What Is So Gross About This Picture?

Categories: Doggy Bag
Mechanically Separated Chicken.jpg
This. This is the photo you've seen everywhere for the past week.

The Justin Bieber-Sarah Palin mashup can't touch it for popularity. It has a longer shelf life than the Rick Sanchez anti-semitic rant. Yes, it's the photo of mechanically separated chicken ― a bubblegum-pink rope of raw meat being extruded into a sloppy coil. MSC (doesn't it seem like it deserves its own acronym?) means everything but the cluck, ground finely and pressed through a sieve to make sure no bones make it through.

And Salon's Francis Lam wants to know just why you (and he) think it's so disgusting. After all, he writes:
...Eating the whole of an animal, "nose-to-tail dining," is a time-honored tradition born of necessity and, yes, respect for the animal that died for your dinner. Why waste anything? As one of my most meat-loving friends once said, "Look. Eating meat means eating gross stuff. You have to accept that if you're going to do it."
The meat in the picture, he continues, is just the "parts that you would gnaw on if you had a good whole roasted chicken sitting in front of you."

Lam concludes it's the symbolism behind the picture that gets him ― the factory processing, the recognition of thousands of animals being turned into a Play-Doh product to feed the masses. Personally, I'm reminded of Otto von Bismarck's famous quip, "Sausages are like laws: It's better not to see them being made." Er, something like that.

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