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Oct 07 2006

The Foie Gras Chronicles: Part the First

gavage.jpg

Lauren says her new blogular gig isn’t some big political feminist platform. Nevertheless she has magnanimously focused the Twisty eye on glib egomaniac celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and his tasteful views on misogyny and animal cruelty.

Like I always say, you can take the girl out of Feministe, but you can’t take the feminist out of the girl.

The story so far:
– Foie gras is expensive, delicious fatty duck liver obtained by gavage, a method of force-feeding that involves a human with a funnel on one end and a defenseless duck esophagus on the other.
– Gavage is deemed repellent by an assortment of groups for an assortment of reasons, one of which might reasonably be construed as an abhorrence of forcing imprisoned birds to grow 2-pound livers for the exclusive delectation of the well-to-do.
– Foie gras is summarily banned in Chicago, pissing off Anthony Bourdain, who views the protection of morbid obesity in ducks as a “noble cause” and the opportunity to eat their livers with some fava beans and a nice Chianti as an inalienable human right.
– Bourdain leaves a comment on a foie gras post at Megnut arguing that because there are people starving in Sudan, concern over institutionalized animal cruelty should be no greater than concern for female porn actors, i.e. zip.

In order to impress the many-elbowed throng with one’s edgy hipster cred, a dude must boo-ya unto the hills his allegiance to porn. Some dudes accomplish this critically important posturing by incessantly likening everything to hottt sexxx with horny chixxx. Bourdain, Bourdain. So dudely.

You see how apt the comparison of porn to foie gras? For instance, when I say “respectable adult film ingenue,” your incisive young mind immediately leaps to an image of jolly Strasbourgiens shoving funnels down the craws of happy captive waterfowl who will later be slaughtered for their tasty livers. Right?

Bourdain, a trembling patriarchalist whose deepest fear is a vegetarian takeover of the world, really enjoys making this porn-to-abused duck comparison. In the aforementioned blog comment he says, ripping on people who delude themselves that force-feeding ducks is gross: “… a duck can handle what any respectable adult film ingenue considers routine.” And again, in a Salon interview: “These ducks aren’t doing anything that a porn star doesn’t do on a regular basis.”

See, Bourdain knows what time it is. He knows it’s cool to shove a cock down a woman’s throat for the amusement of paying customers, so it follows that it’s cool to shove a funnel down a duck’s throat for the amusement of paying customers. Hell, shove any old thing down any old throat for the amusement of paying customers. Whatever. It’s cool.

In the Salon interview, Bourdain asserts that, sure, some duck farmers are unscrupulous, but the good foie gras, it comes from happy ducks lovingly cared for by devoted duck worshiping sycophants. These contented animals enjoy their twice-daily gavages so much that they flappity-flap for joy when their personal force-feeder approaches their luxury resort accommodations. If they were able to walk — which they aren’t because their livers are 12 times their normal size — they’d strew rose petals in his path and quack out lyric odes.

Women in porn do have one thing in common with those ducks: assholes who want to justify their addiction to porn tell the same kind of feel-good stories about them. You know: sure, some porn producers are unscrupulous, but the good porn, it comes from decent guys who take care of their girls, and obviously the women are making tons of money and having the last laugh and striking a blow for women’s sexual empowerment, and they totally dig it or they’d bail for chrissake.

Here’s what some tool in Larousse gastronomique has to say about foie gras: “The goose is nothing, but man has made of it an instrument for the output of a marvelous product, a kind of living hothouse in which there grows the supreme fruit of gastronomy.”

Or, the woman is nothing, but man has made of her an instrument for the output of a marvelous product, a kind of living whorehouse in which there grows the supreme fruit of patriarchy.

Next time: To foie or not to foie?

107 comments

2 pings

  1. al

    Patriarchy loves stuffing birds.

    I’m sure ducks dig being force-fed via a funnel forcefully stuffed down their throats, just like those porn star chix dig having a cock forcefully stuffed in their every orifice.

    Sure. Pull the other one, asshole. If Bourdain thinks it’s so empowering, he should submit to a stuffing himself.

    Either one, I’m not phased.

  2. Carpenter

    Salon should have offered this dude a free force feeding, to proove how enjoyable it is.

  3. scratchy888

    Oh, from what I’ve heard the goose’s liver has to burst before its “ready”. This makes me very, very sorry that I did not ask the surgeons to save all the nice pus from my burst appendix way back when. I could have sold it for a high price for the rich people to taste at their nice banquets.

  4. Ron Sullivan

    Two stray thoughts, related only in the manner of second cousins:

    “Nothin but happy duckies here on dis plantation, nosuh!”

    I myself have gavage-fed a number of human infants. Seeing the word struck a weird chord of glad-that’s-over nostalgia. (Yes I have. It’s surprisingly esay with an infant, as their nasopharyngeal bits haven’t yet grown as baroque and angular as an adult’s.)

    I don’t think foie gras tastes much like pus, actually. Purely informed speculation on my part, but I suppose pus would taste rather more like a very salty, aged-runny cheese. Has anyone here had an abscessed tooth recently enough to remember?

    Hey, that was three thoughts. Nobody expects the Spanish, um, never mind, don’t anser that, I’m just making anas of myself.

  5. saltyC

    What were you a marm in a hideous victorian orphanage? I picture this gothic scene drawn by Edward Gorey.

  6. kathy a

    i think ron did pediatric intensive care, or maybe ped ER. not the same as performing the deed on a goose to poof up its liver. pediatric nurses are my heros. hear that, ron?

  7. Carpenter

    And this isnt even the creulest thing the French do to birds before they eat them.
    See the now endangred Ortolan that is captured, blinded, put in a tiny cage and force fed, then drowned in Armongac and eaten whole while the eater covers thier head with a towel.
    The towel is a bit of a mystery some say that it is so the eater can fully concentrate on the deliciousness of the bird, others claim it was originally to hide your cruel indulgence from God.
    Why this particularly cruel history of cuisine in France?

  8. KMTBERRY

    In the 18th century, gourmands in France AND England used to put a goose in the middle of a literal “ring of fire”, with an open space in the middle, and the bird would RUN AROUND, cooking to death….it was considered “best” to slice up the goose’s flesh and place it on one’s plate WHILE THE GOOSE WAS STILL BREATHING…..

    Sometimes I think we HAVE improved, you know, a LITTLE, since then.

  9. jc.

    And somehow the frogs are seen to be practitioners of high culture and resisters to the evil MacDonalds food culture.
    Frog bashing is always enjoyable they´ve raised the practice of an arrogant oblivious uncaring hypocrisy to a defining national practice.

  10. Jenevieve

    Excellent blaming as usual, Twisty!

  11. Shiney

    Does this guy actually believe this shit?
    What an attrocious, offensive analogy.

    Also, Twisty, I found this offensive article: http://www.theage.com.au/news/in-depth/gripped-by-a-guilty-pleasure/2006/10/07/1159641569552.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

    The most depressing thing is that this is one of the BETTER daily newspapers we have in Melbourne, Australia.

    Those POOR little men, so preyed upon by the porn industry! Forced to masturbate in dark corners.

