Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Beef Delusion

The picture above has been my desktop image in my place of work for the past year and I have to say that I find great peace of mind and a certain amount of solace when I gaze upon it.

However after much meditation, the profound nature of this seemingly innocuous photograph has become startlingly apparent. It is not just Coyote McCloud's questioning stare or Clara Peller's obvious and quite tangible realization that she does not have enough beef! Look at her pained expression; she was expecting a larger beef portion and someone did not deliver. I don't think the fault lies with Coyote as he seems to be sharing a similar moment of genuine surprise! Though on closer inspection, he appears to have less concern and even seems to have the beginnings of a smile dancing across his lips. What is he hiding?

Take a look at this:

Yes, at first look, the two pictures appear to have absolutely nothing in common.

For a start, it's a chicken that is placed before Jesus, not beef!

However it is well documented that Jesus abhorred chickens! In fact if you go right back to the old testament you will see that no chickens were invited to go two by two onto the Ark. Why? Because no chickens existed at that time. There is not a single mention of a chicken anywhere in the Five Books, not one in the entire Old Testament, although in fairness there is mention of winged fowl. [Genesis 1:21]

Perhaps God was still struggling with the creation of the first chicken and maybe we could even go so far as to speculate that he never did get the design quite right. Therefore aesthetically its existence in his eyes was a constant reminder of "failure"
The conjuring of an egg from their anus may have been a good idea on paper but later possibly viewed as a precursor to the future miracles that were yet to come and there may have been a decision on God's part to keep that kind of "miracle stuff" for Jesus. Either way their very existence still rankles with many Christians today.

So you have to ask yourself: Why then would Jesus have a chicken on his table...

The artist Caravaggio has captured the relevance and inherent visual metaphor of this biblical moment rather succinctly. The boy from Galilee is "chicken hating" plain and simple! Even disciple Paul is attempting to leave his seat in abject fear, having full knowledge of the wrath that JC could bring down on them for bringing such a dirty bird to the table.. (it may be worth noting: Judas was thought to have liked chickens...make of that what you will!)

And then we also have that hand gesture Of Jesus, that is strikingly similar in pose to the picture of the old lady above.

I would put forth, with some certainty that the chicken is only on the table to help drive home the fact that Jesus is actually questioning his disciples with:

"Where's the beef?"

In this one it is even more obvious. In fact it looks like everyone is saying:

"Where's the beef?"

And again:


"Where's the beef?"

As Clara and Coyote have beef and not chicken between their bun only helps to compound that fact! They are questioning "Is there room for the existence of the beef within the bread of reason?" In conclusion the question based on that rational takes on a much more profound meaning.

"Where's the beef?"

An age old question that is still in universal usage...

I feel this is something we should all be asking ourselves on a rather regular basis!

Of course later Jesus would use the term "What's your beef?" in speaking to Judas...but that's another story.


joe bloke said...

well, you've sold it to me.

Jonathan the Zombie said...

I love this post.

Love it.