Sunday, October 30, 2011

Festival of Cruelty 18

It's time once more to enter the shadow world of suicidefoodism, the world where no one's constrained by decency. They don't have to pretend that animals are complicit in their own deaths. It's a world we visit every few months, though we've long forgotten why. (Read up on the custom by checking out Festival of Cruelty #17.)

Rural Route BBQ: As every crazed hillbilly with a knife to brandish and a chicken to choke knows, terror is the finest seasoning.

Pig Chaser BBQ Sauce: Continuing the theme, the Pigchaser menaces pigs throughout Illinois. He's just so villainous, the way he pursues his panic-stricken quarry, sandaled and full of wicked glee. The entrailpreneurs of the various Festivals of Cruelty are no shrinking violets, meekly coaxing the "food" animals onto the coals. No, they tend to drift more into bloodthirsty Harold territory. They are hunters (of penned livestock), and they ask no one for permission!

Virginia Smokis Porkis: It looks like an innocent depiction of Man's brutal dominance over gentle Nature, but you couldn't be more wrong.

See, in the official state seal (no, this isn't the official one), Virtus, the Roman goddess of virtue, is shown triumphant over Tyranny. The legend beneath the vanquished despot reads Sic Semper Tyrannis or "Thus always to tyrants." In the Smokis Porkis (or "Doesn't actually mean anything") version, the role of the tyrant is played by a dead pig. So, like, take that, pig? You, um, tyrant?

Smokin' Up a Storm: It's no longer enough, apparently, to kill and butcher them the old-fashioned way. To satisfy a jaded public, ever more diabolical means of dispatching the animals must be dreamt up. In this case, it's some kind of weather-controlling contraption that has sucked up the cow, pig, and chicken. Within its artificial funnel cloud, it subjects them to punishing speeds and stunning jolts of lightning.

WTF? Smoke -n- BBQ: It would hardly be a Festival of Cruelty without some dog or wolf making life miserable for a pig or two. It's practically a tradition! No, seriously. Take a look at recent Festivals and see what we mean.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Byrd'z Bar-B-Q

Can we all agree, once and for all, that the attitude on display here is not what is usually intended when the phrase "with an attitude" is deployed?

Yes, the leather jacketed chicken affects an air of carefree cool. Yes, there are sunglasses involved. And yes, the letter Z has long been recognized as an orthographic signifier of rebellion.

But where is this would-be disrupter? The bird is in the fire, making not the slightest effort to escape! He positions himself just so, to ensure even cooking!

Attitude? While we agree that it demands no small degree of toughness to hold one's ground even as the flames cook one's flesh, it's a toughness in service of maintaining the status quo. No matter the cost.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Guerrila Q

Even though we've seen this kind of "food"-animal-as-radical-smasher-of-the-system before, we still don't get it.

Look at El Jefe here. The Castro-esque cigar, the Che-esque beret, the revolutionary's bandoleer made of pig ribs… It's sad, really.

Sad that he thinks he's, you know, accomplishing something. Standing up for a principle. Fighting an oppressive regime. Instead of what he's actually doing: Joining the struggle to be eaten. In the streets, we suppose.

It's not exactly the stirring stuff of romantic myth-making.

Addendum: And here's the (even less logical) kinder, gentler version of the barbecue-themed freedom fighter.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Holy Chuck Burger

Holy Chuck is working the symbolism hard. Both the sacrificer and the sacrificed, he is the perfect icon for a cruddy ethos.

Biblically speaking, whose head winds up on a plate? That would be John the Baptist. And who was responsible for that head finding its way there? Salome, step-daughter of Herod.

Both wrestle for a toehold within the figure of Holy Chuck. The innocent and the guilty. The accuser and the accused. The victimized and the victimizer. She who, triumphant, holds aloft the severed head, and the former owner of that head. All—each thing and its opposite—can be found in Holy Chuck. It's as though everything, every impulse and every impulse's obverse, ratifies the proposition that cows are to be eaten. Cows, which are, after all, sanctified stuff, holy chuck (the cut between neck and shoulder blade). She is simultaneously mere matter and the moral agent who transformed herself to mere matter, thus removing her own moral agency. It's a neat trick.