    My withered heart bleeds.

  12. annared

    Re ‘good porn’ according to a recent thread on a ’Liberal’ blog. Apparently, if you jerk off with one hand while fumbling with remote with the other, whizzing through slapping/punching/spitting calling the bitch/whore/slut bits then this means that you do not really like violent porn.

    Completing jerk off when ’good porn’ is whirring. Then surely this equates for Ducks livers as well, as long as the Duck liver engorger closes his eyes during the nasty bits then no Ducks have been harmed in this production. Their liver pimps have looked them after properly. I can see why this enlightened hippidy do dah of a man has made his connection.

  13. tamarind

    Dudes, save me.

    I’m living in France’s fois gras heartland. It’s mostly geese, which you can hear from all around the narrow valley. It seems that ours is the only vegetarian kitchen in the whole South West, and we’re always being teased for not eating the local speciality/ not drinking wine/ not eating the local veal (grown in the field next door). The best I can do to console myself is say: Hey, at least they get to see the sky – which is true, they do (unlike some other intensively farmed animals). A small bonus. The rest just sucks.

  14. Cass

    So this brutal, forcible violation of the duck’s body is comparable to pornography… and that’s a good thing, because we’re pretty sure the violatee enjoys what’s being done to her (through whatever orifice).

    Guys like this just make our job here too easy.

  15. saltyC

    Ah this is the guy who wrote Kitchen Confidential… I knew I hated him for some reason. He’s ever trying to offend vegetarians and ever missing the mark.

    He opens a book describing an inuit family devouring a seal carcass, in gorey detail. But vegetarians already know meat is violent and gore, this is the way they view your average family eating KFC, so big wup.

    I actually am happy he makes this equation btw foie gras and porn, also something I already knew.

    The documentary Hardcore by UK channel 5 shows how a porn victim is broken in by a man called Max Hardcore. Her “agent” brought her to meet him, because she had been refusing the more profitable gang bang and anal scenes. So Max Hardcore rapes her, then chokes her with his cock. She flees crying. The next day, she is traumatized, couldn’t sleep because of nightmares about being asphyxiated. But now she is willing to do the lucrative scenes. Because as her agent puts it “Now that she’s been through the worst they don’t look as bad anymore”

    If only groups like PeTA saw the cruelty in porn, which I’m not holding my breath over being that pornsturbators like Bill Mahr are in it.

  16. paris

    I do not in principle object to the human tendency to consume animals. I also admire the French for unleashing the full brunt of human creativity upon the creation of food. Yet foie gras falls into a grey area for me – I have found it to be very tasty, yet its production requires imposing a level of cruelty upon geese that makes me uncomfortable.

    Bourdain’s proposal that porn actresses and geese enjoy the same capacities for consent? That’s a bit much and not, as Twisty so eloquently points out, very creative at all.

  17. Buttercup

    foie gras is disgusting. if i find it on a menu when i am out to eat, i leave. and tell them why.

    here in pittsburgh, we recently forced a local restaurant company (Big Burrito) to stop offering it. the company in question owns several different places, carribean, mexican, euro, japanese, and their food is very, very good. they use local suppliers when possible, give to charity, do benefits, and are, all in all, one of the best places to eat here no matter what you’re in the mood for. they did resist but finally caved after a local animal advocacy group showed a film of the foie gras process at their highest-end place.

    0ne of the nicer things big burrito does is donate to the hillman cancer center here. they do a charity dinner once a year where 100% of their take for the entire evening’s meals from all their restaurants goes to the hillman center for research and patient care.

    also, the other night, i was watching take-home chef for the first time, which i found to be generally repugnant for a number of reasons, but i downright switched it off when he bought foie gras.

    dang. i ought to get my own damn blog.

  18. Mandos

    “Why this particularly cruel history of cuisine in France?”

    I think it’s a general cruel history of cuisine in most of the world, really. In a world where painful, unanaesthetized death by horrible plagues and stuff was common, the idea of bursting a goose’s liver or eating an animal alive probably had much less shock value.

  19. Mandalay

    I went to read the thread on Megnut … apparently those who were not in favor of a particular Chicago restaurant serving foie gras seemed to be in favor of threatening the chef’s children, to the point of sending him photographs from where they played. Nice way of getting your point across; obviously they were taking lessons from Neal Horsley and Randall Terry.

    Believe me–if animals could figure out ways of making humans more tasty they’d do it.

  20. sabrinayo

    twisty, i think i have a reached a whole new level of awe of you after this entry.

  21. Patti

    During the year before my friend Karen died of cancer, her liver got very enlarged. It was wildly painful, and at the end, the pain was so bad she wanted to die.

    Bourdain’s hatefilled comment reminded me of the sexually sadistic man I used to be involved with – choking with his penis was one of his favorite things. He was also involved with House of Gord, the forniphilia guys. Thought it was all good fun. To the person who commented that the porn actresses have more capacity for consent than the ducks – consent is a pretty sticky wicket. Most of the women I met in the BDSM and porn scene have histories of abuse that make the idea of consent laughable.

  22. auguste

    Apparently, if you jerk off with one hand while fumbling with remote with the other, whizzing through slapping/punching/spitting calling the bitch/whore/slut bits then this means that you do not really like violent porn.

    Fairest and least reductive summary of a comment thread ever.

  23. Cass

    “Believe me-if animals could figure out ways of making humans more tasty they’d do it.”

    Yes, we had our cute little rubber duckies as children, and we’ve all seen them swimming around so merrily at our neighborhood park. But do we really know what dark thoughts lurk in the minds of waterfowl?

    The duck: its either him, or us.

  24. robin

    My goodness, this raving idiot just set himself up with the fois-gras/porn analogy.
    I also read Kitchen Confidential, and the experience left me a bit queasy. It was as though shadows of the stench of misogyny and animal cruely were drifting around it, and now with his latest pronouncement, they rush into focus with a loud ugly slap.

    In other news, this morning the Sunday paper’s front page featured the following headline: “Diary of a Sex Slave”. It was a supposed expose’ of the sex slave industry which thrives in many big cities.
    The article was illustrated with a soft, tepia-toned photo of a woman’s lips and cleavage. Yep. The idiot editors decided the best way to present this information was by eroticizing the subject of sex slaves. Make it nice and sexy so guys could get just a BIT aroused at the idea of enslaved women and girls being debased, used, and infected with disease.

    I am a grumpy, discouraged and weary blamer today.

  25. thebewilderness

    Here in the US it has been brought to our attention once again, that authoritarians within the patriarchial matrix are in favor of torture. Ducks, Geese, women, brown people. The only difference will be that women and animals are tortured for pure pleasure, while brown people will be tortured for confessions and a little dirty pleasure.

    Up thread, I suspect this asshat would cook and serve the swollen liver of a dialysis patient. After all that grinding pain every moment of every day is about the same as a foi guts duck or a day in the life of a porn star. OK I have grossed myself out so I have to go for a walk in the woods with the cats.

  26. Mandalay

    I have a scar on my right hand courtesy of a goose who took umbrage that my three-year-old self was walking with my mother on a sidewalk about one hundred feet away from the pond where it was swimming.

