Monday, January 31, 2011

Pigs in a Spin Hog Roast

We can't help it. In spite of our years of training, our excessive—some would say redundant—history of observation, we just can't help wondering. Does this pig actually know what he's gotten himself into?

While he might, in fact, be "in a spin" (denoting a dizzy enthusiasm), surely he understand he will be in an actual, literal spin, one designed to ensure even roasting on a spit.

Our hesitancy surprises us. We have witnessed so many animals with so little regard for continuing in the shameful state known as "living" that you might think this would have stopped rattling us long ago. It's just… looking at this pig, with his smug grimace, we have to ask, to make sure: "Pig, have you considered all your options? Is this really what you want to be doing?" Then we take note of his "I'll see you in hell" eyes, and we know. He's like the others. He signed up for this joyride.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Big D's Barbeque

This is the sad kind of suicide food. This poor, poor, pitiful pig! This poor, stupid, trusting pig. Set adrift on the cruel seas, he thinks he's pleasure boating! Little does he know (or have the capacity to grasp) that he has been cast out, to be weakened by thirst and tenderized by the sun's pounding mallets.

It never even occurred to him to ask. Fork and tongs still held at the ready, he wanders farther and farther toward his doom, the one thought still rattling around his head like a pea in a jar: "Sure was nice of the fellas to invite me to their barbecue!"

He might have known, somewhere in there, that it would end like this. (Or with him dead one way or another, at any rate.) But he doesn't mind.

Addendum: It might be instructive—or, hell, it might at least kill a couple minutes—to compare the Big D's pig with the Landry's Seafood crustacean. They're sitting in their inner tubes in the same pose, feet dangling in the water. They're both at ease. But the lobster/crawfish/whatever is clearly more in-the-know. He's got a captain's hat, for Pete's sake! He's in charge of his own bloody destiny, whereas the pig is too darn dumb to steer clear of his.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Australia Day BBQ Competition

In the shadow of Seattle's Space Needle, hopeful Australians and their equally hopeful sheep gather to commemorate the arrival of the first batch of colonists—half of them convicts—to arrive in Australia, in 1788.

They do this, of course, by barbecuing their friends and/or being barbecued by their friends.

Which, we guess, is their quaint way of reenacting the warden/prisoner motif.

(Pardon us, but Australia Day was actually the 26th. We're late. But we're sure the animals had their chance to die, and that's all that matters.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hog, Herd & a Bird

Nothing brings friends together like the prospect of getting cooked and eaten!

These three, denoted in such a way that only their generic identities are acknowledged—the pig, cow, and chicken are, respectively, Hog, Herd, and Bird—are so dad-blamed happy it's hard to remember they have no individual personhood. Who would believe that generalized examples of abstract categories could have so much darn personality? It is, of course, an illusion.

They are nothing more than symbols for unseen and unheard referents. We might expect actual animals to approach their impending destruction with reluctance, or at least somber resignation, but idealized placeholders are free to act out anyone's ideas of propriety, no matter how bizarre.

Thus H, H, and B in their full-on fork-hoisting, wing-waving, arm-crossing, life-denying majesty.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pitmasters BBQ

Here is a sow who has lost her mind. They scooped it right out of her head and packed in their own ideas before screwing the top of her skull back on. She exists solely to satisfy the needs of others, walks only on paths set down before her.

When confronted with her own destruction, she winks. When faced with her status as chattel, she ties the Stars and Bars around her neck, and flirts. Their symbols have become her symbols, their ways hers. Their flag will be her burial shroud, but she is helpless now to resist. At the prospect of claiming an identity of her own, she demurs.

Her powerlessness is the only thing she trusts, so she clings to it. But it is her anchor. The Pit and its master have her in their clutches. She mistakes it for a lover's embrace.

Friday, January 21, 2011


When Midsouthcon—a science-fiction convention held annually in Tennessee since the late 70s—hosts a barbecue, it would seem they see it as an opportunity to haul out a bunch of themes and cram them together in hopeful glee.

So Elvis is hybridized with a pig (which we've seen plenty of times before), and then beamed into the Star Wars galaxy. It transmogrifies into a Submissive Dominant of awesome pop-culture proportions! If anyone should be able to wriggle out of his cage and avoid being cooked and eaten, it would be a cross between the King of Rock 'n' Roll and Luke Skywalker! He could swagger out of Memphis, pelvis thrusting and lightsaber slashing, and into his own happy sunset.

But suicidal pigs are the same the whole galaxy over. They could, but they won't.

Their duty is to die and, having died, to be erased. Unremembered, they fade, and in fading they find their only fulfillment. While they might have lived as kings or Jedi, they die as eternal nobodies.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

KFC Chicky Club

True, we've seen death-loving chickens who represented the under-14 demographic before (remember Rocky Junior and LZ?), but this winking squab has gone right to our hearts! Chicky might not be unique, but he sure is compelling. (And extreme, awesome, and/or radical.) We may not be sure what he is compelling us to do, exactly, but we know we like what we see.

He has totally nailed the tween aesthetic: The backwards baseball cap! The clunky boots! And of course, the vest and bow tie! It could hardly be an apt portrait of today's dynamic and freewheeling youth without a vest-and-bow tie combo.

And his presentation! With his sassy, brassy attitude, we're ready to buy whatever he's selling.

Whether he's winking or thumbs-upping us, we easily recognize an eager beaver when we see one. And his eagerness is all in service of moving the merchandise, pushing those dead chickens.

"It's a wonderful filling," after all.

"What's a wonderful filling, Chicky?" we might ask.

"Why, all of it! The stuff filling your belly is wonderful! Being filled up with former birds is wonderful! Knowing I've joined consumer and consumed like some sordid Justice of the Peace! It's all wonderful! So join the club!"