So eat! Engage in the sacrament of boviphagy. There's no way it can't be pure and good.

Addendum: It's Guidi Reni's Salome with the Head of John the Baptist (circa 1630)via Wikimedia Commons.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Murray's Chicken

In the two and a half years since we last looked in on the trend of hobo livestock, things haven't gotten much better.

High unemployment, strained finances, and frayed safety nets have all taken their toll, and the "food" animals are bearing the brunt.

No longer can they count on the same sty-to-slaughterhouse, coop-to-throat-slitter care their fathers received. No more can they take for granted the security enjoyed by previous generations. It's every chicken for herself now, and many are forced to make hard choices. This representative from Murray's, for instance. Like so many who preceded her, she has taken up her bindlestiff and hit the trail.

Who knows what she'll find around the bend? We know what she hopes for: an untimely, economical death. We can only hope.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

National Barbecue News

What Scoop here won't do to get the story!

Traffic jams, the high heat of summer, sciatica acting up? Nothing will stop him. If there's an event involving dead pigs, he'll be there. With his notepad and anachronistic fedora and press card, he'll be there. To inform, entertain, and sell, sell, sell!

This is not the journalist-as-muckraker model you might remember from the Watergate days. This is more of the bought-and-paid-for PR-shill model.

Scoop isn't driven by the dream of overturning the system, of exposing the abuses of the pig-killing industry. No, he's there to promote it.

You can just hear him interviewing a source:

"What's that? How many ribs will you be moving at this here celebration? 300 slabs? Soo-wee, that's a lot! Smells good, too. You say this is the finest barbecue in three counties? Can I quote you on that?"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Suicide Horses: a digression

It's been a long while since our last sports-related digression, and we're not sure what took us so long. Because this tradition has been around long enough to have merited attention before now. The event is the World Famous Suicide Race, a cherished part of the annual Omak (Washington) Stampede, wherein riders and horses race down a 62-degree slope and into Okanogan River, swim about 100 yards, and then charge up a 500-yard incline.

Why is this colorful equestrian pageant called that, you may wonder. The spectacle has been around since the mid 30s, and from 1984 to the present, at least 20 horses have died from injuries sustained during the race.

What slots this right alongside our usual niche is that word, suicide. See, the horses choose this dangerous sport and make it their own. They volunteer for it. Their human partners honor the horses' wishes, helping to make their dreams come true.

So when they crash down Suicide Hill and tumble into the water… Well, after all, this is what they wanted.

(Image source: IDA USA.)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Slumpbuster BBQ

This only looks like it's about baseball.

The pig isn't hoping to get off the bench or boost his batting average or up his slugging percentage.

Don't let the bat, cap, and jersey fool you. The slump he's talking about has nothing to do with baseball.

Ever since his sow-and-teat days, this pig's been an also-ran. No challenges gracefully faced and bested, no successes racked up in the ledger of his life. But it's all about to change. When he is transformed into ribs, chops, and the rest, everything will be different.

You see, the slump is his life, and the barbecue's about to bust it. Wide open. This is the big league. Pig's waited for years, hoping for this break.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Off the Hoof BBQ Crew

Beneath a legend made of bone, gristle, and blood, they disport themselves. The pig and chicken, their faces bearing smiles that shade into idiotic grimaces, play on their madhouse jungle gym.

Is anything about this image natural?

The way the animals hang from the steer's horns, the way the steer, looking as though he's gone five rounds with a pugilist, lets them—we are seeing the final stages of life's miserly drama.

If we were to try to name their emotions, we'd say the pig displays jolly resignation, the steer glum incredulity, and the chicken sheer lunacy.

Are they hanging above steaming cauldrons? Are their unseen lower regions still there? If they were gone, having been gnawed or hacked off, would it only add to the animals' fun?