    Personally, I find foie gras highly overrated. If there’s not a market for it, it won’t get bought. Simple, perhaps, but true.

  27. annared

    auguste
    “Fairest and least reductive summary of a comment thread ever”

    Thank you, I have had strange feelings of ‘pissing in the wind’ lately

  28. ew_nc

    I hate being a heterosexual female when I hear men spout crap like that. Sometimes I want so bad to be a lesbian. Twisy, do you know of any heterosexual reconditioning camps, such as those that the godbags have to banish gayness? You know, where they’d zap me with electrical shocks when I look at a picture of Johnny Depp or something? Perhaps there is someone out there with a really good working knowledge of how to make leather wallets that will open one. I even have an idea for the camp song, check this out –
    (sung to the tune of Oscar Meyer – uh – weiner)

    OH, I wish I were a girl who hated weeners,
    That is what I’d truly like to be-e-e,
    For if I were a girl who hated weeners,
    No man would ever be exploiting me!

    Whadda ya think?

  29. KMTBERRY

    Does anyone on this thread know the taste difference between Foie Gras and REGULAR (non-tortured) goose liver? If the whole big deal (culinarily speaking) about foie gras is the fat content, couldn’t some creative chef just mix regular goose liver with butter, or rendered goose fat from the rest of the bird?

    (I know this doesn’t “fix” the problem for vegetarians. Just speaking as a person who does not care to eat TORTURED animals.)

  30. Cass

    Mandalay:

    Thank you for sharing that with us. When I was four, I was viciously and inexcusably attacked by a guard dog outside of an antique shop. My parents rushed me to Baylor Medical Center, where I spent the night, recieved some stitches and got a very painful shot. Well, the physical wounds healed, but the emotional ones didn’t. For years I kept my rage inside, and I don’t mind telling you, it was often the only thing that kept me warm. Finally, after several cats and many years of therapy, I found the courage to confront another German sheperd who may or may not have been related to the dog that attacked me. With a trembling voice, I told him of the anger and hurt I’d carried inside all those years. I’d love to say he acknowledged my pain; but in truth, he mostly just looked around, and licked his own behind. It didn’t matter. The chewed-up little girl inside me had spoken, and the healing had begun. And now, many years later, I can honestly say I’ve found peace.

    I wish the same for you.

  31. Carpenter

    Mandos
    yeah you know in practice factory farming and the slaughter house process is probably just as painful and disgusting as force feeding/liver bursting.
    There are many US food practices that are plenty cruel, like boiling crustations and mollusks alive(people try to swear crustations cant sense heat changes but you can damn well bet they can sense thier muscel tissue bursting). But I dont think we have anything that is in priniciple as bad as the Ortolan or the ring of fire, I mean imagne how painful it must be to have your eyes poked out then be drown in alcohol.

    It does bother the shit out of me that this stuff is considered the pinacle of cuisine. The thing is I’m not even sure theres a correlation between societied treating animals cruely and how they view other people. Religious, anti-animal cruelty, vegetarians burned widows in sutee.

  32. Twisty

    “Twisy, do you know of any heterosexual reconditioning camps, such as those that the godbags have to banish gayness? ”

    Yeah, it’s called Camp Cuervo (also known as Liquid Gay-for-a-Day). I’ve seen the results first hand on many occasions.

  33. Mandos

    Cass’ most recent post was like the best IBTP comment ever! It is only for occasions like this that I save my LOLs and ROTFLs.

  34. femhist

    Sigh. There are no words [beyond Twisty's, that is]. This shit is fucked up on so many levels. There’s the comparing-women-to-farm-animals bit; there’s simultaneous acknowledgment and (shudder) celebration of the fact that having a cock forcibly shoved down your throat is akin to forcefeeding animals, and is a form of torture to be endured; there’s the barely-implicit suggestion that consent is irrelevent for either the woman or the animal; there’s the abiding belief that the bodily integrity of either one should be sacrificed for the luxurious and self-indulgent pleasures of a man.
    Ew.
    ““Nothin but happy duckies here on dis plantation, nosuh!””
    Ron Sullivan, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Bleh. I need to go take a shower now.

  35. johnieb

    Mandos,

    I have no wish to get into a pissing match, even when drunk and such, but I gotta ask, am I missing some level of young folks’ snark (hope that’s correct usage) in your response? I took Cass to to be offering comfort to another person who had been attacked by an animal as a toddler. Do you assert that Cass is insincere, or otherwise making some invalid point? Is this irony? Or is this you not at your best?

  36. Mandos

    I took Cass’ post as massively ironic. Like, a dog bit her and her inner child needed mollification after many years?

  37. Mandos

    Of course if Cass was perfectly serious, my deepest apologies. But I simply couldn’t read that post with a straight face.

  38. Cass

    After implying earlier that ducks would be stuffing our livers if they could, Mandalay related a childhood trauma involving a goose, as if justifying a lifelong resentment towards them. There’s nothing funny of course about children being attacked by animals; but an adult holding resentment towards them, and treating them as moral agents (the way you would your abusive uncle) did strike me as pretty ludicrous. So yes, I was needling him or her.

    The dog that attacked me, by the way, was very real, as was the shot they gave me, which really, really hurt. That part about owning multiple cats, on the other hand, was a bit of an embellishment.

  39. langsuyar

    Ima vegetarian anda feminist and Bourdain often amuses the hell out of me. But I am also aware that he is a gigantic ass. Huge. And I mean that with no disrespect to donkeys. Twisy’s post illustrates beautifully the fucked up intersection of food porn and porn porn.

    Its all consumption, baby, whether its bitches or geese. The patriarchy views everything not while and male with startingly equal levels of disdain. Even most dudely vegetarians don’t eat meat for disturbingly paternalizing reasons (very broad generalizing there, sue me).

    I just don’t know how people rationalize the things they do. Must take alot of energy to convince themselves the actions they undertake are a-okay.

    And I would just like to say, I almost googled “Camp Cuervo” because I would love to go there for a holiday before by brain turned on and I realized what Twisty was talking about. Er. Heh.

  40. Sam

    “Apparently, if you jerk off with one hand while fumbling with remote with the other, whizzing through slapping/punching/spitting calling the bitch/whore/slut bits then this means that you do not really like violent porn.”

    Now, now, annared. Talk like that won’t get your blog praised by pornsturbating playboys.

    It will, however, cause me to name today “Annared is the Bee’s Knees Day.”

  41. Patti

    Yeah, for a minute I got all excited about Camp Cuervo, too.

  42. finnsmotel

    You are on a roll, lately!

    -finn

  43. annared

    “Apparently, if you jerk off with one hand while fumbling with remote with the other, whizzing through slapping/punching/spitting calling the bitch/whore/slut bits then this means that you do not really like violent porn.”

    Sam

    “Now, now, annared. Talk like that won’t get your blog praised by pornsturbating playboys.

    It will, however, cause me to name today “Annared is the Bee’s Knees Day.”

