Saturday, June 30, 2007

20th Annual Cedar Rapids BBQ Roundup

And now we return to the nauseating phantasmagoria that is the modern barbecue festival!

Our last festival sight-seeing tour took us to Memphis. This time around, it's Cedar Rapids, jewel of East Central Iowa.

From what we have been able to determine, a barbecue festival is a nation within a nation. And the official state religion of suicidefoodistan sanctions—nay!—mandates an all-encompassing belief in the redemptive power of animals just asking for it.

First up: this bizarre rechanneling of patriotic fervor into fevered carnivory. (Are they really so far removed, those two sacred impulses?) The message here has become garbled, buried under the insistent rumple of Old Glory, but it might go something like this: “I am an American pig. I am angry. I have such contempt for the lower nations of the world that I flaunt my willingness to eat myself and the members of my family. I taste like… freedom!”

The colonel stars in an equally mysterious scenario. After much discussion we have come to the conclusion that some filthy do-gooder has attempted to drag the kiln-baked colonel from the oven, but he is having none of it. See the grooves his trotters carve in the floor? He wants to stay in that oven. He needs to reach the desired temperature.

The other imagery is straightforward. For instance, this rib-brandishing chef. He is, of course, a mainstay of suicide food, down to the chef hat and the bandanna of the damned. Raise that platter high, you shining symbol of suicidefoodism’s sour promise! (Not to mention misplaced apostrophes. Finger lick'in (sic) good, indeed.)

This lantern-jawed fellow takes his own succulence very seriously. The whole of Chi-Town can go up in flames all over again, and he won't mind—as long as you cast a hungry eye in his direction. Really, his pride is practically sinful.

Our Cedar Rapids travelogue ends with this puzzling signage. A scampering boar requests that you vote for him and acknowledge his suitability as a foodstuff. Fair enough. This is standard, by-the-book suicide food behavior. It's the policeman pig trucking off a load of piglets that is novel and troubling. What have the wee ones done? Were they not delicious enough? Is that their crime?

(Thanks to Dr. Jason for the referral and the photos.)

Addendum: You should know that the 20th Annual CRBBQR featured more entertainment than animals thoughtfully ushered into the afterlife. Music abounded too, provided by the likes of the Boogie Woogers, Large Midgets, and Obsidian's Dream. (There was even a booth from Veridian Credit!)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Light It Up BBQ

We look on this scene and are abashed. All this time, all these images recorded, catalogued, and discussed, and we never stopped to consider the origins of suicide food's suicidal tendencies. We just assumed that these poor creatures were hit with the Crazy Hammer one day—pow!—and that was that. After all, hopping into the fire looked to be the easiest and most natural thing in the world. For some, at any rate.

Now we see! It is not always so. And oh, the short shrift we have given these animals. Perhaps more effort is involved than we ever suspected. Or, it is true, more than we ever took the time even to consider.

This effete (and almost intolerably crudely rendered) pig presents the perfect example. There is, we now see, a science to self-immolation. An art! (Who cares that the title of his book is printed on the back cover instead of the front? Perhaps the book is in Japanese. Or Hebrew. And what's it to you, anyway? Where's your feeling, your gratitude?)

Regardless, the pig, like all suicidal food—whether innately warped, self-taught, or bookish—takes his work seriously. He will master this. He will sacrifice himself for the "greater good." Even if—especially if—it kills him.

Addendum: During our research, we happened upon this strikingly similar image. We don't pretend to be well schooled in the field of intellectual property, but we found it noteworthy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Chili Head Barbeque Co.

We must confess that we first assumed this was an elaborate hoax. An image this aggressively tasteless could never have come about through a sincere effort to do good in the world. We concede our error.

Take a moment to study the image in detail. Your attention will be rewarded. (If making your gorge rise can be called a reward.)

The sow in her bra and Daisy Dukes struts beneath the legend "Join us for a down & dirty good time!" And then, beside her bosoms, appears the name of the event: Racks for Racks. Still trying to parse it? The proceeds from this event—whatever it is, exactly—are earmarked for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

To sum up: 1. A lewd pig line-dances to promote an event featuring the consumption of dead pigs. (So far, this is nothing more than basic suicide food business.) 2. Parts of the dead pigs are equated with parts of women, rack for rack. 3. The (human) "racks" in question are those belonging to survivors of breast cancer. (Are we the only ones reeling from the sucker-punch of insensitivity?)

