Saturday, September 29, 2007

Festival of Cruelty 3

To mark our 150th post, we embark on another installment in our lamentable Festival of Cruelty series. If this is your first time, we suggest you fortify yourself. These images are not suicide food, with their bizarre yet (purportedly) comforting outlook. They are altogether different, coming from a different part of the collective unconscious and performing a different role in the human vs. animal drama.

Truth be told, we almost admire the purveyors of these and related images, of what can only be called torturefood. Renouncing the hypocrisy that stifles the creators of traditional suicide food, they offer us an unchaperoned peek inside their savage psyches. The honesty is bracing. To live so truthful a life! But then we open a window, take a deep breath of fresh air, and come to our senses.

This stuff is honest in the same way hardcore pornography is. And so we retreat to the infuriating pleasantries of suicidefoodism. But not today. Today is for facing hell head-on.

Clinton, Montana Testicle Festival: Unvarnished hatefulness! If you are one of the blessedly uninitiated, a testicle festival—or, hilariously, a "testy festy"—is a sementastic ballabration of testicle consumption. Do you see the impotent rage in this logo? How they hate this steer for making them what they are: willful testicle-eaters. The steer must pay twice, first with his own genitalia and then with the remnants of his pride.

"Bacon is made of what?": The website refers to these two 4-H dames as Happy Pig Leaders, and we couldn't imagine a more apt designation. The pig on their T-shirts is horror-struck as he finally faces a world bent on his destruction, but the ladies are, indeed, happy. And what's not to be happy about? Not only do they get to indulge their every culinary whim, but the animals get to suffer as a result. Life is good!

Fat Boy's BBQ: Here's how Fat Boy puts it: "We pride ourselves on providing a quality family atmosphere in which to eat and work." And here, for all to adore, their family values are on display! Like we've always said, family values begin at home, where you can brandish a cleaver at a helpless piglet and mock his inability to escape the wicked blade.

Sigma-Chi Pig Roast: We don't know what barbaric school hosted this abomination, but we have to appreciate the toxic blend of callow youth and the absence of parental involvement. Is this really what the youngsters get up to nowadays? Ramming golf clubs down pigs' throats and out their anuses? Pure debauchery, and not the fun kind we look back on with fondness. No, this will surely be the cause of shame and hefty therapist fees a few years down the road.

Barbecue America's Beer-Butt Chicken: This chicken getting a beer enema is resigned to her hideous fate. She wishes only for a quick death.

Let's check in with Barbecue America about the situation:
"Whether tailgating at the big game or feeding frenzied fans at home, outdoor chefs will be the big winners and draw the loudest cheers when they prepare the hippest, hottest and most unique-looking bbq recipe of the season: BEER-BUTT CHICKEN.

Host of public television's Barbecue America, Rick Browne, the 'Godfather of Beer-Butt Chicken,' guarantees that the odd-sounding, but incredibly easy-to-prepare recipe will not only wow party-goers with its unique appearance, but with its lip-smacking, incredibly moist, and virtually unmatched flavor and texture.

'Nothing can top the flavor of Beer-Butt Chicken,' notes Browne, who has prepared the dish on national television for the Today Show and Regis and Kelly Live!, receiving rave reviews from both Al Roker and Regis Philbin. 'And nothing can top the looks on your guests' faces when you open that grill and show them beautifully browned chickens perched upon beer cans.'"

As you can imagine, and as the above quote and that priceless illustration suggest, this is all done with the utmost respect for the chickens.

Universal Food Chopper: The things it chops include coconuts, cabbages, carrots, apples, celery, loaves, fish, and—of course—pigs. The Universal Victim! What is so offensive is the look on the pig's face. These pigs are clearly not offered as further examples of the inanimate objects the device was designed to chop. No, one look at that face—the eyes wide with fear, the mouth distorted by panic—and we know that this is a living being. And it's receiving a handy chopping by the Landers, Frary & Clark chopper, peerless Inflictor of Pain!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Steak Dance

This joyful cow is a role model for all suicidal "food" animals. She dances not in spite of the effort to annihilate her, but because of it.

Her masters do not sugar-coat it for her—there is no need to. Forget the "happy meat" charade, the smiling assurances that all is well on the farm, that the animals are free to live in blessed ignorance of their fate, that they enjoy all the elbow room, sunshine, and delicious fare this animal-loving world has to offer. Her masters don't need to stoop to that. Their every word to her is eulogy.

With her light steps, and that horn in her hands, she resembles no one so much as Pan, shepherd-god of the Greeks. That old faun, drunk with appetite and the means of satisfying it, capers and leers.