    Oh no! I am busted! Hugh Neeedastiffy only goes for blog owners that he can play origami with. Literally as in manipulating that shakey sense of self into something that resembles one of his icky Bunnies
    HOP!… How high sir?
    Annared…Buzzz

  44. zenobia

    Error: you do not drink Chianti with foie gras (or foie de canard). You drink Sauterne or a similar slightly sweet white wine. The problem is that the force-fed liver tastes stupendously good (and nothing at all like the unforced liver), so it takes a major moral effort to say “no”. Unlike the porn analogy, or so I hope.

  45. langsuyar

    (Thassit. I’m going go all entrepreneur and start a Camp Cuervo for all women. Kinda like Club Med but with nonheternormative reprogramming. Won’t that be fun to play “compare and contrast” with the ex-gay ministries in teh media. There I go, off on a tangent again.)

    zenobia, I think its fair to say that people can become as addicted to porn for various reasons in a way that could be analogous to the difficulties inherit in refusing tasty bits of force fed fun. Plus, lots of people don’t see any problems with porn at all, whereas most people with half a brain will at least concede that the geese aren’t having a good time. Porn and foi gras are both tasty bits of torture. Or something. Personally, I think its creepy to compare a woman to a goose but, hey, its all a matter of consumption. Women and animals are non-agents to most dudes.

    But then, I find virtually everything problematic myself. Doesn’t mean I don’t do it. I’m just saying.

  46. Mandos

    I will have to make a terrible admission. When I see a flock of ducks or geeze or a herd of sheep, I have two simultaneous reactions. “Yum!” and “Cute!” In fact, I think the “Yum!” comes before the “Cute!”.

    I’m even aware that the sheep have to die painfully for me to eat them.

    Maybe one day in the future, biochemical engineering would have reached such a height that we would have brainless vat-grown meat of any variety, and the point of all of this would be moot. It would have all the moral implications of eating a soybean, and be a gazillion times more efficient than raising a whole cow. Let us hope for this future day of peace between vegetarians and carnitarians.

  47. CafeSiren

    Mandos,

    Something is either meat (comes from an animal, with a brain), or not. For the latter, we have meat analogs, which more and more closely approximate the taste and texture of meat (or so I’ve been told). That they don’t replicate them exactly is beside the point, IMO: much factory-farm-raised animals’ flesh no longer tastes like the meat of decades ago, I’m told — hence the market for pasture-raised grass-fed animal meat.

    But the point is that the most die-hard meat eaters don’t object to leaving the *taste* of meat behind, but rather to the idea of Not Eating Meat. A non-animial meat substitute could do everything to approximate that animal’s flesh but actually moo (and feel pain), and many would reject it, simply because it *didn’t* moo.

    I think that the link between meat-eating and American masculinity is too strong to be overcome. But that’s just my half-assed hypothesis.

  48. Mandos

    I dunno. It’s not just that they don’t replicate them exactly, but every meat-substitute I have ever eaten is still (to me) far off from the *various* qualities of meat that I’ve eaten. Some of the meat substitutes are *good*, in that they are their own genre but they usually still can’t be used in anything close to the contexts that meat can be used, at least in my experience.

    So yeah, meat flavour may have changed, but I don’t think it’s changed all that much as people say.

  49. Mandalay

    I took Cass’ statement as irony too. The point that I was trying to make–and obviously failed miserably in doing so, heh heh–is that geese are not the friendliest of creatures. In fact, they can be mean little bastards. Does that mean that every goose should offer their liver as retribution for my childhood trauma? No–but they don’t get any bread from me when I’m walking through the park, no sir.

  50. mustelid

    “…nothing that a porn actress doesn’t go through…” I’m having nightmarish images of the farmer slipping a little ‘sausage’ into the mix when the job gets too boring. My apologies for making this topic even more disgusting.

  51. Twisty

    “Error: you do not drink Chianti with foie gras (or foie de canard). You drink Sauterne or a similar slightly sweet white wine.”

    You ever seen that movie, “The Silence of the Geese”?

  52. Jezebella

    no foie.
    no veal.
    no.

    I won’t eat it if I’m not willing to kill it myself. This amounts to a vegetarian diet with occasional lapses into fish & oysters.

    I think all meat eaters should abstain until they’ve killed & butchered at least one animal they’ve raised from birth (or hatching) so they know – they KNOW – what kind of death is giving them pleasure. If you can live with it, it’s your karma, your colon; do with it what you wish. But if you can’t stomach it, I believe that you don’t have the right to eat it.

    [So sayeth the Book of Jezebella, Chapter Four: Your Karma, Your Colon]

    For this reason I actually have more respect for a hunter who goes out and kills his venison than I do for meat eaters who buy their goose livers or burgers or pork chops wrapped in styrofoam and plastic, or plated & sauced, presented in pretty little portions. I’ve seen dedicated omnivores squeal and gurgle in disgust at a barbecue featuring a whole roast pig, apple in mouth and all, because, ewwww, it’s a WHOLE PIG. These are people who would gladly pile face-down into a plate of ribs or pulled pork, but make the pig visible, and they’re all a-twitter. I call that hypocrisy.

  53. maggiethewolf

    I only understand about half of every other post, but the fourth that I do understand, I enjoy.

  54. Chris Clarke

    Maybe one day in the future, biochemical engineering would have reached such a height that we would have brainless vat-grown meat of any variety,

    You are aware of the existence of Little Green Footballs, are you not?

  55. octopod

    Jezebella: Rock. I thought I was the only one with that particular ethical criterion for food. I’m holding on for the vat-grown meat as well.

  56. Mandos

    Chris: Too flaky, needs more work.

  57. KTal

    So lemme see, they hold a small fowl captive, force feed it, bake it and then place it in their mouth whole, enjoying the fats melting down their throat whilst grinding its tiny bones to bits. Or they hire persons to capture geese and force feed them till a certain organ ruptures and I assume the geese dies in vain for their suffering, then such is taken, cooked and served as a gourmand delight.

    The torture and manual labor involved in such a delicate and timed torture no doubt adds to the appeal of the above. Seems to me that the perfect imperialist would find great appeal in the production of such culinary pleasures. In fact, would not the suffering of the animals themselves contribute to the fine taste?

    Does not the quantity of lives sacrificed and the quality of their suffering in doing so, add value to the life of the imperialist?

    To enjoy the fat of the liver from the suffering, pained goose seems mandatory for those who also enjoy diamonds from the backs of South African miners, clean floors and laundry from the backs of peasants. Concubines, captive by their class, stand waiting for the order to yeild to the goose grease smeared lips of the imperialist whore.

    Oil from dying, starved, burnt Nigerians to fatten wallets? Life from geese to fatten liver to ingratiate palette? Profits from clothing sewn by eight years olds, even the veil to hide their gluttony? Small song birds crushed by mandibles that utter words the ‘public’ should not hear or know of?

    It all seems to fit perfectly well to me. I’d find it quite fitting if the Bush White House serves fois de gras to their diplomatic guests. Or veiled and indulging the hapless Ortolan while women simoutaneously, the country and world over fight the suction of the patriarch’s hungry, bloody mouth and nashing teeth.