Thanks for everything you do, Chicky.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Great Chicken Fry-Off IV

"It's the honor of the thing."

That's what the chicken and her kind get for participating in the Great Chicken Fry-Off IV: honor.

Chickens know it is a gesture of deepest respect to kill something, pluck it, dismember it, dredge it in flour, and fry it in bubbling oil! From the time of the ancients, this is how mankind has honored those he esteems. It is possible—just maybe—that the chicken shown here is just a smidge less than flattered.

Oh, we don't know. Perhaps we're reading too much into those soulful eyes aquiver with barely suppressed confusion. Or that beak, twisted from the barest hint of trepidation. But, no. No! It's an honor the chicken is proud to receive.

We said it's an honor.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dinner Fabulous

We have no idea what's going on.

We've got the vestige of a pig, done up like a delicious slice of cowboy, in a mustache and hat, with coiled lariat dangling from his… hand… area.

We've got the whole thing labeled fabulous, an adjective not traditionally associated with rugged outdoorsy types.

We haven't been this confused since the strange case of Mort the He-Cow.

Or is that the whole point? As in this sign, ripe with similarly conflicting stereotypes of traditional sexuality, the pork's sheer, stubborn absurdity is an attempt to overwhelm our sense of reason and order.

Pork? Equally at home singing along to a Broadway show and roaming the rolling prairie? Wearing a campy mustache? Brandishing a lasso? Enjoying the masculine solitude of life on the ranch? Proclaiming his fitness for your consumption?

Must… resist.

Must… retain… sanity.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Luv-a-Duck, we are told, is "Australia's Favourite Duck." The praise does seem to have gone to the bird's head. The way she lowers her eyes, tilting her bill—oh, she knows how they feel about her. She knows they think she's something special, all right.

Now, we know and you know what they mean by "love" (pardon us: luv) and "favorite" (sorry: favourite). By the former, they don't mean "feel profound tenderness toward or affection for." And by the latter, they don't mean "most esteemed." Even a child knows that the Luv-a-Duck corporation means simply that they really like eating the things. They describe the flavo(u)r as "superior," and remind us that duck "can be reheated and served as a prestige meal."

But the matter that concerns us here is what the duck thinks. By her bashful pose, it's clear she knows what form their luv takes. It is that ravening love that craves and devours, the all-consuming love (or, well, the duck-consuming kind, at least) that seeks union of a purely digestive sort. It sees the beloved as nothing more than aliment, a substance to be sacrificed and swallowed. What they love about the duck are precisely (and exclusively) those qualities she can embody only after she's been destroyed.

To which the duck replies, "Luv me as you will. I'm yours."

(Thanks to Dr. Kirsten for the referral.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Woody's Bodacious Barbecue

The most bodacious thing about this scene is how family is front and center. The cow, the pig, and the chicken—it's the whole family of "food" animals, the Brotherhood of the Edible!

And here, the whole gang has assembled for their own last supper. The spot they've chosen is right off a postcard, with the palm tree, the old prop plane pulling the banner encouraging passerby (passersunder?) to eat dead animals, and the mustachioed chef (Woody?) serving them all.

The cow offers a toast ("To death!), they all eat well, and then they're all well eaten. Good food, good friends, good-bye.

The perfect end to a perfect day life.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bair's Fried Chicken

It's a snappy technique, so seamless you might not even be aware of what it's doing to your brain. Like a roasting pig logo we discussed almost three and a half years ago, this image is up to something.

See how the meaning of fried changes from a state that only deliberate actions performed upon the chicken could bring about to a natural, inevitable result of lounging in the sunshine. It's a crafty bid to shift focus and responsibility.

You didn't fry the chicken or cause her to be fried! No, no! Far from it! The chicken is merely basking and drinking gravy (?) and being, you know, gently… fried. By the rays of the life-giving sun! And we wouldn't want that naturally, passively fried chicken meat to go to waste now, would we?

The chicken's fried carcass is like a gift that nature has bestowed upon us.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hogback Mtn BBQ Catering

We have to go all the way back to April, 2007 to find an antecedent for this thing, an image as raw and stuffed with casual menace, an image as ripe with hostility for the world.

Renouncing every instinct, repudiating every natural impulse, the Hogback Mountain hog revels in a death-loving ecstasy.

He smears himself with barbecue sauce, the better to be cooked and basted. As he slathers it over himself, he smiles, at ease behind his Risky Business Ray-Bans. He might be applying sun screen before a day at the beach for all the concern he feels.

One ear flopped over his face in perfect imitation of a teen's wayward forelock, the hog laughs at himself. At us. At our feeble feelings of pity and disgust. They mean nothing to him. Not a single damned thing.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Skewering Training Center

Who will be the best skewered food item? Will it be the bell pepper for the third year in a row, or will the upstart onion make its mark?

What's this? Two new competitors have entered the Skewering Training Center*, and they mean business.

The chicken and pig have fire in their eyes and steel in their hearts, and—if all goes well—they'll soon have a giant skewer running through their abdomens.

They're obviously quite pleased with their performance, and well they should be. Never have animals been impaled on a skewer so skillfully, their internal organs so neatly perforated, their peritoneums so thoroughly punctured.

Vegetables can't hope to compete with thinking, feeling, pain-suffering creatures. How could inanimate objects throw themselves onto sharp rods with anything like this kind of style?

Look at them smiling, arms upraised in triumph. You can do it, chicken and pig! We believe in you! Years from now, when people think of the joy of being well and truly stabbed clean through, they'll think of you!

(Thanks to Dr. Daniela for the referral and the photo.)

*This is actually what this was (actually) called.