Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Buddy Tyson

What drives a bird like Buddy? Isn't this the question we've asked ourselves a thousand times before? Not about this Buddy here, but about all the other Buddys.

What compels them to turn their backs on their kind, on themselves? What herculean effort does it take for a chicken to begin another day as a celebrity spokescreature for the world's largest chicken killer?

Imagine him rising in the morning, getting into the whole Tyson kit. The crisp, white shirt. The bow tie. The apron. And, to complete the ensemble, the permanently disheartened and bewildered gaze.

Then it's off to another public event, to put a friendly face—his face—on his employer's poultricidal business model.

The words. Do they catch in his gizzard?

His conscience. Does it still live, or has it been pecked to death by the routine defense of those who would end the lives of his family and friends?

Does he even care that his own neck is on the chopping block? Or, no! That's the answer: The knowledge that he may soon say farewell to the regret, the guilt, and the sickening knowledge that he has betrayed millions and enriched his masters at their expense... That is what keeps him going.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bigmista's Barbecue

This pig should have the world by the tail!

With his imposing physique, dapper tattoo, and the stylin', yellow eyes of jaundice (or some other liver disorder), he should be having the time of his life.

But no.

Instead of standing up to his persecutors, he stands up for them.

It's a syndrome we've seen so many times before (for instance, here and here), that it has earned itself a five-dollar name: the Submissive Dominant.

Everything is laid out perfectly in the tagline to the right of Big Mister Mista: If it's meat, it's real and it's good.

Good?! He should find it abominable! It would drive a decent pig to overturn the grills and free the prisoners packed into the Bastilles of the barbecuing aristocracy! He could do it—he could upend the whole system that's built on his sturdy back. The Submissive Dominant could wield the cleansing fire of justice. He could bend the world to his will.

But BM just winks, flexes his impotent biceps, and simmers in the disgrace that has seeped into the cavity where his soul once dwelt.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Buckets & BBQ

This is what happens when a pig has no peer group to belong to. He turns to whatever crowd gives him a sense of belonging, no matter how illusory or self-destructive.

This is how, nerves frayed and hopes in tatters, the shirtless pig winds up in the hot-rod subculture of 1960s Southern California.

The kids with their Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, Kustom Kulture cars (Fig. 1) pretend to embrace him. So hungry is he for acceptance that he goes so far as to turn himself into a barbecue mascot, the last refuge of the friendless seeker.

Look at his tentative "hang loose" hand signal, his overeager eyes. This pig has hit rock bottom. He is lost. Can his oversized pipes and grotesque shifter knob provide the guidance he needs? Will his exposed engine and shorty windshield keep him warm at night?

Even if his "buddies" don't subject him to the standard kill-'em-and-grill-'em treatment, surely he doesn't have long to live.

His frantic expression, sunken chest, and baggy skin indicate that he's already on borrowed time.

Fig. 1:
Ed Roth's iconic Rat Fink (source).

Compare "Buckets" once more to Rat Fink. One difference stands out: even the flies have abandoned the pig!

Addendum: Another at-risk pig who has traded in his insecurity for a fast crowd of gear-heads.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Seafood Festivals, a retrospective

For sheer pageantry, nothing beats a seafood festival!

Let's face it: barbecue festivals can be tawdry affairs. Lewd, beastly, tawdry affairs. But seafood festivals are full of wholesome, welcoming energy. The fish, shrimp, crabs, what have you, are thrilled to step on dry land. This is their first foray into the world of humanity, so, unlike the sordid, jaded pigs and cows, they still love us. They've come to put in an honest day's work. To earn a fine, fine death.

They play trumpets and saxophones for us! Guitars! Some kind of thin, flexible piano keyboard things! They put on one-man-band shows for us!

In their winsome naiveté, they honestly believe they owe us something. Perhaps for having been spared the feedlots and pens? For being allowed natural lives, up until the nets trap them in the choking, alien air?

Even their royalty and their entourages make appearances at seafood festivals. It is also possible that the two non-royal crabs are official decoys, employed to throw off subversive crustacean elements. Then again, what could plotters do to the crabs that their beloved humans aren't already planning?