  58. robin

    Twisty,

    when are you going to put up the new banner here? I know that perambulation and restaurants and whatnot have kept you busy, and goodness knows there has been a ton of blame-needing fodder flowing to your inbox, but there will be a new banner someday, right?

  59. KTal

    To salvage any respect anyone might have for me today that may have withered after their reading of above; such was written in an excited flurry and not well edited. Please accept my apologies for any errant spellings or misappropriated grammar.

    I humbly beseech thee to see my point and please not count up the errors as points and score them against any points one might find understandable.

    Thank you.

  60. KTal

    As for the person who leaves begging geese unfed in the park, I’d think after her past experience, keeping a distance from any geese seems sound judgement.

    If only this were taught to young girls. That is, when a dog or goose bites your leg, you don’t turn around and offer not only the leg, but the arm too. And you certainly should not expect that such a lucrative offer (in the mind of the predator) might stimulate them to not wish for the other leg and arm.

  61. Ron Sullivan

    Strictly speaking, the goose isn’t a predator — most likely the dog isn’t either, but who knows, with all those weird-ass doggie diets they feed them these days. Attacking isn’t the same as dining, except to the helpless carrot on the basal side of it.

    Just nitpickin’, and come to think of it that’s killing innocent louse babies too.,

    Worst, or anyway weirdest goose-attack story (outside of classical Rome) I’ve heard was from a classmate of mine. She was home in New Jersey for the summer. She took a shower in the morning and borrowed (dad’s? brother’s?) lime-scented shaving cream to shave her legs. Then she put on shorts and a top and walked through the park on her way somewhere.

    One of the geese from the familiar park flock evidently had either a strong distaste or a serious yen for lime-flavored legs. It rushed up to her and bit the bejeezus out of her legs — she fled screaming and bleeding, and had bruises for weeks.

    I can spot several possible morals to this story, but frankly it’s the idea of lime shaving cream that I find most repellent.

  62. Ron Sullivan

    Oh — kathy a’s right, way up there in the early comments; the babystuffing I did was in a neonatal ICU and it was done to babies who, for one reason or another, didn’t suck, or suck hard enough. (Dunno about the hero stuff. My hat’s off to people who do it for longer than I managed to.) Really, honest, they don’t mind it as much as you might think. Distract them or give them a pacifier, and I’d get nothing more than a surprised look.

    (musing) Oddest part was checking to be sure I hadn’t put the skinny little tube down the kid’s esophagus, which would of course result in drowning kid in formula/breast milk/whatever. The deal was to put my steth over the kid’s stomach and shoot a couple cc’s of air into the tube from the feeding syringe and listen for the reverse burp.

    Cuisine is weird, but medicine is weirder.

    My own take on Bourdain is similar to langsuyar’s, just for the record. I still haven’t forgiven him for that poor cobra, though.

  63. jodie a.c.

    I’m sorry, this is completely off topic, but the truth needs to be shared. Alas, A Blog, is not as pro feminist is it seems. Pass it on.

    Links are from Women’s Space/The Margins

    Link 1

    Link 2

  64. darkymac

    Twisty said:
    You ever seen that movie, “The Silence of the Geese”?
    No, but I’m sure my liver would’ve been a good foie gras substitute after some of the meals I’ve indulged in.

    Jezebella said:
    I think all meat eaters should abstain until they’ve killed & butchered at least one animal they’ve raised from birth (or hatching) so they know – they KNOW – what kind of death is giving them pleasure.
    and they can also learn what kind of pain it has given those who are doing the slaughtering; I keep geese for all their great qualities, not least being their memory and bravery, and cull for the table and for a bit of extra seasonal income from seekers of ethical meat. All my birds get the knife from me and me alone.
    I invite friends to share Christmas dinner with me and you’d think there’d be a few takers because I’m acknowledged to be capable of preparing a good table. No takers.
    I think my solitary celebrations for the last decade have been because I invite people for Christmas on the condition that they either kill the goose they are going to eat or that they raise it to best quality by providing full supervised grazing and protection from predators – not hard to do in a suburban back yard.

    Ron, Nice twist, and I agree that lime soap/cream is on the same vomit scale as apple shampoo. But I bet that goose wasn’t lime averse/addicted. It just attacked along the optimal attack-vector for a metre-high bird and where it got lucky with a good bit of skin to fasten on to for the cripple-twist. A leg is just acres of target for a goose.
    Swap you for my favourite When Ganders Attack scene:
    The lads are out strolling down my road in their morning suits after a boozy wedding – they have their singing cackled at by my flock – they make the big mistake of calling ganders louder names back and throwing beer cans at them. Resulting picture: 5 flapping penguins getting chased down the lane by 2 wound-up ganders. Hand-on-heart true story.

    Tip for anyone coping with a charging gander: don’t duck and don’t flee. Face them and stand with your arms out as if you are a bird drying your wings and if this doesn’t call a stand-off, then simply hold the bird’s head off you and down near the ground. They calm down remarkably quickly if held still. Don’t raise your voice, preferably don’t speak at all. Any yelling or flapping or striking from you will wind the gander up to further display of power.
    All your backing-away and backing-down skills should be exercised. A soft anser answer turneth away wrath.

    Steve Irwin would have been shite handling geese.

  65. darkymac

    KMTBERRY, nothing in that account rings true. The time, the nationalities, the torture is far too specific for even a chef to control.

  66. langsuyar

    Jezebella, “Your Karma, Your Colon” is pretty much where I stand, too. Surprising how this still makes me a target for those “you’ll pry my meat out of my cold, dead fingers” crowds. Its like people think they have a god given right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and government subsidized cheap meat.

    When I ate meat I always though veal tasted kinda like a loose, watery version of a steak. Nothing special flavour-wise, just tender… Which is why I think in the case of veal it is the torture that makes it worthwhile for the consumer and not any objective qualities of taste. My opinion though, but it should be noted I’m not meat flavour averse so that statement doesn’t reflect a bias to be blamed for my vegetarianism. Unlike some who say, “well I never liked meat anyway so it wasn’t a big change,” I was a real big honkin’ southern fried carnivore. Frightening to think of today.

    To agree with KTal’s sort of weird-in-a-good-way rant, your thought may be kind of far out there, but I think you are really on to something. Know of any authors on a similar vein? Bourdain’s comment (to get back on topic) is hugely illustrative of what you are saying.

  67. grrr kitty

    Yes, geese can be mean boogers. My right arm was half swallowed by a hissing gander when I was a wee one. But it’s only arrogance that makes humans think they’re somehow worthier than other creatures.

    See, I just proceed from the assumption that human nature is depraved. Sadly, I’m rarely disappoited.

  68. Cass

    I’d probably have a hard time killing an oyster, but on the level of ethics I’m less bothered by the killing of animals than by the suffering involved. Everything dies, but to spend your whole existence morbidly obese, and imprisoned in a cage not big enough to turn around in is too horrible to bear much thinking upon.

  69. saltyC

    In practice, I am just like Jezebella: If I would feel sorry for it I don’t eat it. But I’m not sure about the kill-what-you-eat-or-you’re-a-hypocrite ethic. Isn’t it too easy to simply not empathize with too many things? What about trying to expand what you sympathize with?
    It’s easier to convert a well-meaning hypocrite than someone who knows the facts and is happy with them. Cognitive dissonance leads to change more than comfort does.