And then of course, there is the wrongheaded connection between barbecue and the support of breast cancer research, as well as the salvation of breast cancer survivors.

According to

[C]ooking certain meats at high temperatures creates chemicals that… may increase cancer risk. For example, heterocyclic amines are the carcinogenic chemicals formed from the cooking of muscle meats such as… pork…. [A]n increased risk of… breast cancer is associated with high intakes of… barbequed meats.

How far astray the Chili Head Barbeque Co. has gone. If only they had stuck with their inoffensive anthropomorphic chili pepper mascot.

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

Monday, June 25, 2007

Bucksnort Resort

You say you need the consent of the animal you plan on shooting dead? The Bucksnort Resort has you covered! (No, not covered in the sense of "protected from being fired upon." That would be silly.)

The deer is giving you his permission, by means of the internationally recognized thumbs-up.

(We're aware that deer do not commonly have actual hands. But... white gloves? Does that convey the proper outdoorsman spirit?)

But more than acquiesence, he's giving you his approval. That sporty wink seems to say, "You got the right idea, Jack! Take your best shot!" Shooting this fine ten-pointer requires only a steady hand and the continually burning need to prove one's shaky manhood. The universe has given the go-ahead. Nothing's holding you back, you lovers of nature, you maintainers of ecological balance, you!

Understand: the buck is not merely a symbol of the wilderness you might experience at the Bucksnort. He is presented explicitly as prey and thus a potent ambassador from the rough and ready land of suicide food.

Regrettably, the resort's website neglects to anthropomorphize the other prey to be found at Clam Lake. We must make do only with photographic representations of the easy marks:

Can't you just imagine how effective a cartoonified version of that bear could be, his lolling head propped up in death? Such a missed opportunity! To have Ol' Droopy Bear and Gaspy the Fish welcoming one and all to share in the resort's hospitality.

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

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Georgia Barbecue Classic

The simplicity is charming, huh?

He's got his knife and fork. He's smiling. He's in the barbecue. This guy is taking no chances. His worst fear is that he'll still be unconsumed when the barbecue fest is over. Somehow, the devouring hordes missed him in 2006. Not this year!

He is suicidefoodism's equivalent of the New Year's baby. Instead of a sash, he's got his heap of glowing coals. Instead of sharing cheerful wishes for a healthy and prosperous new year, it's heartfelt wishes to be eaten and digested.

"Afternoon," he drawls—and you can hear the red hills of Georgia in his voice. "I'd be obliged if you'd goose up the heat for me just a bit."

Eat, eat! He really doesn't mind. See? For God's sake, he has set up shop in the barbecue!

The pig's downhome savoir-faire and Red Top Mountain graciousness give you license to kill, grill, and eat your fill. And isn't that what suicide food in general and the institution known as the barbecue festival in particular are all about?

The chance to be among your fellows, gnawing as many parts off as many of God's creatures as you can manage in the festival's few golden hours (37 1/2 hours in the case of the Georgia Barbecue Classic).

Please, for the pig. Eat. It's the least you can do.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Suzie's Q

Although she looks like she's giving you the old "Not tonight, I have a headache" brush-off, Suzie is actually seasoned and ready to go.

A piano-top torch singer at Le Suicide Food, she pours her heart (and later her veins) out twice a night (three times on Sundays). Her specialty: a vomitous mingling of sex and violence. It's all there, as blatant as any suicidefoodist imagery we've ever seen. Beautiful racks and bodacious butts. The equation (meat = woman) couldn't be more plain. Like a madam, Suzie is in the business of flesh-peddling, moving those pieces of meat/ass. She'll even make herself available for the right client and the right price.

Unfortunately for Suzie, her career's grand finale will take the form of an orgy of warring emotions that can culminate only with the bloody sacrifice of the virgin/whore/pig. And that will be that. The poor midwestern girl, raised and fattened in the stockyards of Chicago, will be devoured by a hungry public professing its love to the end, to the very last morsel.

