Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Roadhouse Steak and Ale

The dominant theme here is pride. A sinful, reckless pride. It acts like a contagion on this poor steer.

"Yes, of course you have a lot to be proud of—starting with those freakish horns." (Don't stare, and don't use the word phallic—you don't want to set him off.) "But really, sir, you have taken this too far."

Somehow, he manages to strut while standing still. Perhaps someone is overcompensating for an execrable self-image? He is overly concerned with gaining our approval. The legend above him, a desperate declaration of his value, screams Low Self-Esteem. Combine this with the slab of beef on the (pardon me) crowbar (?) and you've got an undeniable cry for help.

He poses in front of the prop corral fence, giving us the "thumbs"-up, the flames rising ever higher, and you can't help but wonder: Did it have to come to this? What if he had someone to talk to?

Even the most casual social critic will concede that the Roadhouse fosters a warped view of masculinity. Where worth is determined by palatability, we inherit a strange world indeed.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Sparks Street Mall Chicken-Rib Cook Off

We have now seen everything: 'Roid Rage as appetite stimulant. 1. See hyper-muscular pig. 2. Crave pork. It's practically mathematical in its simplicity!

Our body worshipping pig does take the insanity of suicidefoodism to new, absurd heights. Any old flabby pig or cow can gladly offer himself up to the grill—an undeniable honor!—but this one? This one has devoted years of his life to transforming himself into the perfect edible specimen of porcinity. The delts, the pecs, the obliques—pumping himself up has been his obvious obsession. He's buff and he's proud! Proud and... let's just say it: he's furious. The steroids have taken their toll.

The pop-eye, the grimace—this guy's beyond help. His identity is defined by his desirability as a food object. He taunts us with the trophies he's won, flaunting his superior texture and moisture content, the way the sauce complements his flavor. "Suck it, you weaklings! I am chiseled and cut! Grab a rib and start eating!"

Muscle Pig has certainly set a new standard of depravity.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest

It's all over now. More than 90,000 willing people from around the world have gone home. The competitions are concluded. "Winners" have been determined. Untold pigs have been consumed. You, at least, have survived.

The degradation was almost total, the mockery and scorn thick enough to spear with a fork. Here was a gathering of people who love pork and hate pigs (and who aren't too crazy about the state of their own arteries, either).

There was all the ridicule and "humor" we have come to expect from any barbecue event, starting with the official logo. A poor pig, happy to have given his life for such a fine "cause," beams at us from heaven. Up in that Land of Repose, he can not sniff what the event's official website calls the "sweetest smelling cloud."

As these pictures document, the World Championship Barbecue Contest was a highwater mark in the Suicide Food movement:

Is this smiling fellow to the right aware that crispy critters is medical jargon? When doctors and paramedics, with their celebrated gallows humor, use the term, it means "people suffering from severe burns." Would it matter if he were aware? Could the whole sick business be any more morbid?

Here we see an uncharacteristic—but still mean-spirited—acknowledgement of the complexity of the movement. The pig—her very body—announces her love of butchered pigs, but—can you see it there? A single tear reveals her ambivalence about the proposition. No matter! There are pigs to cook and consume! She knows where her loyalties lie. So buck up, old sow! You won't have to suffer your ambivalence long!

What's this? A demon of vengeance risen from its ungodly tomb, its crimson fury a fateful warning? At last! Those killers, those defilers will taste... Wait a sec. No, this is just another glad-to-be-dead animal. Apparently, this "super" pig's super-power is the power to sizzle. In other words, he cooks up good. (Evidently, vengeance ain't what it used to be.)

What barbecue gathering would be complete without weird sexual innuendo? The print might be too small to read comfortably.

BBQ is:
Sweet meat,
Somebody who cares,
& a whole lotta
Hot Love!!

And then, naturally, the sow, all tarted up in her earrings, whore's make-up, and slit dress. May we be blunt and say that barbecuers have issues? And having said that, may we—please!—move on?

Finally, from the Adding Insult to Injury Department, comes this homely image. It would seem that the appropriate way to cap off a three-day carnivorous binge is by taking out your residual hatred of pigs on a pig effigy. Engorged, they beat on this symbolic pig with baseball bats until they can gorge themselves anew on simulated meat.

(Thanks to Drs. Mary and Mama Squirrel for the referral.)

("Crispy Critters" and "Super Swine Sizzlers" images © Memphis in May; "I Love B.B.Q.," "BBQ is," and the piñata images courtesy of Mama Squirrel.)