It is only through the weird alchemy of suicide food that the pleasure principle—the endless joy to be found in lustful living, in the carnal—becomes an impulse to self-destruction, to carnage.

A lust for life blossoms into a death wish as the sacred rites of suicidefoodism are celebrated.

Dance on, simple one. Dance on.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sainsbury's Meat Face

In Edinburgh it's Billy Clown. In Ireland it's Billy Roll. And in staid old North London, it would seem, it's "pork luncheon meat." Whatever you call it—we prefer Cannibalard™—it's thoroughly galling, appalling, and altogether mind-mauling.

What we see here is the latest innovation in offensive food, a product that, all by itself, with no fanciful advertising, denies its own truth. This, of course, is the nature of suicidefoodism: obscuring uncomfortable facts beneath a sick layer of misdirection. "Who are you gonna believe?" suicide food asks. "Me, or your lyin' eyes?"

But where typical suicide food acknowledges the basic proposition of its origin before renouncing it—This was once a living creature, which wanted to die—Sainsbury's meat face erases even its own origin. "This was never alive. This was never an animal. This is merely a decorative, food-like substance." (Never an animal, never alive, and yet! That smile! Always, the smile makes a mockery of our misgivings!)

Are we witnessing the future of suicide food? Will all meat products one day be created with similar artifice?

(Thanks to Dr. Tombland for permission to use his photo.)

The Cannibalard™ logo, by Lisa:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Coffeepot High Country Outfitters, Inc.

Are we here afforded a glimpse into the strange territory of hunterism? Has this scene ever unfolded in our actual land, the land we confidently refer to as Reality?

Yes, yes, deer have been hunted (have they ever!) and strung up. We will even concede that shapely Western-style ladies have brought down their noble prey with help from high-powered scopes.

What convinces us that we are viewing a scene from some fairyland is the attitude of the deer. Dead, dangling from a tree (?), he smiles. "All's fair in love and war," he might be saying. "Even the use of the high-powered rifle and telescopic sight. No complaints here!" He is grateful to have given his life for such an honorable cause: the, um, slaughtering of deer by... amply behatted, bebooted, bebosomed gun bunnies.

These are truly suicidefoodism's happy hunting grounds. What are we saying? Happy? These hunting grounds—these hallowed groves—are positively ecstatic! The huntresses are out in force, the rope is strong, and the bullets will never run out!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Turducken King

Welcome to the Frankenstein's monster of "food." Turducken is the dish those decadent Romans would have worshipped if they'd had the time between bouts of ritual violence at the Colosseum.

Still in the dark? (Oh, to be ignorant once more of turducken's harsh reality!) Turducken is man's unkindest idea: a chicken crammed inside a duck crammed inside a turkey. says about it: "It's not just a meal, it's a conversation piece." (Apparently, its value as actual food is in dispute. So they suggest you buy it to fill awkward lulls in the conversation.) A better tagline would be "Turducken: It's not just a meal, it's a whole slaughterhouse on a plate!" Or how about just "Turducken: Fuck you." (Feel free to offer your own taglines in the comments section.)

What elevates this above the plane of the Ordinary Horrendous is the participation on the site's homepage of the turkey and chicken. No matter how ugly the food, the animals can be made to serve as apologists and touts for it.

"Get yours today!" intones the turkey. "It doesn't taste like chicken," the chicken meekly cheeps, as though to absolve herself from her share of the blame for taking part. Her blank gaze and unnatural posture betray a tortured inner state. One wonders, furthermore, whether not tasting like chicken is meant to be a selling point. Turducken: it doesn't taste like chicken! So... even turducken consumers—assuming there are any—don't want to eat chicken, either? Surely they could find something—anything—else to eat.

The duck, in his best Night of the Living Dead voice, warns "Vegetarians beware!" Yeah, you too, duck.

Addendum: Did we say "ugly"? Indeed we did. Behold turducken in all its similarity to a poultry explosion mouthwateringness.

(Photo not taken from Turducken King's website. For whatever that's worth.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Carnitas Ureña

Forget the cactus. Forget the golden eagle. We are starting to believe that the cauldron is Mexico's dearest and most potent symbol. First it was these examples, and now this. The cauldron is powerful magic south of the border.

It is as though the cauldron is suicidefoodism's crucible, its vessel, the primary setting of its creation myth, the womb from which spring the tenets of a crooked philosophy. Our pig here—is he entering the cauldron or exiting, newly minted as food?

Or is he leaving such big thoughts to the big thinkers and simply enjoying himself? Because that's what it looks like. He is happy as a pig in muck. Or, to rephrase that old saw: happy as a pig about to be boiled alive! Just take a look at that welcoming, hail-fellow-well-met smile. This pig is having the time of (what's left of) his life!