  70. saltyC

    To illustrate an example of hypocrisy: consider Coltan, a mineral necessary for cell phones, is funding the war in Congo and also destroying its environment. If I said “yes thousands of dead children are worth my being able to talk to anyone anytime”, would that mean I’m not a hypocrite? I do care, so I am a hypocrite. Maybe I’ll ditch my cell phone, in fact I’m seriously considering it.

    I guess someone like Bourdain would use such an example to say “see, we’re all hypocrites, therefore don’t worry about anything”. That is nihilism, and will lead to very bad things.

    I use such an example to remind myself I also feed in the trough of shame.

    http://www.wrm.org.uy/bulletin/69/Congo.html

  71. Mandos

    Unfortunately tantalum (the part of coltan they want) is not just in cell phones but in most electronics as it’s a popular material for capacitors. It doesn’t only come from the Congo, but some of it does.

  72. Delphyne

    “I’m sorry, this is completely off topic, but the truth needs to be shared. Alas, A Blog, is not as pro feminist is it seems. Pass it on.”

    Yup, porn links on his blog. Imagine a man linking to porn in order to make some cash. What will these blighters think of next?

  73. Sara

    I know, I know. It’s been said before. But I really wish DarkyMac had a blog, too.

    As for the foie gras thing –

    You know, no one on this planet loves food more than I do, and no one loves fatty food that is likely to kill her more than I do, and surely no one loves foie gras more than I used to. But the thing is, while in France I learned all about the gavagerie, and at that point I stopped eating it. And you know what? That was well over 20 years ago, and I have never ever missed it. Not even a little. I can’t even remember, really, what it tastes like. Same with lobster and crab, which I stopped eating after I learned that most people boil them alive.

    I’m not sure how people got into boiling those sea critters alive. I speculate that fear might have had something to do with it. The average hungry person might be daunted by those claws and those alien, buggy looks, and really not have a good idea how to kill something like that. Best, perhaps, to just throw it in the pot and hold down the lid and imagine that something so different from yourself in looks can’t really have feelings that matter. Then mythologize that rationalization into something about improved flavor, et voilà: a widespread inhumane cooking practice is born.

    For the rest, the gavaging and such, it pays to remember that for about 800 years, at least, of European history, most people were both starving and drunk most of the time, and the people who weren’t starving were still drunk. Most people drank homemade beer of some sort, not coffee, for breakfast for centuries. The water people used came from oft befouled sources and frequently carried all sorts of diseases resulting from iffy hygiene, and since there just weren’t juice bars in every village or plastic bottles of Evian with little red “sport” nipples to buy, people carried homemade wine in flasks. And the grain people ate grew hallucinogenic molds.

    You get wasted enough, maybe also run a constant fever for years, and anything seems reasonable. I think that’s how some of these foods came into being in the first place. Now why people have such a hard time detaching themselves from such practices when clean, sober and ostensibly rational is a whole other set of questions.

    What I really want to know is how anyone ever figured out how to prepare, serve and eat an artichoke, or why anyone ever thought to try. The stabbing! The stabbing! Aaaaaaa!

  74. Hawise

    As a medievalist and a cook (hobby more than anything}, I would like to add a few points. Foie gras is produced in any waterfowl that is fed an exclusively grain diet. It is not the force feeding that causes the liver change, it is an inappropriate diet rich in carbohydrates. The waterfowl LOVE grain the way that we love deep fat fried things. Feed us a diet that is basically indigestible and we get liver damage. The force feeding was introduced around the Napoleonic period to allow for commercial production and therefore greater taxable income in rural areas. This comes at about the same time as monoculture began taking over all farming practices, thereby reducing choice and variety in crops.
    Stop blaming the medievals for gross diet choices. In the countryside where they grew their own, they had a huge variety of food choices and they generally had a great diet. In cities, the options were fewer. Meat rich diets were necessary as meat is one of the few food choices that can walk to town on its own and then be fed up to weight on grain. We have solved this problem by building massive transit systems to truck, fly and train fresh food into our urban centers from monoculture farms worked by day labour. This system breaks down every once in a while and Torontonians get paralyzed drinking juice from California but hey, everything costs something.
    Final point, Bourdain is an idiot- brave about food but ignorant about people. I don’t buy his books or watch his shows, there are better cooks and food historians out there.

  75. Sara

    People — including Napoleon, I daresay — were still drunk all the time in the Napoleonic era, and hygiene was not markedly more spectacular than in previous centuries. Seriously, when we talk about the history of Europe, we are talking about 800 years at least of drunkenness and nasty germs. And widespread stinking poverty, lest we forget. Which is kind of how all those changes in farming practices started to look so appealing. Remember, starvation in France specifically was the number one factor to give rise to the Revolution, which gave rise to Napoleon.

    Oh, and some of the medievals had a richly varied diet, part of the year. Surely you must admit that it depended on where you were and when, whose house/land you lived in/on, in which country and in which century, even in which season. I can’t remember where I read this about fifteen years ago, it may even have been something I heard on NPR, but, for example, when corn was brought back from the New World, the peasants all got pellagra in parts of Italy because everything they grew went to the nobility who owned their land, or to market so they could also pay their rent, so they just got to eat the cheapest single grain available, which quickly became corn, which incidentally doesn’t offer a complete range of proteins all by itself, hence the deficiency. Wheat was for making bread and other lovely tidbits for wealthier people. Corn became the new peasant-chow.

    Not that this last bit has anything to do with foie gras, per se. I just feel it’s important to remember that people really weren’t better off four hundred years ago — or even two hundred. IMO, anyway. But I’m no medievalist, just a grateful gourmand derived mostly from starving peasant stock.

    (Sorry about all the bad sentence structure. Gotta dash.)

  76. octopod

    I’ve always been enormously amused by the “Everyone was tipsy all the time” theory of history. It does account for a few things. However, I wonder to what degree one can blame the more brutal food practices on the prevailing ideology of Europe during the time of their invention? This could just be me being a sanctimonious atheist vegetarian, but the approach to the world which most people have read out of the Bible seems conducive to doing whatever the hell you want to any animal, without regard to its feelings. Unlike many religions which mandate some sort of respect toward, if not all, at least a few sorts of nonhuman animals, the Abrahamic religions reserve their concern exclusively for humans. One might make the argument that the kid-in-mother’s-milk rule is some vestigial remnant of respect for the animals involved, but that sure isn’t remotely how it’s read nowadays. Just a thought.
    Yeah, meat’s tasty, but I feel a bit intellectually dishonest making someone else kill an animal for me to eat when I wouldn’t do it myself. I might, if I were starving and self-interest were taking over. But really I think I just don’t draw such a distinction between human and nonhuman as most of the carnivores who like to harangue vegetarians.
    This here is admittedly thread drift, but the thought of fatty liver brought it irresistibly to mind: My mother’s a surgeon. She sometimes treats patients who have given themselves fatty liver — in essence, force-fed themselves. I was utterly astonished when she told me this.