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Meat Palace

Welcome to the Meat Palace, in the land of rancid enchantment! The hallways of glistening gristle. The formal dining room with its lavish settings of bone (!) china. The chaise longues upholstered in viscera. Let’s be frank: not even Vincent Price would set foot in something called the Meat Palace. So for the name of a restaurant (if that’s what this particular meat palace is)…

Belatedly—our fantasy having already taken flight—we remember that animals who are crowned with painted tin and called king are usually not genuine blue bloods. They are red-blooded American animals, typically from underprivileged backgrounds, easy marks for the exploiter class. And so it is with King Hayseed XVI here, looking like he’s straight off the farm, the wheatstraw still in his teeth.

These are the most pathetic spokesanimals in the suicide food back catalog. Clearly, they do not have the capacity to buy into the enterprise. And so, when they vouch for the meat purveyors, their testimony is almost wholly without authority. Ask yourself: does this steer get it? Does he have the slightest inkling what’s going on? Does he have the power to banish anyone’s doubts, to entice any consumer? He’s just a sad hick used and abused by ruthless city folk.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Gianelli Sausage

The prancing pig is a textbook case of misdirection, familiar to all confidence men. The tutu, recalling as it does elegance, sophistication, and propriety, is a ruse. A ballet rus, if you will.

What gibbering cretins we imagine children to be! Even animated, á là classic Disney (as it is on the children's page of their website), this graphic would hardly hold the attention of a bored infant.

Ignore for the moment if you can—please, refrain from clicking the image for a larger version—the weary, haggard faces on our musicians, their shabby clothes. (Is Pigs -n- Stuff a side project of St. Mark's Soup Kitchen?) What is the purpose of this? It is brazen suicidefoodism of the worst sort!

Here, kiddies! Watch the piggies play. (The children's page also features a "talking" Babe-style pig, a couple of ballerina pigs, a fidgeting pig, a, um... looking pig, a snuffling pig, and a dinosaur or dragon fleeing in terror.) Yes, kiddies, lap it up! Pay no attention to the squeals coming from behind the curtain.

(Thanks to Dr. Alisun for the referral.)

Addendum: Another dancing pig for your, um... enjoyment? This hoofer from Bubba Lou's Bodacious Bar-B-Que is—who could disagree?—hipper than the Gianelli bunch, but he dances to the same tired tune.

Addendum 2 (9/06/08): We have received word that the "Gianelli Band Hogs" are not what they appear and were originally created for a non-pigdeath-related website, only to be snatched and put to work for other masters. The band no longer appears at the Gianelli site, which is for the best. We have been informed that the intent of the Pigs -n- Stuff band was to spread good cheer, not to shill for the pork-pushers.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Butcher's Arms

Truly, is there any safer, more tranquil spot than the arms of a butcher? The loving embrace of the butcher can banish the cares of the world. Such comfort, such serenity. Who among us hasn't found an oasis within those burly, encircling arms?

The antique signboard here depicts this same, universal experience.

Pay no mind to the twisted, infanticidal subtext. Give no thought to the fact that this butcher's last act—before clambering onto the slab himself—is to render his own grandson to The Machine. (Grandson? Of course! The family resemblance is uncanny!)

Of course, both pigs—victim and aggressor—are giggling. Who wouldn't make merry in the face of the destruction of his entire line? "It's the end of the world as we know it," Grandad sings, catching his breath, "and I feel fine."

We try not to repeat ourselves, to hold our tongues, to keep from asking: Why are images like this so widespread? How on earth could they possibly succeed in whetting the appetite?

(Thanks to Dr. Kiki Maraschino for the referral and the photo.)

Addendum (3/17/08): No matter the theme, the "visionaries" of suicidefoodism will repeat it. Grandfather offering up his grandchild as a sacrifice? Here we see it again! Yes, yes, the pedants will argue that the pig is not actually Granddaddy's grandchild. But who can argue with evidence so plain?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Three Li'l Pigs Barbeque

Have we gone around the bend? This Three Li'l Pigs logo is hardly shocking. It's typical fare, after all, the pigs standing in contented leisure. They neither simper nor fawn nor (even) appear to welcome their own demise. The blandness of the image hardly seems to merit inclusion in our compendium. How are these milquetoasts representative of the bleeding stain of suicidefoodism?

Follow along. The story gets a little more juicy as our trio provides the background music for the diners' delight. (Can you see them up there, behind the bar?) The pigs are more active now, participating—peripherally—in the experience of their own consumption.

But it is only when we contrast these depictions—the pigs in idle comfort, the pigs singing for your supper—with other images found on the Three Li'l Pigs website that things take a turn for the grotesque.

Ah, now. The truth of the Before and After shots could hardly be more ghastly. Pigs, this is what you're in for. The Apple of Death, so iconic, yet so rare, is the cherry on top, the final mockery.

Oh, but these wordly pigs, equally at home in the sty and on the stage, know the score. They know they will end up glazed and displayed, the centerpiece of what Three Li'l Pigs Barbeque refers to as a Pig Pickin'.