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

Addendum: Still more Cauldron Worship from Mexico, this example from Guanajuato. Only, if the pig is so darn feliz, why is he propping himself up on the rim of his "bathtub" and not going for a dunk in the old roiling boil like a good pig should? (Thank you for the photo, Dr. Larry.)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Festival on the Neuse

As though sent here to prove our claims about the dark side of animals treated like royalty—namely, that this is always a horrible joke played on critters from less-than-elite backgrounds—this pig appears before us. (See our discussion of this phenomenon, the Ruse of Royalty, here.)

And—Land o' Goshen!—is our corn-pone Henry VIII ever not elite. With his patterned tablecloth/napkin tied around his neck—perfect for a mid-meal game of checkers—he's got (unidentifiable) food falling from his muzzle. (Mashed potatoes? Hominy? It's hominy, isn't it? Let's say it's hominy and move on.) He betrays his humble origins by the pleasure he feels for the simple things: stuffing his face and bathing in the comfort of the flames that await him.

And it all takes place on the Neuse River in North Carolina. "Noose" River is a most inadvertently fitting name for a site of animal execution!

Addendum (10/18/08): Hey! Here's King Neuse again! Only, this time he's with the Simply Southern Jubilee!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Punk Farm

Punk Farm (Knopf, ISBN: 0-375-82429-4) is our current favorite token of suicide food. This charming picture book's got everything: the lies we tell children, complacency dressed up as rebellion, and a worldview so warped it's practically hallucinogenic.

The book concerns a "punk" quintet of farm animals calling themselves Punk Farm. These anarchists, what do they do? What is their statement? Do they pour sugar in all the tractors' gas tanks? Do they murder the farmer and his complicit wife in their beds? Do they even try to make a break for it? No, no, and no. They put on a show. Boy, talk about shaking up the system. (They should have called themselves Lackey and the Uncle Toms. The goat even wears a chain around his neck—"fashion" statement or sly celebration of his subservient role?)

It gets worse: These radicals hell-bent for leather are such cultural renegades, their big fear is being found out by the farmer while they're punking it up.

"The farmer's light is on!" The animals freeze. The microphone screeches. Footsteps can be heard in the distance. Will they get caught?

What's the farmer going to do to you? Fatten you up for slaughter? Keep you perpetually pregnant and take your babies away from you? Um, guys? He's already doing all that.

And it gets worse worse: When they do put on their "rebellious" show, their big number is "Old MacDonald"! That's right—when they finally stir some shit up, they sing a song that ratifies the farmer-livestock relationship.

Of course, this whole book is a paean to the status quo, to the rule of law, to practices that even the least self-aware animal would choose to destroy. But not our "punks."

Addendum (10/20/07): We just discovered that the feature-film version of Punk Farm will not, in fact, be produced by DreamWorks. We confess that we never knew a deal of this sort had been in the works at all. It was to feature these so-called "rebellious" animals staging an all-animal music festival called (shudder) (cringe) (a little bit of vomiting) "Livestock."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Jim Dandy's Family BBQ

And we thought this pig was suffering from low self-esteem! The Jim Dandy's pig makes him look positively egomaniacal!

This pathetic wretch here is so pitiful, so pathologically self-hating, he puts the retch in "wretch!"

Spiced and smoked! Not boiled and soaked. Did you get that? Did you see? Good news, huh, guys? Am I right? Spiced and smoked. Should I have said it like that? Like "and smoked"? Wait up, folks! I look good, right? You want to dig in, right? Did I mention I'm spiced?

Oh, brother. A little self-respect goes a long way. But this mewling display would put even the hardiest pig-eater off his feed. (Jim Dandy's pig: take a look at our advice to this pig. You might find that it applies to you.)

Lord knows the pig lost the ability to feel shame long, long ago, but the fact that he has allowed them to use his very body against him, the only thing in the world he ever had any legitimate claim on... It shames us to witness him.

Suicide Whaling: a digression

On September 8, five members of the Makah Nation took it upon themselves to kill a whale, in what seemed at first blush a lame effort to revive or reconnect with ancient ritual.

Now we know the truth. The whale was a willing sacrifice. Says The Seattle Times:

Around 9:30, the crew saw another whale. This one, about 40 feet long, surfaced and came to the two boats.

"It chose us," Johnson said.

Into the animal's flesh, crew members plunged at least five stainless-steel whaling harpoons and four seal harpoons "so we wouldn't lose it," Johnson said. They then shot the whale with a gun powerful enough to fire a slug four miles.

(Photo of the satisfied whale beneath jubilant hunters © Alan Berner/The Seattle Times.)