Republican Veep Nominee Sarah Palin recently "pardoned" a turkey in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska. Trouble is, she did a little ol' media interview (have y'all noticed how suddenly "accessible" she is now that the campaign is over? Hmmmmmmmm...) afterward.
Well, Palin's interview really wasn't the trouble, now, was it? Trouble was that as she yammered on About This & About That, a worker bee started to feed live turkeys to some kind of processing machine, which looks like a wood chipper to us (see the Little Man over Palin's Left Shoulder?). The video is far too graphic for the Moderate Sensibilities of The Scholastic Scribe (we are a Family Blog, after all!), but you can see David Letterman's Top 10 List about the incident at The Chancellor's New Clothes. The Gruesome Details, as well as a video of the bloodbath, are also posted on The Web, at about 800 million bazillion sites.
This stark little ol' bit of Black Humor (which all you English Teacher Types out there know as a literary device, which has nothing to do with Ethnic Heritage) puts in mind the most-excellent non-fiction narrative, Fast Food Nation, which we teach as part of Our Humble High School's AP English Lang Curriculum.
Along with graphic details about slaughterhouses, meat-packing, fast-food beef (Ugh. Never Again!) and the industry's shunning of grass-fed cattle, are other tiny little tidbits about food additives, known as Natural Flavorings. Don't wanna gross y'all out, this being The Thanksgiving Season and all, but this particular passage has become quite popular with our Lang Cherubs. Beth, Class of '08, even has staged a few "dramatic readings" around this excerpt from pages 128-129 of the paperback edition:
~One of the most widely used color additives-whose presence is often hidden by the phrase "color added"-violates a number of religious dietary restrictions, may cause allergic reactions in susceptible people, and comes from an unusual source. Cochineal extract (also known as carmine or carminic acid) is made from the dessiccated bodies of female Dactlyopius coccus Costa, a small insect harvested mainly in Peru and the Canary Islands. The bug feeds on red cactus berries and color from the berries accumulates in the females and their unhatched larvae. The insects are collected, dried, and ground into pigment. It takes about 70,000 of them to produce one pound of carmine, which is used to make processed foods look pink, red, or purple. Dannon strawberry yogurt gets its color from carmine, as do many frozen fruit bars, candies, fruit fillings, and Ocean Spray pink-grapefruit juice drink.~
Happy Thanksgiving, Eric Schlosser!