Monday, May 7, 2007

This gambit is known as the pretense of professionalism and you’ve seen it before. Every time some actor in a lab coat extols the wonders of the newest miracle drug, every time some pitchman swivels from his computer workstation to gush about the benefits of an antacid or insurance plan, you are being suckered. “Listen to the experts,” these advertisements purr. “The experts know all.”

Professor Bovine (B.S.) attempts to appeal to the same easy-to-be-cowed (!) strain in all of us. The mortarboard, the robe, the glasses: this cow is a learned professional. This cow is an expert. This cow knows all. And after all, how much extra training could a cow require to know the best ways to hack and chop the carcass of a cow? This is what they want you to think. But according to this logic, each of us—being intimately acquainted with at least one human body—is qualified to perform surgery.

And leaving aside the absurdity of the theoretical underpinning of this image, there is the sheer horror to consider: The cow, thrilled to share her expertise with the meat-happy public, is pointing out the tenderest cuts of her own anatomy. For you to buy. For you to savor.

Why, we ask—howling into the wilderness—why do we stand for this? It insults our intelligence. It insults our decency. And why do meat-eaters require such nonsense, loathsome for its ubiquity if nothing else? Why, if they are content with their habits as they claim, do they require the constant hand-holding assurances of suicidal food that all is well, that all is forgiven? Perhaps they should be assigned more homework.

Class dismissed.

(Thanks to Dr. Alison for the referral.)


Anonymous said...

i want to point something out--

you suggest the if the cow is indeed an expert on his anatomy, as the ad implies, then [by this logic], each of us is qualified to perform surgery.

this is simply not true. surgery is intended to correct a medical problem, while a butcher's chart diagrams how to dismember a dead cow - an inanimate object.

your exaggeration in this regard is no less insulting to our intelligence than the ad you posted.

i happen to agree with the general idea of your site, but i would suggest that you present more mindful criticism in the future, so as to conceal the amateurish quality of both you and your audience.

Anonymous said...

Your last point is a very interesting one. Why DO meat-eaters require smiling and self-cooking animals? Do we see this same phenomenon in the same degree as far as vegetables and grains are concerned??...

Anonymous said...

ms - I have seen some Suicide Veggies, though they're nowhere near as common, possibly because a) there isn't as much latent guilt to calm about them and/or b) animals are much easier to anthropomorphize.

jon - please sound more pompous.

other anonymous - suicide, I can kind of see, genocide, not so much. Back up your hysteria with some kind of reasoning.

Anonymous said...


The best meat is in the rump!