We are especially touched by the pearl-wearing crab queen and the plucky shrimp she has impaled on the blessed tines of her regal fork!

Finally, we are reminded that it is not only royalty and music-making courtiers who show up for these things.

Garden-variety aquatic fun-lovers are here too!

Here we see a high-roller from Atlantic City and a skipper from Pompano Beach. Each cares enough to gasp their last in our presence, surrounded by their cherished totems: the dice, the weathered plank.

Addendum (5/28/09): Another good time for food and mankind both! These toe-tappers aren't even fazed by the prominent use of the word boil.

Addendum 2 (5/23/10): Another swinging, musical shrimp.

Addendum 3 (5/23/10): This crustacean doesn't so much swing as rock.

Addendum 4 (5/23/10): Look! It's that same darn crab again, creepy leer and all!

Addendum 5 (12/18/11): Another creepy and/or drunk crab.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Beer Bird

Strangely, this is not the first hapless, soon-to-be-dead-drunk and stuck-on-a-can-of-beer chicken we have presented. But it is the most carefree. Unlike this example and the one found here, the Beer Bird is "feeling no pain."

He has managed to find an antique can of beer—with a pull-tab!—and he's halfway to oblivion, having arrived at the waystation known as Overconfident. With the stars of senselessness popping all around him, he flashes the thumbs-up of the self-appointed expert.
"Thash right, buddy. What we're gonna do is, is… I'm gonna jam myself down onto this here beer, and... Hey, gar-son! Howzabout a little nother canny canny for the Bird Beer?"
Does he know what he's in for? Does he truly know what he agreed to?

Oh, he knows.

The packaging he appears on couldn't be more explicit.

Once he's drunk himself to death, he'll be set upon a final can of beer. This will be the chariot that races him, crisp and redeemed, to the Promised Land.

"Let th' other birds peck peck peck and get their neck wrung. Sucker's game is what that is! Yours truly's got other ideas. Blaze of glory! Way I'm gonna go out. Settin' on a beer can. Beer can's my rocket, am I right?"
Take her easy, Beer Bird. Godspeed.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wild Mountain Smokehouse & Brewery

Let us consider some of the techniques pigs have employed to ingratiate themselves with us.

Self-cooking? Obvious.

Self-saucing? Childish.

Self-grinding? Barbaric.

But self-boning! Say now—that's gracious and sophisticated!

The pigs of Wild Mountain have hit upon a true improvement in the way suicidal "food" animals service their clientele.

Yes, their decreased structural integrity leads to a lack of coordination—hence, the toppled mug of beer—but life is all about trade-offs.

This skeletally refined pig, this walking, culinary radiograph, almost manages to erase the very physicality that might compromise your enjoyment. It is as if his bones—signature of his organicity, his livingness—never even existed. They are but filmy impediments, easily, magically dispelled. One shake of his dear squiggle of a tail, and the bones fall away, like crumbs, like the excess salt from an oversized pretzel.

And do you see it there, hidden among the useless bones, the detritus of living things? A tiny rump-heart, a token of his gratitude. Buried within his quasi-physical form, an organ of adoration. Adoration for you, his patron. His consumer.

(Thanks to Dr. Nichole for the referral.)

Anatomy of a Scandal: a digression

On the occasion of this, our second suicidefoodiversary, we would like to discuss a phenomenon we've seen several times now.

Periodically, something we write here rankles the delicate sensibilities of the Barbecue-based Community. Word spreads through the barbecue forums—no, really, they exist—and the indignation gathers like heartburn. Here’s how it usually takes shape:

1. In googling himself, someone discovers that the logo of his barbecue team (barbecue team, barbecue forum—we’re still just not used to the world) has been discussed on the Suicide Food blog.

