For those of you unfamiliar with our cringe-inducing Festival of Cruelty series (the last official entry was three and a half months ago, but there was also a Festival of Cruelty special report recently), here's the gist:
Suicide food is all about deception. But some meat-promoting imagery is so nakedly honest in its depiction of pure contempt, its expression of such hatred for animals, that we find it almost refreshing. (Almost.) This is stuff that could stand a little camouflage, a little lipstick, a little stagecraft. At least a few bandages to hide the wounds. This isn't suicide food. It's murder food. And it's instructive to dive into the cesspool now and then. What it teaches us, exactly, we have long since forgotten.
So! Hold your nose and jump in and try not to drown in our newest, themed Festival of Cruelty.
Huntley (Illinois) Turkey Testicle Festival: As it turns out, some turkeys object to castration. This one clutches his savaged loins. He gapes in wordless horror, as though petitioning Heaven's vacant throne. But most of all, he advertises an event whose foundation is the consumption of turkeys' private parts. Do you see what we mean about cruelty? They don't even bother dressing this up in the same old clichés of subservience, compliance, and victims identifying with their predators. It's just shock, pain, and anguish.
Olean (Missouri) Jaycees Testicle Festival: We "love" the disdain implicit in this one. "Our volunteers make the difference," they say as they show us this maimed cow wearing a button that identifies him as one of those volunteers! "No, no," they proclaim, "that one's a volunteer. He signed up to have his stuff hacked off! You saw the button, didn't you?" It's the most half-hearted disavowal in the history of people caught in the act, the equivalent of "Honest, officer! The dead guy was on the floor when I got there."
Minnesota Testicle Festival: They call it the home of the Minnesota Tendergroin, because if there's one thing people like more than eating an animal's testicles while it watches, it's making puns while they do it. (You should know that testicle festivals are hotbeds of suspect humor as well as viciousness.) Featured here is a former bull—he's a steer now—who can only snort in impotent agony.
While people laugh at him.
Thirteenth Annual "Calf Fry" Testicle Festival: The newly castrated can also take the stoic cowboy route, hoping to numb the pain with nothing stronger than beer and nicotine. But it won't soothe the searing sting of degradation.
Notice the barren landscape, the single tumbleweed an errant mark on a blank sheet of paper. It all serves to emphasize the castrato's loneliness. He went from vigorous to victimized just like that, with no one to witness his turmoil but the uncaring sky.
Rock Creek Lodge: More craven snorting. This steer's got a haunted, hunted look in his eyes. Which is only fitting, seeing as he's been hunted down, and the aftermath of what they've done to him will haunt him the rest of his days. Which—let's look on the bright side—won't number too many.
Outdoorama Turkey Testicle Festival: Is this turkey warding off the knives? Are his hands thrown up before him in an "Out of my way!" gesture? Either way, there's no stopping them. There's no getting between the hungry hordes and the poultry testicles they crave.
Addendum: We have, of course, seen castrated animals before. There was a steer, a turkey, and a different steer from way back. Improbably, it's a motif that's been with us through the ages.