Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Percy Pig

Have we been living under a rock for the past 15 years or so? We didn't think so, but how else to explain our complete, happy ignorance of the Percy Pig phenomenon?

The pink stalwart is not only the spokesman for a candy popular throughout the United Kingdom (in a recent year, the candy makers raked in more than $15 million)—he's also an ingredient. The standard variety of Percy Pig candy contains gelatin of specifically pig provenance. A version prepared without pig gelatin was set to be made available earlier this month. We assume Percy will endorse this suspect product as well, but only out of contractual obligation.

And it's more than candy. It's toys, socks, sheets, calendars, books, and on and on! What does it say about the hungers within the British bosom when a pig known principally for his eagerness to donate the collagen from his own skin and bones can launch and sustain such a merchandising juggernaut? (A Facebook fan club reportedly has upwards of 200,000 members.)

We already know what it says about Percy. It says he's suffering from the queasy-making combination of over-weaning self-esteem and abject hopelessness so common (it would seem) among the world's "food" animals.

(Thanks to Dr. Liz for the referral.)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Calf Club

We'd like to tell you all about this, but after reading up on it, we're still feeling a little dizzy. From the Calf Club's website:
Originally the day was known as Calf Club even though children exhibited animals like lambs and goats, but with fewer children now having access to 'farm animals' the day has become known, in some areas, as Pet, Livestock or Agriculture Day, with events for all classes of animals, pets and handcrafts.

LIC strongly supports New Zealand's dairy, beef, deer and sheep industries and recognises that there are young farmers who work hard each year to select, prepare and show young animals at these school events.

This website provides information and guidelines to help you and your child select, train and show a pet - and most importantly, ensure everyone enjoys the experience.
Okay! Did you spot it?

It's the seamless, oh-so-natural conflation of the categories pet and livestock.

Let's be fair: The organizers of this event explicitly encourage young people to take good care of their animals, to treat them kindly, to make sure they have proper food and clean bedding. It's clear they believe—and the kids feel it too—that the up-and-coming "farmers" form a strong bond with their (ahem) pets, a connection born of duty and affection. We would assume that many "farmers" find this a commonplace.

But to us, that adoring calf—with its serene smile and worshipful gaze—knows more than it lets on. For, whether destined for milking or "rearing" (that is, being raised for meat), it will not long be anyone's companion. Are we wrong to detect a trusting nature in the calf? Not a trust that it will always be—and have—a friend, but a bedrock faith in the entire administration that will see to its eventual disposition. From friend to food, the calf is in their hands. Where it belongs.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Quality Semen Tanks

"I finally have my own little bundle of joy product! Thank you, Quality Semen Tanks!"

So says Mrs. Cow, we can only assume, on cuddling her newborn for the first time.

She knows what lies in store for her offspring. She knows that for a she-calf, it's a life spent voluntarily offering up her milk and her own offspring. For a he-calf, it's most likely an adorable processing at the hands of hard-working vealsmiths.

Which is why she's so pleased with the product line at Quality Semen Tanks. Because that's what makes it all possible. The fulfillment of her too, too brief motherhood. The succession of babies dedicated to milking and vealing operations. The peace that comes from knowing her place. All of it concentrated in her love and gratitude for sturdy, well-made semen tanks.

Addendum: An outfit called Goode Cattle uses the same mom-and-baby graphic on their website. They go one better (or one stranger, at least) by using this one, too, which looks for all the world like a cow in love with a Millennium SC20 semen tank. Perfectly understandable.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

European Fur Breeders' Association

The industrious European fur breeders of the European Fur Breeders' Association need to learn to dial it back just a bit. A smidgen less... enthusiasm would serve them well. We're uncomfortable giving them pointers, but their videos look like hoaxes or something we might have cooked up just to make the EFBA's position look even worse.

We've seen footage before where animals speak about their yearnings and their fears in their own voices, and, far from grounding us in a comforting reality, they only make our skin crawl and our bowels loosen. What begins as an attempt at cinéma vérité becomes cinéma putréfié, as the cognizant beings patiently explain their eagerness to die.

Fred the mink gets the ball rolling.

"...nice farmers and vets take care of us," he says—and they sure do take care of them!—"and we are useful to people!"

And then things get a little personal when Fred points out the real value of his friends Simone the chicken and Lola the cow:

Where the EFBA's little videos compound the insanity is in their central, axiomatic proposition that because raising and killing animals for their meat is ordained by the animals themselves, there can be no legitimate objection to raising and killing animals for their fur. It's logic so simple even (only?) a child could embrace it!

After all, there's no difference...

(Thanks to Dr. Mrs. Suicidefood for the referral.)

Addendum: If you really need to watch one of these videos, knock yourself out.

Addendum 2: Enjoy a suicide-clothing digression from four and a half years ago.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Beaux Hawg BBQ

It's called the Good Life, all right?

A martini, a fine cigar. Good food, good friends. And when the good food is the good friends, so much the better.

The good pig is an instant archetype, a down-home bon vivant. He smiles at his own good fortune, shrugging in lieu of explanation.

After they've experienced everything life has to offer, they'll hoist themselves onto the barbecue. Indeed, today is a good day to die.

Addendum: Yes, sir. From Kansas to Florida, the good pig is living it up, for the time being.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Smoke Wagon BBQ

We know we're looking at an allusion to the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral. We don't know why, and we're too weary to puzzle out whether these three represent the Law (Wyatt and Billy Earp and whoever) or the Outlaws (the Clanton Boys and them).

What difference could it possibly make?

They're standing up for the interests of Smoke Wagon BBQ, which means they're standing up to be knocked down, whichever side they're on.

They stride through the dusty street, menace hooding their eyes. They tote their guns. By God, they will be put down.

Friday, August 19, 2011

PBC Fried Chicken Run

No head? No problem!

It'll take a lot more than headlessness to keep the chickens from participating in this thing, whatever it is. Hey, as long as the event is dedicated to the proposition that chickens are nothing but objects, they'll be there, dead, headless, and fried.

These are hardy birds and they're used to putting up with the worst the animal-eating industry can dish out.

So step out of their way and see how a real athlete gets the job done!

(Thanks to Dr. Robert for the referral.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Special Report: Pig Logo Exposé 11

We're ready to dive back into the world of recycled pig logos. Review, won't you, the last time we indulged our inexplicable penchant for RPE (Repetitious Porcine Emblemology).

(From left to right, by row: Lillie's, Northwest Tennessee Battle of the Pigs BBQ & Car Show, Get Your Pig On; Gourmet Grills, Holy Smokes BBQ Festival, In Hog Heaven BarBQue; Shawn's Smokehouse BBQ, Que-by-the-Sea, Pork U; BBQ Pit Boss, Louisiana State Championship Bowie BBQ Duel & Festival, Microwave Pork Puffies; Greet American BBQ Tour, Bixby BBQ 'n Music, BBQ Bonanza; Eagle BBQ Cook-Off and Spudfest, Giggly Pig BBQ Team, BBQ Throwdown.)

The hallmarks of the breed are the burly forearms and intricate nostrils. True, some examples of Burly (as he is hereby designated) are missing those two f-hole nostrils, but all appear to boast forearms of Popeye proportions. He also always (so far!) sports a bandanna or an apron. Unless those are overalls. It's clear that somewhere in his evolution, Burly split into two variants: the elbow-on-the-bar glad-hander and the dimwitted cowboy.

We'll be watching this one.

Addendum (12/16/11): And here are Burly specimens #19–22.

Don't think this is actually Burly? We admit it's not a perfect example of the form. But look at the curlicue nostrils. Never forget the curlicue nostrils.