2. The googler then posts a breathless comment—“You'll never believe this!”—to his favorite forums. Forums, plural. The affrontery must be disseminated widely.
Here, we get to see the twining paths of affiliation. Regional barbecuers with their arcane subspecialties might link to hunters and vice versa.
3. Buddies and partisans pile on, first with unfounded legal opinions, then with the same tired litany of “jokes” that have been circling the bowl for decades, and then with ad hominem attacks and/or threats. The latest charming invective: “Here's a link with the blogger's real name. Sounds like the guy needs to be beaten until he leaks. Road trip?” (That example from a professional wedding photographer!)
Were you aware that PETA actually stands for People Eating Tasty Animals and that vegetarian is an Indian word for “bad hunter”? Gadzooks, that's good times! You are of course familiar with this "funny" adage: "There is room for all God's creatures. Right next to the potato salad." Seriously, it's like the Algonquin Round Table over there! Finally, there are painful, cricket-inducing disquisitions on the consciousness of plants and the utility of humans' ineffective, pointy-ish incisors.
4. Our meager traffic inches skyward as the nation’s barbecuers scramble to see what the fuss is about, compare stereotypes about vegans, and wax he-man about the joys of dead animals (and the means of making them become that way).

Point of “interest”: Invariably, the declaration will be made that we have too much time on our hands. Yes, this stinging broadside from people spending their precious hours at forums devoted to musing about barbecue!
An enthusiastic bowhunter from Texas recently remarked: “It is sad that someone has that much time to contribute absolutly (sic) nothing to society except their whinny (sic) ways.” His society-bolstering contribution? Attempting to rid the world of doves, deer, and quail! Take that, us!

Breaking News (9/14/09): Right now, three different regional barbecue forums (Arizona, California, and Utah) are discussing one of our posts simultaneously. So far, it's following the script perfectly.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hae-Nam Kalbi & Calamari

Though crudely rendered (so, so crudely rendered), these two can teach us all a lot about life. And death. Mostly death.

Arm in "arm," they pose for their final portraits. Squid smiles, pig grimaces, and they prepare to die. But even in that last march, they reaffirm the value of friendship. No lonely slog into the afterlife for them.

It's not hard to imagine them sharing their own flesh with each other, blending their meats even as their souls begin the Waltz of Death.

And that's the real message: In the face of an uncertain world, where every day is a precious gift, animals just want to die so you can eat them.

(Thanks to Dr. Adam for the referral.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Smokin Joe's BBQ

Glimpse the paradise of the devout suicidefoodist!

The easy-to-handle miniature pig is perfectly comfortable sitting on the smoking grill. The overflowing... flask (?) of barbecue sauce has rendered the chef's hand... transparent?

Wonder piled on wonder!

Yes, the pig is finally freed from his bondage so that he might—at last—voluntarily cook himself! To stand upright (or sit, or whatever) instead of cringing. To demand the right to be eaten—and to receive it! To have a voice! To matter!

The pig, looking more like a demonic imp (or perhaps a gargoyle), has achieved his equality. He has arrived at the same place as his human friend. No more service entrance for him. No more "deliveries in the back, please." He is an invited guest as well as an ingredient.

The be-overalled man is likewise freed: freed from the brutal dominance that was his birthright. No more is this ugly business Man's burden. Now all share in the labors. Brothers at last! The lion has lain down with the lamb! The pig has plopped himself down upon the grill.

O, heaven on earth!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


For 60 years, this proud, simple, Cro-Magnon wiener has presided over Chicago. For 60 years he has glowered flirtatiously at his Jane. And for 60 years, his clear message has rung out:

Me super! Put me in mouth and eat!

As you may have noticed, there's something about superheroes that the suicidefoodists have trouble with. First there was that cape-wearing catfish mistaken for royalty, and now this. People, listen: superheroes do not wear crowns and they certainly do not wear Tarzan-style loin cloth things. (And he was even "inspired by the superheroes featured in the newly-created, popular comics of the '40's.")


For undead food—once killed, lingering still—Superdawg is a little full of himself. Doesn't he realize he's just an amalgam of animal parts, commingled like so many loose recyclables?

No matter. Having been stolen from his jungle home, he looms above Chicago. Biceps permanently flexed, he demands to be eaten.

Bonus picture: After a hard day of beckoning and posturing, Superdawg relaxes in civilization's plushest fer-nit-chur.

(Thanks to Dr. Ari for the referral.)

Addendum: The powerful Power Dogs power dog is no slouch either.