(May we also mention this second appearance of the Bored Child? His presence in the scene symbolizes the Banality of Evil.)

While there is something in the straightforward presentation, the disarming lack of sentimentality, this is no less ghoulish for the honesty.

(Thanks to Dr. Joan for the referral.)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Franchino Ham

Granted, this image lacks the horrific impact of everyone's favorite self-harming pig, but let's hear it for a brand-new kind of horror! For this pig's diminutive size and obvious youth make for a pathos that is just as blood-curdling. Indeed, the childlike innocence is a selling point!

Can you make out the copy on the ad?

sono buono e piccolino...

"I am good and little."

Again, the principal virtue of these hams is that they fit neatly in the can! They are born ready-to-eat! The consumer need not spend precious moments in unnecessary carving and hacking! Nature has done it for them! O, Paradise of Carnivory!

The pig (piglet?) looks on benignly as his body is magically, bloodlessly sliced into servings by some unseen, benificent force. Note—as with the poor cow from Sydney—our victim sees nothing amiss in the idea that he is a foodstuff. His body is effortlessly rendered into an edible thing. He requires no preparation, no dressing, no cooking. His life has never belonged to him. And his consumers need expend not an ounce of effort. He has been delivered to them by Providence.

May we suggest a new advertising slogan?

perché sono bambini senza peccato.


(Thanks to Dr. Jessie for the referral and the photo.)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Porky Pitts B.B.Q. Sauce

This is what happens to a basic theme in the hands of a master of the form!

Any pig can "apply" barbecue sauce to himself in the "pleasant" expectation of a grueling death. But this is the minimum. This is not "A" material. This is hardly even trying.

Enter Porky Pitts. This pig is putting on a clinic! He is taking us all to school, clueing us in to the magnificent potential of a pig on a psychotic bender.

A dash of sauce behind the ears, a coy smile, an "I'm ready for my close-up" moment? Snore. Porky Pitts shows us what is possible and thereby restores a weary world's belief in suicide food. In its sickness. Its utter tastelessness. Its demonic power to change reality and help us understand that up is down, and how come we never saw it so clearly before?

Porky empties the bottle on his head with rabid abandon. The briquettes are glowing and he's got places to go, makers to meet! He can't die soon enough—you can see the horrible ecstasy in his eyes.

Porky Pitts is a culture warrior. He champions an idea: a delusional, depraved pig in overalls can want to be grilled and consumed! And that's okay. There's nothing untoward about it. Nothing objectionable. Porky Pitts has opened our minds.

God bless you, Porky Pitts. Now hop on the coals and let's get you cooked.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Nahunta Pork Center, Hannah's BBQ

Let us take a moment to consider the plight of suicidal food royalty. What born-to-die animal wouldn't want a chance to see how the other half lives? A pig with ambition, for instance, is doomed to have his every inclination thwarted, but if he can become king! Well, then. In that case, he can rule an empire! He can look down on someone else for a change! Or so he might believe.

This king, presiding over this blessed realm, this England Nahunta Pork Center, is the Nahunta Pork King, a benevolent—if befuddled—monarch. Is he just happy to have something to call his own, even if it’s fleeting, and even if he ends up leading his subjects on a grim march to the grills? Is it possible he doesn’t understand what he’s signed on for?

Behold his kingdom!

How it sparkles! How it gleams! Peace and tranquility reign beneath the guiding hand of the King.

Says one pilgrim to the Pork Center:

Nahunta Pork Center is a huge operation. They do it all there. Hogs are unloaded, processed, packaged and priced. The first thing you smell when you get out of the car is hog manure. Welcome to eastern North Carolina!

She continues her gushing:

Every imaginable part of a pig filled the coolers in a counter as long as a football field. Pig's feet, chitterlings and tenderloins in the cooler—racks of hams and cured sides stacked like bread loaves on rolling racks—bags of cracklings, tubs of BBQ, and piles of pork chops carefully sorted by type. The meat was cheap.

Yes, well, life is cheap in the Land of Nahunta.

Meet another equally goofy potentate, Bobby Q (get it?) of Hannah's BBQ, also in North Carolina.

It is only the “kings” of shabby kingdoms that require these blandishments. Who else would be fooled by such tawdry trappings? Who but a son of poverty could be enticed by a crummy crown and moth-eaten cape?

We smell a scam. These poor pigs—bumpkins, if we must be blunt—have been preyed upon, promised the moon and stars, installed on folding-chair thrones. But they rule nothing, are kings of nothing, are mired in the same slop and bedeviled by the same fate as their kinsmen.

Be honest now: Does this look like a meal befitting a king?

Addendum: Here, merely to bolster our thesis, is another example of a trusting pig-bumpkin lured by the promise of power and wealth.

Addendum (12/12/07): And—why not?—another (this one ably representing the Kewanee Hog Days).