Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Le Cornichon

If you're like most sex-crazed monsters bent on the destruction of everything sensible minds hold dear, when you think of fine French cuisine, you think of goosewomen offering up their legs for your consumption.

Like a cross between the Martini Bitter ads and the horrors of Rachachuros, this lovingly crafted portrait of a buxom half-goose, half-Marie Antoinette simultaneously titillates and shames.

She sits in her boudoir, waiting for us, petticoats splayed to bare those long, long legs, luxuriously anticipating the moment when we come to her, predatory gourmands, eyes alight with longing, hunger straining our nerves, and hack off her leg and eat it.

It's such a welter of conflicting themes it could occupy a cadre of psychoanalysts for months. Bestiality, cannibalism, good old-fashioned suicidefoodist denial: they all jostle for space in a scrum of specious propositions.

Is she woman? Is she goose? Is she food? She's all three, a feathered, smooth-skinned, avian, bosomed entrée! Her gleaming shoes are even garnished with parsley!

Lest you think Le Cornichon cares only for sexualized food, these images remind us that the suicidefoodist's reach extends farther than regal floozies.

Figures from history, figures bespeaking the finer things—these too can be coaxed into the same paradoxical machine, which can anthropomorphize and dehumanize at the same time.

And so, Napoleon is recast, improbably, as a squid (one with the erroneous, dumbbell-pupiled eye of an octopus) and a vintner as a rooster.

The artisan, the emperor, the princess all wish to be like you—to be better than you!—and also to be cast down in your sight as mere stuff.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Australian Pig Farmers

This darling little thing is happy because he has the best of both worlds: A free-ranging existence and the death that will cut it short to satisfy the needs of the humans who cherish him.

The trusting pig is too innocent to understand the crucial difference between free range and free.

And so, uncomprehending, he leans on the banner that signifies his captivity.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Live from the Turkey Necropolis

Just in time for just barely missing Thanksgiving comes this video sure to set your funny bone to tingling and your soul to throwing up all over itself.

On the stage in the teeming, maddening turkey necropolis, temple to the Soon-to-Be-Delivered-from-the-Horror-They-Loved-So-Well, the comic reaches right into his audience's hearts. For nearly three minutes, he nails his routine, calling out a string of phrases ("Christmas dinner," "I've got a carving knife," "Anybody got any giblets?") that send the turkeys in the packed auditorium into gales of laughter reflexive cackling.

It's like we've always said: turkeys might prefer their stand-up comedy tedious and juvenile, but they sure do like dying. They like everything about it, from the act itself to the implements that bring it about, to the sprawling deatharium that is their home until it happens.

(Thanks to Dr. Meave for the referral.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lil' Gobblers Turkey Bites

We've got some kind of garbled messaging going on. To wit, who are the lil' gobblers, exactly?

In a nod to the much-discussed doctrine of Ironic Aggressor Sublimation (last mentioned here), consumer and consumed are deliberately confused, creating a mish-mash of signifiers. That is, are the lil' gobblers the (no longer gobbling) turkeys or the little eaters in Mr. and Mrs. America's brood?

However we interpret the semantic muddle, the turkey's content. Waving a wing at the proceedings, the turkey is poised and cheerful. So what if the gobbler is to be gobbled? It's an accomplishment—is it not?—to be chunked and breaded thus, and fed to children.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the gobblers everywhere.

Addendum: Reminisce with the line-up of Thanksgivings gone by: 2009, 2008, and 2007.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Packard's: a Festival of Cruelty Special Report

The most recent installment in our Festival of Cruelty series wasn't that long ago, and we won't be due for the next scheduled episode for another six weeks or so. But we can't sit on this any longer. We have been seeking images of the (Northampton, Massachusetts) Packard's menu for months and we finally have them.

From the moment we first glimpsed the menu, a year and a half ago, the memory has haunted us. And seeing these images again reminds us of how we became obsessed.

Like other exhibits from the ongoing Festival of Cruelty, these showcase a raw meanness, an iconoclastic blatancy. To go out of your way to demonize and brutalize the animals who became your food, to treat them as utterly undeserving of any but the harshest treatment… Well, it's practically thrilling. Because it's entirely unnecessary—the animals are dead, the food they were made into is in the ovens even now—it has the power to grab us by the throat and insist that we take note.

And take note we did!

We saw the chicken immobilized in a contraption straight out of a supervillain's daydream, its wings about to be buzz-sawed off, to land in baskets filled with the limbs of previous victims. The chicken, paralyzed in mute horror, holds up a sign reading "Why?!" As any "food" animal should know, the answer is, "Because they can."

Below the de-winger is a scene of true depravity: amid the stink of rotting carcasses, beloved figures from our collective childhood huddle outside a Bates Hotel for unsuspecting animals, their legs and wings amputated, their stumps bleeding through the bandages. (It's the in-your-face flipside of this old post.) We've seen "food" animal amputations before (here, for instance, and here), but it's presented by Packard's with such stinging spite that it seems brand-new. Sesame Street's Count Von Count mocks Big Bird's phantom limbs. And do you see the posters on the brick wall? Packard's wants Foghorn Leghorn and Baby Huey so they can hack them apart too!

Animals on crutches, animals pushing themselves around in wheeled boxes, animals slowly dying. On a menu? At a place where you're going to eat? On purpose?

We want you to see the other Packard's menu art. (Click the images to see them bigger.) Like the tableau above, they're positively brimming with an unstinting hatred for animals.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


It's the Nice Rack pig, taking a break from his coyly misogynistic personality to scold his consumer, taunting him to eat, eat, eat, eat!