  77. orangemike

    Don’t blame the Abrahamic religions for this one. The known pre-Christian religions of Europe were all carnivorous, and by and large, no better about treatment of animals.

  78. Hawise

    Poor irrigation practices, bad land management, rapacious landlords, expensive shipping costs- medieval to modern, it is a matter of degree. We have our own food issues as widepread starvation in Third World nations is mostly tracked back to predatory practices in First World nations. Convince people that they can buy food cheaper than they can grow it, flood their countries with subsidized grain and they will stop growing their own food. Next step, condemn them for their traditional food practices and convince them to change to a ‘modern’ diet. Treat the food related ailments that develop by selling them nutritional supplements. Now that they have no money for tools to grow their own food, turn them into sweatshop labour to supply cheap goods to industrialized nations. Nature has its share in all food disasters but most of modern food tragedies are tracable to us.
    It is easy to play the vegetarian vs. omnivore vs. carnivore card but all food practices have a price, at home and abroad.

  79. alphabitch

    Ah yes, Camp Cuervo. I’ve been a counselor there for years. I keep saying I’ll never go back there again, but then I meet another one of the campers and the next thing I know I’m trying to teach some drunk chick how to overthrow the patriarchy.

    Nice new banner, by the way.

  80. Ron Sullivan

    But I bet that goose wasn’t lime averse/addicted.

    Darkymac, she blamed the shaving cream because she’d passed the same geese wearing the same shorts

    That’s too good a picture to edit; I’ll just leave it. Geese would wear lederhosen, nicht wahr?

    all summer and this was their first attack, and she was the only person out of many in the park who got goosed. She declined to run a scientific trial, and I can’t say I blame her. My theory, which is mine, is that the goose in question had just lost an argument and took it out on her. Or had lost a mate to a rival who smelled of limes and whose mother smelt of elderberries.

    Or maybe it was drunk or hallucinating from somethng it ate. I’ve long suspected domestic geese, at least, of being chronic lushes, and given how I’ve been seeing our locally burgeoning flocks of urban Canada geese carry on, I’m wondering about them too. Which reminds me: The sandhill cranes have arrived in the Sacramento Delta! Guess it’s winter.

  81. L2

    Perhaps the goose had just come from Camp Cuervo and needed that follow-up lime???

  82. robin

    I love the new banner! Very cool, and visually delightful. (many many thanks for not featuring the taco. )
    In addition to all your other talents, it looks like you have significant talent as a graphic designer/illustrator.
    That, or you chose someone with lots of talent to design it.
    Either way, Brava!

  83. Sarah Z

    I love the new banner too, and oddly enjoy typing in Courier, but I miss the taco (sorry robin). Could you mabye add a floating taco? Thanks.

  84. Cass

    I’m liking the banner too; you got yourself a varmint, and a resteraunt, which’ll give the first-time visitor a partial idea at least of what to expect. Just between you and me though… aren’t those skyscrapers a little phallic?

  85. Mar Iguana

    “I’m holding on for the vat-grown meat as well.” octopod

    This reminds me somehow of Soylent Green and is giving me Sol Roth moments.

  86. hkreader

    re: more humane lobster killing method

    According to this page, if you put them in the fridge for about 15 minutes before you plan to cook them, it cools them down and makes them sluggish.
    Then you take a big knife and split it down the middle, then boil.

    http://secretlifeoflobsters.com/blog/2005_12_18_archive.asp

    I haven’t cooked a lobster myself for a number of years, but next time I get the opportunity, I’ll try it.

  87. darkymac

    Ron:

    Geese would wear lederhosen, nicht wahr?

    But naturally, ma vieille; a very Alsatian sight – Strasbourg being the home of the foie gras, verstehen.

    The goose needs no reason to attack, indeed. He does it because he can.

    And your sand cranes – - are they as beautiful dancers as our brolgas? The crane is bird perfection in my eyes. They fly and walk powerfully, their bills – that most bird part of bird anatomy – are straight and balance their other long proportions. And they don’t pile on excess stage makeup – which would be de trop, given their other assets.

  88. FredVincy

    Truly revolting stuff, Twisty.

    In August I had a post about a different kind of rhetoric (the rhetoric of “choice”) being coopted by defenders of foie gras:

    http://thurgood.blogspot.com/2006_08_01_thurgood_archive.html#115625831592313283

  89. junegloom

    The real reason Bourdain can’t give up the foie gras: his addiction to ducky porn.

    Clearly, he has eroticized gavage feeding to the point that he can and must get his twice-a-day duck suck fix. My guess is that he has secret web cams posted in foie gras farms across the nation (okay, I’m exaggerating–I mean, how many could there be?), and he streams hard-core gavage sessions live to his computer screen.

    Clearly, it’s the only way this maniacal foodie can now manage to achieve sexual satisfaction. The eating of fatty duck livers is just a cover-up, people, don’t be fooled.

  90. the patriarch

    “This could just be me being a sanctimonious atheist vegetarian, but the approach to the world which most people have read out of the Bible seems conducive to doing whatever the hell you want to any animal, without regard to its feelings. Unlike many religions which mandate some sort of respect toward, if not all, at least a few sorts of nonhuman animals, the Abrahamic religions reserve their concern exclusively for humans.”

    I saw a doc on HBO some years ago about Asian food markets. I’m a carnivore, but holy shit, some of the practices shown shocked me. Skinning animals alive, still breathing animals on sale, etc. So I’d say cruelty in the production of meats cannot be pinned on just one religion, or a religion at all.

    As for foie gras, I’ve never eaten it, but if offered, I most likely would. The stockyards are far worse places to be an animal, so unless you are a vegetarian, as many commenters here seem to be, then you have no business objecting to foie gras. And as some others have pointed out, there are materials used in devices (electronics, etc.) that even vegetarians own that have a far greater toll. I suppose we have to choose our battles, so in the hierarchy of suffering, I choose humans first. It’s not easy, and I think that’s where the foie gras issue comes into play. It’s a relatively niche market, so just a few people can make a noticable impact, whereas the source of the VAST majority of our meat are massive corporations that would not be moved a few protests. Same goes with the electronics companies.

    Also, it’s fairly easy to boycott things you don’t use anyway. As someone else pointed out, not using a cell phone is a more significant act.

  91. the patriarch

    “still breathing animals on sale”

    Make that, “recently skinned, still breathing animals on sale.”

  92. Sara

    So, uh, Patriarch — You really think it’s okay to let a few people keep doing really horrible things just because lots more people are doing things that are just as bad and even worse?

    Really?

  93. the patriarch

    In the scheme of things, I don’t think force feeding geese is all that horrible, or rather, I don’t have the time nor energy to devote towards the issue when there are so many other issues I believe are more pressing. It’s fine that some people are protesting foie gras, I guess. I just think their energies are misguided in that they could be effecting far more animals by focusing their attention on the major stockyards and the companies that buy from them. Not the local franchisees, but the companies themselves. But as I said, foie gras is niche market and the effect one can have on such a small industry can be more immediate, noticable and therefore, more emotionally satisfying. And I repeat my stance that if you’re consuming meat purhcased from the supermarket or 99% of restaurants, then you have no business to complain about foie gras because it is, de facto, not as bad a practice as stockyards, nor as far-reaching.