(Thanks to Dr. Lance for the referral.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mooch's BBQ & Sauce

If you can see past the vacant eyes, those mirrors reflecting a vacant soul, you will see something monumentally unpleasant.

Where the naive (or oblivious) among us might see a swimsuited pig slathering on the (possibly expired) sunscreen, we have no choice but to see a pig rubbing in the barbecue sauce. Compared to this genteel image, Mooch's presents an uncomfortable upping of the ante.

By recasting a pleasant recreation—the weekend at the beach we might plan for and happily anticipate sharing with our families—as a prelude to a grisly ritual, the pre-mortem pig upends everything we thought we knew. He approaches death as though it were a longed-for vacation, requiring merely a different set of clothes and the right accoutrements: bathing suit, barbecue sauce, tongs, last will and testament.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Queer Eye for the BBQ Guy

This thing is less sociopolitcal touchstone—some statement or other about "Our Changing Times"—as it is testament to suicidefoodism's power to adapt.

The Movement can take any form, clothe itself in the mores and ways of any subculture, any cultural moment.

The Movement is opportunistic, crawling and seeping into any available niche.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Frosty Morn Pigs: Update

You remember Frosty Morn, don't you? Besides the oddest sausage-related name imaginable (Frosty? Morn?), they are known for terror-delighting millions throughout the South for decades.

As we said long ago, Frosty Morn made its mark by employing a cunning strategy built on suicidal animals and a relentlessly repeated jingle. So significant was Frosty Morn that a second look is in order.

In the animated advertisement under discussion here, a meat elf instructs a class of pigs on the benefits of Frosty Morn ham. That is, he inspires them to grab their destinies with both hands, to rush headlong into their hickory-smoked future and dive into their sugar-cured doom.

Not, you understand, that they require much coaxing. They're practically prancing in expectant joy! These pigs are the aptest of pupils. They need very little convincing. Hell, they came to school pre-convinced that their lives are already spoken for.

Sing it over and over and over again!
(Meat Elf) Frosty Morn!
Sing it over and you sing it over again!
(Meat Elf) Frosty Morn!

The height of a piggy’s ambition
From the day he is born
Is hope that he’ll be good enough
To be a Frosty Morn!

(Solo pig, spoken) All Frosty Morn meat is government inspected.

For meat that’s wonderfully different
They tenderize these hams.
They sugar cure and hick’ry smoke
That’s Frosty Morn—yes, ma’am!

(Meat Elf) So everybody join in!


Sing it over and over and over again!
(Meat Elf) Frosty Morn!
Sing it over and you sing it over again!
(All) Frosty Morn!
It's almost charming how blatant they are. The repetition is no hidden technique. It's front and center! Sing it over and over and over again! Repeat it until you're ready to believe anything. A destructive absurdity will do as well as a consoling truth. A proposition's value depends not one scrap on its intellectual rigor, its logical consistency, its congruity with the facts. Instead, it depends on its ubiquity. And, of course, on the degree to which it leads animals to seek their own deaths.

(Thanks to Dr. Tom for the referral.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vintage Crawfish

In his pan, the crawgentleman salts himself judiciously and checks the results with his hand mirror.

You know how we sometimes believe that our modern world, with its hurry-up underpinning, its speeding technology, its celebrity scandals, is a breeding ground for absurdity and insanity?

Well, sure, maybe.

But things were plenty crazy back in the days of celluloid collars and toothbrush mustaches, too.

For instance, this crustacean has clearly gone around the bend. He can manipulate objects. He demonstrates a sense of self. He cares about his appearance. And yet he cooperates with his killers. He will season himself, thank you very much. No, no, don't bother setting him in the—no, he will arrange himself in the pan. He can do it. If you would just let him—please! Just have a seat. He'll have himself brought out to you when he's ready. There's a good man. Yes, thank you.

(Thanks to Dr. Javier for the referral.)