"What's not to like? Custard? Good. Jam? Good. Meat? Gooooood." Joey Tribbiani, Friends
Lady Gaga's meat dress has the world up in arms. It's certainly gross, but not so shocking when you realize that it builds on an e-legacy of experimenting with meat. We think it's interesting and it gets us thinking about our relationship to food.
Some people are using a bit of code to literally drape a big slab of bacon over their monitors. For some time now baconmania has swept social media sites, forums, bulletin boards and blogs, spawning it's own subreddit, a baconcyclopedia, tattoos and humor.
Bacon commonly appears in comments, and many have taken to calling pigs simply "prebacon." Of course, it's also true that the bacon meme (note word coined by Richard Dawkins!) has possibly past its prime (especially for the 4chan set), being that Slate has said so, and it appeared in a Taco Bell commercial and has been discussed in the Old Gray Lady and in the LA Times (the latter is a great piece, btw).
At the same time, consumers are becoming increasingly aware about the rising obesity epidemic and the enormous impacts of factory farming, you know to raise all that prebacon. Remember too, it's not just crispy, aromatic bacon that is much beloved and e-celebrated: steaks, hamburgers and other meats are seeing a lot of cultural love, too (Whopper Virgins anyone?). Some guy lifts giant hunks of gyro flesh with his beard. Heck, a character from one of the coolest shows around is nothing more than a walking, talking, igloo-shape-shifting wad of meat. All this despite the fact that a recent 10-year study of 540,000+ people by the National Cancer Institute found that those who ate the most red meat boosted their overall risk of death by 30% (16% for processed meat consumers).
In one sense the LA Times has a point when they theorize that part of the reason for bacon's recent popularity is that pigs can be raised almost anywhere, thereby contributing to local foods and even slow food. In reality most of our meat comes form enormous factory farms, which have huge impacts in terms of resource inputs and manure and methane pollution. Plus, it's hard to see that most of the Internet denizens who scream Bacon! are really thinking about Alice Waters or Michael Pollan.
They crave bacon and red meat because they think it tastes delicious -- though it's possible that the recent fetishistic emphasis may lead some to consume more, and even to bash those who are trying to eat less of it for their health and the planet. In a hint of the possible culture war underlying the craze, consider a recent post on the humorous site Show Us Your Beef (currently down). Click on the sausage icon for "The Enemy" and get some anti-PETA (and spokesmodel Pamela Anderson) funnies, and this statement: "These people are Vegans. Find them. Mock them. They will not hit you. They do not have the strength. No beef. No strength. Force them to show us their beef."
More than one e-commenter has speculated that part of the reason why meat is so hot in Internet culture is because so many of us are fat, pasty, undersocialized beings who have little to look forward to beyond Battlestar Galactica and drowning our loneliness in pork products and sweets. I don't share this view.
Quick facts on why we should resist bacon's delightful sizzle and beef's hearty beefiness (or at least cut back some):
So, what is this meat fetish we speak of? Behold, some of the most horrific, fascinating meats of the Internets. To some, these are edible works of art, the epitome of a carnivorous culture. What do you think?
A fun site that invites users to submit your "deliciously gross food," This Is Why You're Fat is truly the place where "dreams become heart attacks." Don't forget to look for the "Elvis Donut." It's something to behold.
An obscure minor league baseball team called the West Michigan Whitecaps earned 15 minutes of e-fame when it recently unveiled a new stadium menu. Among typical ballpark fare is the 4489 Calorie "Fifth Third Burger." This 1.66 pound monstrosity, named after a bank, costs $20 and feeds 1-4 people (that's kind of a big range). If you finish it all by yourself you "win" a t-shirt.
Since Americans historically have liked big cars, big open spaces and big houses, it's probably inevitable that we like big burgers too. Really, really big burgers. Banned in Hollywood has a
great shocking gallery of humongous hunks of meat.
Nasty or new craze? A new bacon-flavored sandwich spread, Baconnaise, has taken the blogosphere by storm. "This makes me want to cry sweet bacony tears of joy," reported Because Emily Says So Blog. "You're right, everything should taste like bacon," said Ian B.
Practically a meme itself, the bacon bra has received widespread virtual circulation. It's not hard to see why. There is something horrifying about it, yet it's hard to look away. Combining meat and porn/sex is not a new idea (just ask Carol Adams).
As far as I can tell, this image originates with bkusler of Flickr, who wrote: "at some point after too many tequilas and my friend talking about how to get more men interested in her, someone said, 'wait, men love bacon and boobs, why not combine the two? That's a million dollar idea right there!'" Not dissimilar to that Taco Bell commercial
Looking a little like the decorating style of Buffalo Bill, the bacon lamp shade is one of many objects on the net made of pork. A number of commenters have asked if the meat cooks slowly with the heat of the bulb (although one person noted that a cool CFL probably wouldn't do the job).
Funny motivational photos ftw!
Meat Baby is one of the most horrible thing I've seen in months. Thanks a lot Daily Weird! Meat Baby is an accursed thing.
The Meatsicle is a humorous site that aggregates meat-related content. You'll find the web's most outrageous stuff there, as well as actual news articles about the foodstuff. Occasionally, posts about vegetarianism, animal welfare and factory farming even slip through among the gags and gross-outs.
WTF is that?
Craftzine had it right: meat house is "gross, interesting." Nothing more to see here.
Thanks to BBQ Addicts, the world has discovered the bacon explosion. The world is now obese and hooked up to a bacon iv, thanks a lot BBQ Addicts. They gave us step-by-step instructions to make this behemoth, complete with documenting photos. Judging by all the buzz and the trackbacks, it looks like it turned out to be a genius form of viral marketing.
Hats of Meat is an amazing place, where creativity (and horror) come alive. Behold meat cow-boy hat: "this American classic, made of the best marbleized cuts of beef available, assures that you wont just herd cattle, youll wear them. With this beauty, the cows are always on your mind." Or, the brisket yarmulke: "made of 100% kosher brisket, this one-size-fits-all 'beefy beanie' comes emblazoned with a horseradish Star of David."
The good folks at Bacon Today (yes you read their name right) bring us Turbaconducken, described as "a chicken stuffed in duck stuffed in a turkey, all wrapped in bacon. Otherwise known as a bacon-wrapped turducken." Apparently, it all started with a dream, and five pounds of bacon. There are detailed steps.
Also check out this cool gallery of "edible architecture."
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.