    If you are a vegetarian, then that’s another issue. Lots of health and environmental benefits to that type of diet. Tried it for awhile, felt hungry all the time and lost weight, which as a very thin man, I can’t really afford to do. I was probably doing it wrong, but I just don’t have the will to give it another go. However, the animal welfare angle to the vegetarian lifestyle does not resonate with me. Treat animals as well as possible during life, and if they are to be eaten, give them a quick death. That’s my stance.

    As a meat eater, I don’t find the consumption of meat to be wrong. I’d prefer the meat processing industry to provide more humane environments for the animals and I try to buy my meat from producers who I’ve read do take those types of measures. But that’s where my attention to the subject ends. I’m just not as engaged with animal issues as I am with human ones and I only have so much time in the day.

  94. thebewilderness

    Patriarch said: And I repeat my stance that if you’re consuming meat purhcased from the supermarket or 99% of restaurants, then you have no business to complain about foie gras because it is, de facto, not as bad a practice as stockyards, nor as far-reaching.

    Everyone here knows that the “You’re not allowed to complain about this bad thing because that bad thing is worse and you aren’t complaining about it” argument is a steaming pile of excrement.
    With the exception of asshats and patriarchs, of course.

    Excuse me, I don’t mean to be rude, but who the fu#@% are you to dictate what people you don’t know from Adams house cat are or are not permitted to do? Seriously, where did you get the idea that that sort of judgemental excrement was something people would appreciate you sharing with them?

  95. Mar Iguana

    Patriarch (as if): “…lost weight, which as a very thin man, I can’t really afford to do.”

    Oddly, women can’t BE too thin.

    And:
    “I suppose we have to choose our battles, so in the hierarchy of suffering, I choose humans first.”

    Since we’re ranking, male humans come in dead last for me, even after possums, which I loathe. The way I figure it, stop making women and children and animals and plants and oceans and air and each other suffer, boys, and guess what? You boys will be hunky peachy.

  96. Mandos

    The Patriarch: Hello. I, for one, can hardly object to you calling yourself that, as long as you do not attempt to usurp my position as Supreme High Avatar of The Patriarchy.

    However, new posters, especially male posters, should read the blog and its comments for a good couple of weeks before jumping into the fray, because this blog has got a *very* specific blogular ecology.

  97. Sara

    Never fear, Mandos. No one could usurp your position.

    Besides, in spite of your self-proclaimed avatar-hood, I can’t recall any instance here when you declared — at length — that you simply didn’t have time to concern yourself with a given topic.

  98. saltyC

    Patriarch, I’m the one who brought up coltan in electronic devices, and your argument that therefore don’t worry about other stuff is exaclty the kind of nihilism I warned against. Or pile of excrememtent as thebewilderness says.

  99. thebewilderness

    I did not say excrememtent, but I truly wish I had. This deserves the best typo of the month award.

  100. saltyC

    you’re wemelcome.

    !!!yay the blame button’s back!!!

  101. the patriarch

    “I’m the one who brought up coltan in electronic devices, and your argument that therefore don’t worry about other stuff is exaclty the kind of nihilism I warned against.”

    I never said “don’t worry about it.” I said I find it odd and a bit hypocritical for a meat eater to be appalled at the source foie gras and not with the source of the meat they actually eat. And then I went on a bit about how that may be due to convenience and how it’s easy to be against something you don’t indulge in yourself.

    I also mentioned that it seems the majority of the commenters here are vegetarians, and so this doesn’t apply to you folks. Although I did throw something in there about cell phones and how it irks me that some people get upset to the point of action about the effects certain products have on animals, and not about the effects certain products have on faraway people. But I now realize the point of this thread was more on Bourdain’s comments linking foie gras and porn, so I’ll butt out.

  102. Linda

    There is a clear connection between sexism and animal cruelty. Two great books to read on this are “The Pornography of Meat,” and “The Sexual Politics of Meat,” by Carol J. Adams.
    Twisty, if you get a chance to read them, I’d love to read your take on them.

  103. thelmyc

    Sorry, but I’ve had foie gras. It isn’t that good. I think people just get off on how horrible it is to make it, and they imagine that “suffering makes beauty” or some such horseshit. Funny how tyhat only ever goes for women or animals, though, innit?

    Now, if you were to tell me that unpardonable suffering accompanied your average Thai tofu green curry, I might waver.

  104. Rene

    OK, so this is somewhat off topic, but it’s funny. It’s a description of the 1903 birth of James Beard by his biographer, Robert Clark: “…a fat, impudent baron of a baby, spoiled
    and incapable of countenancing or comprehending lean times. He was a baby fit for a nation poised for prosperity and plenty, a nation that could not only satisfy the appetites of every consumer but whose entire purpose was increasingly consumption and creation of new and better consumers.”

  105. Twisty

    Ha!

  106. Laughingrat

    Amazing to encounter this as I gradually work my way backwards through the mighty Spinster Aunt back catalogue. This very day some misguided person in our cooking forum posted, with a victorious flourish, a link to a recent Salon article that is meant to neatly encapsulate all the arguments in favor of foie gras. She said, “You can tell people this stuff when they start to hate on you for liking pate!” Oh mercy.

    Would you like to know what the “arguments” were in favor of this particular form of torture? They were A: We like the end result, so neener-neener-neener!, B: Force-feeding makes a luxury product even more delicious (see A), and C: Humans have been force-feeding fowl for this purpose for 5,000 years, and that makes it okay! Immediately my tiny rat brain drew the connection between this wank-stained “logic” and similar arguments made in favor of the oppression of women. Since the original poster is female, I therefore invited her to voluntarily give up her rights to vote, own property, or leave the house unaccompanied without being stoned to death, since patriarchal oppression of women has been going on a lot longer than a piddly-ass 5,000 years. Plus, misogynists find oppressed women *delicious*.

    She was not amused, but she also probably just didn’t get it.

  107. newdawnfades

    I think I have some questionable ethics, because after reading more proof of the patriarchy’s all too obvious view that Women are Animals, Animals Are Nothing, Let’s Hurt Them All, I would find it quite amusing to watch Anthony Bourdain force fed to detonation.

  1. GoodTofu » Blog Archive » foie gras and rights

    [...] Twisty’s been talking about Foie Gras, and seemingly might continue to do so for a short while. Personally, I like seeing people get involved in promoting the basic rights (yes, rights) that come with wearing skin. Not everyone uses the same language or holds the same viewpoint on the legal interpretations. But once someone states “humans shouldn’t do that / the animal deserves better” for a case of animal cruelty, the discussion is already close to recognizing their boundaries, and hence their rights. [...]

  2. So unladylike of me, I know. « A Bird’s Nest

    [...] Tirade! I resented this characterization. “You want a tirade?” I thought. “I could show you some real blog tirades, dammit.” But then I reconsidered, and decided that perhaps “tirade” wasn’t such a bad word after all. [...]

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