the Disillusioned kid: Flogging a dead cow
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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Flogging a dead cow

Often when reading American blogs, it is tempting to console yourself by postulating that the the craziness which they all too often find themselves dominated by (Christian fundamentalism, ultrapatriotism, brain-dead politicians, Ann Coulter etc.) could never happen on this side of the Atlantic. It's a nice, reassuring thought, kind of like an intellectual comfort blanket. Problem is, it's bollocks.

Witness the TGI Fridays adverts currently doing the rounds in the States, much to the chagrin of assorted feminist-types. Twisty, who dismisses the commercials as "asinine beyond belief," summarises it in her inimitable fashion:
four dudely young morons boo-yah over some disgusting meat entree (served, no doubt, on a bed of Velveeta, Jack Daniels, and bacon fat). Meat, meat, meat, and then one femmy guy tries to boo-yah a sprig of broccoli, whereupon the other three basically call him a faggot until he waggles a sausage in the air, reaffirming the meatly phallocentricity of the group. Meat = dick, vegetables = pussy, nonconformity and gender ambiguity weaken male cohesion, etc.
Not wanting to be outdone, Burger King have adopted a similar strategy to flog their dead cows, as Shakespeare's Sister explains:
A guy and a girl sit at a table together. The guy throws down his fork and jumps up into a song-and-dance routine, braying about how he’s not going to eat “chick food” anymore. He sings and dances his way to Burger King to get a ginormous burger, joined by other men who are all doing the same. The refrain of this song is “I am man, hear me roar, I’m incorrigible, I eat meat.” Spray-painted signs declaring “I Am Man” are unfurled off of overpasses. An Asian man in a business suit collapses onto the sidewalk, hungrily tearing into a Double Whopper. “I’ve eaten quiche, but I won’t anymore,” the men’s chorus sings. The men riot and toss a mini-van off a bridge, which lands in the back of a dump truck being towed by an old man clad in leather, who’s being led forward by a woman bearing a burger on a silver tray, just out of his reach. “I am man! I eat meat!”
Take a handful of heteronormativity, add an illiberal sprinkling of patriarchy, a slosh of speciesism and voila! Sales go up, waist-lines go up and life expectancies go down. Big up the fast-food industry.

None of this should be particularly surprising. Amanda points readers in the general direction of Carol J. Adams who has been drawing these connections for donkeys' years, most famously in her The Sexual Politics of Meat (whichI have to confess I haven't read). Nonetheless, while reading all this I managed to convince myself it couldn't happen here. We're more sophisticated I told myself. We would never be so crude.

How wrong I was...

This (which you can click to enlarge) was posted through my door earlier today. Note the way that meat is associated with strength and - at least impliedly - sexuality. Your very manhood is determined by whether or not you maintain a sufficient intake of dead animals. If you should fail in your duty to maintain this intake tean it is incumbent upon your female partner to "drag" you to an appropriate meat dispensary (cooking it at home is clearly insufficient) and put this right. Maybe you should go the whole hog and move to the States while you're at it. Just to make sure.

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