Saturday, July 24, 2004

Your Steak, Sir, As Shown on the Diagram Here

I'm sitting there eating this piece of meat, doing what we all do at this time, and wondering exactly what cow (or pig, or chicken, etc) did this come from? What did it look like, where did it live, and what did it think about George W Bush? I know that this piece of meat once came from a living animal, but somehow my brain just can't concretely grasp that. That brown shape there is just too abstracted from the notion of a particular living creature. If it'd been the olden days and I'd killed the animal and chopped it up myself, or seen this done, it might be more real. But by and large, pieces of meat are, to my brain, reddy or pinky coloured blobs that come in little styrofoam trays from the supermarket.

Not just what animal did it come from, but exactly where in said animal was this piece of meat located? I mean, I know that rump steak, for example, means meat from cows arse (and I'd like to see more people facing this reality when ordering meals and telling the waiter they'd like "the cows bottom in a delicate wine sauce infused with aromatic herbs"), but where exactly in the 3D object that was cow was this piece of meat located, and relative to the rest of the cow, which way was it oriented? I can imagine this cow grazing around in a paddock, going about its business, and the image is normal except that the cow is slightly translucent and I can see this red blob there inside it, that blob being the thing which in the cow's future is destined for my stomach.

Actually, I can't imagine that. I can imagine being able to imagine it, but I can't actually bring such a picture into my mind. So, I'm thinking, what if we could? It strikes me that you could use this idea as the basis for some simple little pictures or animations. Like a cartoony picture that juxtaposes a scene of a family at home eating their steaks, next to a scene of cows in a paddock, where you can see positions of all those steaks within each of their owner-cows. Oh -- and here's a real visual possibility -- you know what they say about meat pies? Oh, it's crude, but they say it's true: all lips and assholes. What about a picture of a meat pie next to pictures of the 30 or so (just how many cows is the average meat pie sourced from? I'd like to know) cows that contributed to it, highighting those parts doing the contributing?

1 comment:

  1. You might want to sit down for this one James: did you know paper comes from trees?

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