Thursday, December 15, 2011

Big John's Beef Jerky

The jerky pushers puzzle us. Yes, all the True Believers, the Willing Sacrifices, the Kill-Me-Nows, the relentless martyrs—every self-peddling beast puzzles us. But for some reason, the pre-jerky animals (along with the pre-rinded pigs) just baffle us and give us the shivers.

There's something about the time investment implicit in the jerky-making process. Big John knows it's not simply a matter of killing himself and trusting that he will make it into the waiting mouths of his superiors. He has to rely on a more extensive procedure. There's the defatting, the marinading, the seasoning, the dehydrating, and the packaging. It'll be a while between his sweet death and his sweeter consumption, which is sort of a superdeath, the irrevocable made thoroughly unimaginable.

He has to be completely committed, and that level of certainty is a little off-putting.

One other thing strikes us about Bovines Who Would Be Jerky. As far as we can tell they are almost always hyper-masculine characters. Take the Rosie's Vermont Beef Jerky spokesjerk—the burly lumberjack we met almost five years ago. These animals are the manliest of the manly: muscle-bound, tuxedoed, boxing gloved, or bedecked in backwoods plaid. Like the foodstuffs they are destined to become, they are tough. Whether this reflects the aspirations of the jerky consumer or the essential nature of the animals in their benighted (i.e., living) form, we can't say.




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