nothing but delight at being hacked into thick, juicy, ready-to-grill steaks. She is downright giddy—her tongue wiggling in anticipation, her proud napkin waving like a flag. She obviously finds unremarkable the blatant one-to-one correspondence of her very body to a foodstuff requiring no further processing. "You are not a being," she is told. "You are mere food, alive not for yourself, but for us."

(Imagine how frightened—and offended—you would be on discovering that the invading alien horde does not wish to cook or skin—or even wash!—you before digging in. "I am not stuff!" you might squeak in your feeble language as the tentacles drag you toward a hundred stinking maws. "I am a human!") It's all so Law of the Jungle in its baseness. At least prepare the poor thing. But Bossie only wishes the procedure would hurry up a bit already. Time's a-wastin'!

Leaving aside for a moment the problems of scale (that knife is either about 4 feet long, or the cow is a foot high), there is the problem of psychological integrity. Namely, the sanity of the people who commissioned this, executed (!) it, and approved it. They have managed to create the quintessential explication of the entire Suicide Food movement, where every trope is taken to new heights of dizzying terror, where no act of barbarity is beyond the animals' eager acceptance. And for that, we thank those responsible. And pity them.

(Thanks to Dr. Spong for the referral.)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Halo Burger

The congregation will be seated.

Our sermon today concerns Halo Burger, an institution dripping with religious iconography. There's the halo, of course, symbol of the Divine Dead. There's the "Heavenly" tag and a cloud, in case we missed the halo. And then, strangest of all, there's the legend "Thomas without a doubt!"

What could that mean? There is but one solution to the mystery: Halo Burger holds the cow up as their God and believes that only in their God's slaughter and consumption can they themselves find salvation. What's that? We are over-reaching? Not at all.

Have you possibly forgotten John 20: 24-29 and the story of Doubting Thomas?


24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

In other words, Bill Thomas—founder of Halo Burger—likens himself to the apostle who cannot believe Jesus has risen, until he can feel his savior's wounds with his own hands. Which in turn implies that the cow is likened to Jesus. Q.E.D. (Do any of you doubt this interpretation? If so, ask yourselves this: If not some reference to John 20, what in heaven's name would "Thomas without a doubt" mean?)

It is only through the cows submitting themselves willingly to The Plan, conceived in the plumbless depths of Eternity, that we can find peace in this life. And if it takes us seeing "the prints of the nails" (the marks of the grill?) to believe that all is well, so be it. (But holy cow! This has got to be the weirdest justification for meat-eating yet!)


(Thanks to Drs. James and Jeff for the referral.)

Addendum (August '07): Apparently, our analysis has not gone over well with certain members of the clergy. One particular member, to be exact. Reverend Hamilton Upnose has taken issue with our reading of the Doubting Thomas story as it relates to Halo Burger. Reverend Ham? You have the floor.

“Your blockheaded interpretation is ass-backward! The reference is to Thomas without a doubt, not to Doubting Thomas. Here is a proper exegesis: We need not live lives of skepticism, demanding to see that the cow has died (or questioning that which has been whispered to us beginning in the cradle). The cow’s death and consumption are self-evident and sanctified. Halo Burger stands, then, as testament to the meat-eater’s imagined rightness. Tell me that doesn’t make more sense!”


Friday, April 20, 2007

Festival of Cruelty

In our research, we often come across images that, repellent as they may be, do not conform to the definition of suicide food. These pictures represent not suicide food—with its sick and disturbed self-sacrificing lambs—but murder food. What is most often on display is utter contempt for the animals represented, a vile hatred that cannot be excused with the automatic "Can't you take a joke?"

And so here, to celebrate Suicide Food's having passed its 50th post, we bring you the Festival of Cruelty! "Enjoy" these sterling examples of man's naked inhumanity.

Kick-Ass BBQ: Evil tong-wielding gentleman kicks terrified pig into open flame after branding "Smoke Me" on its hindquarters. I think we can all agree that's funny.

Prairie Pork-Pullers Association Picnic: What needs to be said here? These good ol' boys are gonna teach Piggy a lesson. By the time they reach the picnic, that damn pig will wish he had never been born and, um, eaten corn, and... made those snuffling sounds. He didn't think he could actually get away with that, did he? Okay, wait. What the hell!

