Monday, February 23, 2009

Pig meat in the news...

The world of pork is more involved and profound than most of us suspect. It could shape the progress (if any) of peace in the Mideast, for example.

One of the oddities of Israeli politics is that Avigdor Lieberman’s far-right anti-Arab Yisrael Beitenu party is also a staunch upholder of secularism, since its primary source of support is immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who tend to be secular and many of whom like eating pork. And soon before the last election, the ultra-orthodox Shas party stepped up its anti-pork rhetoric. This, according to Jeffrey Yoskowitz, likely helped drive some secular voters away from Likud and toward Lieberman, in order to save their pork:
In lambasting the sausages and pork chops of Russian culture right before the election, Yosef aroused widespread fear among the Russian population of what Shas would do if it won enough votes to enter a governing coalition. “I wasn’t going to vote this year but now my husband says we have to vote for [Lieberman], otherwise [Shas] will shut us down,” Haaretz quoted one Russian shop-owner as saying. “It’s true we don’t sell pork here, but I’m from Russia and that might be enough [to close us.]” Lieberman himself credited Yosef for his bump in support, saying that of all the forces working in his favor, “No doubt, the rabbi deserves first prize.” [More]
Of course, this is only amusing to most of us on the surface. Fundamentalism of all sorts seems to endure very irrational results when embraced as a religious answer to political problems.

But extreme positions on pig flesh have another aspect as well.  One of my mentors and role models, Mike Nelson of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame, has pledged to eat only bacon for an entire month. 
I’ll get right to the good stuff: for the entire month of February, 2009, I, Michael J. Nelson will eat nothing but bacon. Nothing, my friends, but bacon.
Why? Because bacon is nature’s finest and most nourishing food. Also, because several doubters on the RiffTrax staff had the unmitigated gall to insult bacon by making the outrageous claim that, as good as it is, no one could eat very much of it and live. I can and will. Therefore I will spend the month proving it.
And I invite any and all of you to join me in my quest. If you do, I’ll certainly share your stories and blog posts.
Now for the fine print: “Bacon” shall hereafter refer to the cured and smoked fatty cuts of pork, either back, side or belly. In other words “American bacon”. No “Canadian bacon”, which is really just lunchmeat. No pork chops. No turkey bacon. No “tofacon” or any such horror. Just bacon.
No condiments allowed. No syrups, or hot sauces, or pureed vegetables in the form of ketchup. No sauces at all. Just nature’s finest bacon, all by its dignified self.
I am making allowances for the following beverages: beer, wine, martinis and water. No juices, no V8, nothing that could be construed as “healthy”. This is somewhat arbitrary, I grant you, but one bit of madness at a time, is my reasoning. [More]

It is small wonder many folks are convinced these are End Times.

Not a moment too soon, I say.

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