Friday, April 16, 2010

The Pink Pig Company

This pig is the picture of good cheer, pictured atop his pink background, so indicative of rosy health. He's happy, happy being so plainly equated with the food they intend to make of his flesh. Yes, just look at that quality pig pork. Impressive—isn't it?—how much abuse, how many insults the "food" animals bear, smiling all the while.

If someone referred to you as "meat," how would you respond? Think of it! "You're dead meat!" someone says. It's hardly complimentary. No, it's another way of saying you are merely experiencing the interval before your approaching death and your return to pure matter. No longer will you matter, for you will be nothing but matter. What does it mean to be treated like a "piece of meat"? It means, of course, to be treated as inanimate, a thing possessing no agency, no will, no intrinsic worth, only whatever value someone else sees fit to assign to you. And what of the bane of the single-but-hopeful, the "meat market"? Who wants to go there, where all romantic possibility is reduced to its meanest elements?

None of these implications would bother our pig in the least. Nope, he's meat and proud of it. Or, well, as proud as meat can be.

Addendum: Familiarize yourself with Terry Bisson's sci-fi nightmare "They're Made of Meat" for a tangential take on this theme.

1 comment:

Julian E said...

Someone pointed out that the odd thing about Bisson's "They're Made of Meat" story is that the aliens simultaneously know what meat is (they speak familiarly of it as "meat," not as "a system of polar substances dissolved in water contained in bilayers of phospholipids interacting with polymerized amino acids" or any other more "basic" descriptions), yet they find it shocking that some form of intelligent life is actually composed of the stuff. Yet what is meat, if not the stuff of which organisms of varying degrees of intelligence are composed? Human materiality is treated as simultaneously familiar and shocking.