If his sister isn't enough to fill you up, give his brother a look. If that doesn't do the trick, try his mother. And if you still want more, he's waiting for you, the gleam of a challenge in his eye.

"If you don't get full... It's your own fault!"

Standing there amid the flames, he knows that you have no one to blame for your gnawing hunger but yourself. He and his kind have offered themselves to you. They've invited you to cruise on in and partake. What more do you need from them? What more would you have them do? These meals animals are bending over backward to get eaten! Do they need to pay you? Is that what it's going to come to?

Oh, they'll do it. Look at this one. He'll stop at nothing. Nothing!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Adorably wandering the aisles of an Athens supermarket (uperagora) comes the little woolly lamb.

In his adorable overalls he comes. With his adorable toolbelt he comes.

Adorably, he is employed by the market. To provide whatever the customers require. Directions to the olives? Yes, yes, of course. Wet spill by the fresh-made baklava? Certainly. The men's toilet out of order? He'll get right to work on it.

He is the adorable epitome of service. He exists only to give.

And at the end of his shift, he'll give his last. Whether in the form of souvlaki or kleftiko, or any of the multitude of dishes with which the Greeks pay him tribute—the market is even named after him and his flesh!—he will at last, adorably wide-eyed, surrender.

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

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pepe Pincho

You know who's not a loser?

Any "food" animal in a day-glo get-up—with matching hat!—endorsing an establishment that wants to see it dead and stuck on a skewer.

That's who.

To review: This pig and chicken, chums to the (imminent) end, are not losers. They are the (temporarily) living, breathing embodiments of "winner."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hillbilly Heaven

We are reminded of Egyptians killing their servants to wait on them in the afterlife, to lessen death's bitterness. Even in death, the exalted pharaoh, the wealthy man, the miscellaneous functionary will find life not so different from what they always enjoyed.

In the hillbilly's case, by granting his food a new role (that is, the same old role) in the beyond, he finds that he can go on.

And lo! It's not only hillbilly heaven. The pig, the chicken, the turkey, and the cow will be food forevermore, dawn to dusk, eternally, world without end. From their cloud, they smile upon us, secure in their spot in Heaven's blessed stockyard. They bear the hillbilly no ill-will. To the contrary: they owe him everything! Before he dispatched them, they were stuck in the reeksome, foul mire the rest of us call life. But now! Now, freed from the stinking burden of their existence, they attain the opportunity for the state most craved by "food" animals. Not life after death, but something even more precious: death after death.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Great Wallingford Wurst Festival

It's an annual event in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle. From near and far, the sausages come to be eaten.

For many, this is the culmination of a lifetime of striving and struggling. Like other so-called undead foods—creatures once alive as animals and given a temporary new life in burger, nugget, or wiener form—sausages want only to die again. Perhaps the first time caught them unawares.

As pigs, they were ignorant of the mechanism of their own destruction. As cows, they missed the stun gun as they approached. As chickens, they may have known nothing of the scalding tanks. But now, as sausages, say, they know. They have shed their innocence. A world-wise understanding was extruded into their casings along with them.

They see it coming this time around. Which is why the Great Wallingford Wurst festival sausage relaxes so intently. On the grill, his flame-retardant Hawaiian shirt like a second skin, he fans himself, relishing his long undoing. This time, he can enjoy it.

Previously, we'd peeked in on pig fantasy camp.

Now we travel farther down the road toward sheer mental breakdown and arrive at sausage fantasy camp. Whether as cowboys—every pork product's dream—or boffo show biz-types, the sausages are "living" "life" to the fullest. For now.

Until their second death, so sweetly longed for, is upon them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rub 'Em Raw BBQ

We just…

It's just that…

Okay. (Deep breaths.) About three and a half years ago, we saw something that really did a number on the ol' sanity. It was a depiction of lust-fueled violence that just…

(Deep breaths. Calming visions of a beach, footprints in the sand. The air is warm.)

Our therapist says it's okay to talk about it. It's healing. But the nightmares only went away a few months ago. We laugh about it, you know. We put on a good face. Go to work, do errands. Don't worry about us. We're doing fine.

But we're not.

Because just when we were putting the pieces back together, just when we could almost think there really was something to believe in again, we go and run into this and it triggers the same swirling, churning doubts. It inhabits the same spot in our menagerie of anxieties.

The hint of sexual exploitation rises from this image like the odor of rot from spoiling food. The pig is slaphappy—all his horrible hopes are coming true!—the steer is clueless, and the chicken! For once, the chicken isn't the patsy! In a stunning Cinderella story, the chicken is the ringleader. The chicken, perched up there like a gargoyle, is calling the shots.

And, oh! There will be rubbing. There will be rubbing raw. There will be just the vaguest whiff of innuendo.

Their pleasure. Their bugged-out eyes. Their scheming. It's part-threesome, part-funeral.

The beach is calm. The sun is shining.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Smokin' Hot Sistahs

Cow: Girlfriend, look at us!

Sow: Smokin' hot.

Cow: We're sex on the hoof!

Sow: Well, yeah, but also, you know. We're smoking? As in, we'll actually be smoking?

Cow: You know it! As soon we finish choking these chickens, we will actually be smokin' 'em! We are a couple of smokin' hot sisters.

Sow: Sistahs.

Cow: That's what I said.

Sow: Anyway. What they mean by smokin' is also, you know, cooking? Being cooked?

Cow: Sex on the hoof!

Sow: Having smoke rise from our charred flesh?

Cow: Feel the heat, my sister!

Sow: Sistah.

Cow: X-rated!

Sow: Let's just hop into the barbecues and do this, okay?