DrChuckies BBQ: It appears that "doctor" Chuckie is a graduate of the Mengele School of Medicine. Are we witnessing an act of "medical" torture? Revenge? Simple barbarity? More to the point: Who comes up with these logos? Cigar-smoking mafioso masquerading as a doctor, a giant syringe, and a chicken so scared his eyes are bursting... Sure, that'll move product. I say we run with it.

Harold's The Fried Chicken King: Get 'er, Harold! This chef is so full of murderous glee he is actually quivering. The poor chicken is acting on universal instinct here, just trying to stay one step ahead of the axe. But Harold won't quit. His compulsions won't let him. His own demons have transformed him into one himself. And these demons demand blood. They demand guts. They demand it all. So run, chicken. You won't get far.

Sausages from Auvergne

Leave it to the French to deliver the first five-noose image in Suicide Food history! (Take heart, America. They're Europeans—they've been at this culture business a lot longer than we have.)
"You'll eat with pleasure, and... without fatigue: the good sausages of the BOUNTEOUS PIG!
Sausages from Auvergne. Absolute Alimentary Purity."
Also noteworthy is that this image, supposedly from a more traditional time, manages to turn suicidefoodism on its head. Typically, the doctrine calls for the assuaging of guilt, the dismissal of regret. But here! Here, the suicidal pig is deliberately inflicting a lifetime of nightmares on generations of children.

The cochon malade is no meek suicide cutting his wrists in the tub so no one will have to bother cleaning up after him. No, clearly, this one is making a Statement. His evil smile says it all: If reducing himself to lurid, bloody slices while you watch is the only way he can cause you pain, that's a small price. C'est la vie!

A final, disquieting question: To whom did the huge animal wedges on which the pig stands once belong?

(Thanks to Drs. Elizabeth, Matt, Karl, and Ehren for the referral.)

Addendum (5/18/10): Something wonderful unpleasant has happened! More than three years after this post appeared, someone has created an embroidered version of the most famous self-harming pig in the world! (Thanks to Dr. Erika for the news.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Danny's Bar-B-Que

How refreshing to come across a souvenir from Suicidefood World that requires so little analysis.

There is a pig. The pig is squirting barbecue sauce ("great" sauce) on himself. The pig is in a fire. The pig is happy, almost defiantly so. There. The End.

This might be the clearest and cleanest example of Suicide Food we have seen yet. Well done, Danny's Bar-B-Que, of wherever-the-hell-Danny's-is, USA!

The pig is burning himself alive, but all he's aware of is his pride at being "lean," and how tangy is the sauce that will soon lock in his flavor. If you doubt the twisted obscenity of the Complicit Animal, look upon Danny's pig here and know that a vicious power is at work.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Clearly #12 plays for a team with the livestock equivalent of a racial slur for a mascot. ("Hey, pigskin! Are you looking at my lady?" Say it out loud. You will feel unclean and guilty.) Pigs with integrity would picket this team's home games.

Everything about this offends. (And not merely the pig's surreal pose: his upper half seems to be heading upfield while his lower half makes for the endzone. Or those crablike pincers.) The ball he lovingly cradles—ostensibly the eponymous pigskin in question—could very well be the taut and tanned skin of his dear mother. Like he cares. Look at those eager-to-please eyes, that perky snout, the ubiquitous chef's hat. They mark him as a hostage who has lost all sense of self. He is now so craven that all of his own thoughts have been replaced with those of his captors.

After he has spiked the football/relative and then scored the extra point, the pig will oversee his own butchering and cooking. Whereupon he will receive the Most Delectable Player award. His parents, had they not been slaughtered and transformed into sporting goods long ago, would experience emotions ranging from pride to shame. And, let's face it, hunger. Their son doesn't just play good—he cooks up good, too!

Addendum: As pointed out in the comments, the pig's pose mimics the classic Heisman Trophy stance. Yes, absolutely. We stand by our argument, however, that the pig looks to be some kind of contortionist.

(Heisman photo from