We would be remiss if we failed to mention this sow's resemblance to Miss Piggy, a character noted for the same conflicting emotions: consuming love for Kermit the Frog and murderous rage directed at anyone who crossed her. It's another expression of the confused conflation of sex and death. But for lovers of good barbecue and horrifying sexual drama, it's a damn fine night out.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Chinese Microwave

Now this bird—seen here on the door of a Chinese microwave—is spunky! Talk about overachieving! The wink, the thumbs-up: It would be an insult not to cook and eat him!

He got himself killed and plucked (it takes a special animal to do all that for little ol' you). Then he dressed up (and, presumably, hired someone to tie his bow tie) and arranged himself on a plate of, um... On a plate of... What is that, anyway? Frogs' legs? Felt? A deflated novelty blow-up pineapple? (If anyone could get his "hands" on one of those, it would have to be this go-getter!)

Anyway, the finishing touch, the final flourish, is the convenient grid of guide marks he etched into his body. This way, as soon the microwave beeps and you remove his carcass, you'll know exactly where to cut for an optimal dining experience.

Has any suicidal animal gone so far out of his way to reassure his consumer? (Apart from these little dears.) All this effort, just to smooth the poor meat-eater's brow and kiss away his misgivings.

(Thanks to Dr. Dan for the referral.)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Jethro's Restaurant

Take a bow, Jethro. In the history of this collection, you have achieved what no other American establishment has (as of this writing): a five-noose rating!

And you did it not through a scene of malice or of violent perversion. For that is clearly not your style. No, you attained the pinnacle of suicidefoodism through a callous indifference we find breathtaking. Your vision is one of anomie, wanton amorality in the guise of a tetched hillbilly and a winsome pig.

This pig was not chosen. He just wandered into the scene. He was rooting for grub and, somehow, found himself in the middle of a jolly fire. And the hillbilly, far from, well, caring, just keeps on a-roastin’ his marshmaller. He is not thrown by the appearance of the pig in the fire. It hardly registers at all. The pig’s reaction consists solely of grinning like an imbecile. He makes no effort to escape. He doesn’t fan the flames, as typical (but twisted) suicidal food might. He just… stands there. Doing nothing.

This picture offers a dispiriting glimpse of a bleak world stripped of emotion and even appetite. And intention. No one means to do anything. Things just… happen. Meaninglessness is absolute.

Hell of a way to attract customers.

Addendum (11/01/09): Same scene, different context.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Que Unto Others BBQ Forum

This just might be the most insidious depiction of suicide food yet. It's all insinuation. There are no flames, no smoldering coals, no lascivious leering. No blood, no knives, no insane smiles. None of it. But this masterpiece doesn’t need it. For even while ostensibly offering up the livestock version of Norman Rockwell, it manages to horrify and needle.

We have struggled—how we have struggled!—to uncover an interpretation of this that didn’t make our skin crawl. To no avail.

Que unto others. Do unto others. What are we witnessing? What is going on?! There is but one plausible answer: the father steer is showing his boy the Way of the Grill. He is passing the torch (well, the tongs) to the next generation, so that Junior may carry on the family tradition of proudly, happily cooking your kin before sacrificing yourself to the appetites of your human betters. And all this in the shadow of the looming barbecue itself, the Beast in the Dark.

The father is choked up. After all, he is giving his son his first glimpse of life’s grand and terrible mystery. It’s a big moment. Like giving your daughter the keys to her first car, or buying your son his first gun. They grow up so fast, but it doesn’t last. No, before they get tough and stringy, it’s on to life’s next stage: the bolt to the head, the cleaver, and then, inevitably, the briquettes. Ashes to ashes.

Or... Could it be...? No! No! And yet... Could it be that Papa has handpicked Junior to be the next to feed the hungry? No!

What rankles so is the explicit conflation of altruism—doing (or, um, que-ing) unto others—with teaching your child to submit to the steak knives. Or is it just with pecking away on your keyboard, shooting the breeze with other noble Sons of the Barbecue?

From the forum’s Mission Statement:

QueUntoOthers was "born" out of the concept of cooking for the community, whether fundraising for your church, boy scouts or maybe even your neighborhood association.

Okay, then. Maybe their hearts are in the right place. But couldn't their iconography have been, well, more lofty and less heebiejeebie-making?

(And of course, this isn't the first time we've seen a father or grandfather abusing his custodial authority.)