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November 21, 2008


ok - to balance out the cuteness of the cat video, here is a weird and grotesque interview. This has nothing to do with the interview's subject, Sarah Palin, but rather what is happening in the background during the interview. You can even watch with the sound off if you like...but you have to wonder why the producer chose that angle :: click below for the vid ::

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Comments (32)

I'll concede that the choice of angle is weird. Ultimately, though, the fate of these particular turkeys is much less disturbing than the turkeys most of us Americans will eat next Thursday. The uproar over this video just confirms that most Americans really don't want to think about where their food comes from. They don't want to watch the Turkey have his head removed, but they've got no problem devouring it afterwords.

If you're going to enjoy the turkey on Thanksgiving you should at least have an appreciation of where it came from. If you're understandably disturbed by it, perhaps you should investigate an alternative diet.

My $0.02.

Posted by: Derek at November 21, 2008 4:33 PM

holy. god.

me=vegetarian now.

Posted by: madeline at November 21, 2008 4:47 PM

It's painful to watch a terrified creature with no concept of what's going on around it bleed out on camera. The turkeys are pretty gross too.


Thankyew, I'm here all weekend!

Posted by: Robert B. at November 21, 2008 5:49 PM

Obviously the guy in the background can't believe it either.

I must be the liberal media drawing subliminal metaphors, again.

Posted by: Jack Jennings at November 21, 2008 6:20 PM

Jose Maria!!

Posted by: Michael at November 21, 2008 6:20 PM

Wow! Bring back the kitten with the dachsund physique!

This is a good argument in favor of vegetarianism. That poor turkey put up quite a fight. And the bird in the background appeared to be struggling, too.

Posted by: Jeano at November 21, 2008 6:43 PM

I take it those Toms in the background aren't up for a pardon.

And levity? Weird word choice unless there was something else that happened prior to this interview.

dang...I'm supposed to be on SP hiatus for a year - got suckered in by your tag line!

Posted by: gypsy sister at November 21, 2008 8:08 PM

Rather like an omen...

Posted by: FatherLouis at November 21, 2008 8:24 PM

...is he butchering that turkey?

Posted by: Carly at November 21, 2008 8:46 PM

I couldn't help but laugh. It's pretty horrible for the turkey, but numero uno, now all ye watchers will know exactly what your meal went through before it ends up on the table. Numero dos, it makes awesome awkward table conversation on that day.

As I type, my dad is out in the middle of Nevada trapping, for kitties! :(
So they get to hang out with their legs normally broken and stuck in the trap, all because there is a market for them. Yeah, he still participated in that, I never would, but he kinda grew up doing that. He checks his traps.. Once a day I would think, but not 100% on that.

For those of you who thought house cats, lol. They are Bobcats and such.

Posted by: Brian at November 21, 2008 9:13 PM

It's a bit refreshing. The food we eat has quite a gruesome back story, and it's refreshing to see a candidate who understands and accepts where her food comes from.

The dissonance in the video is striking, but I challenge you to find a politician on the political stage who would be comfortable in a farm like that.

For the record, I never even considered voting for her.

Posted by: Chris at November 21, 2008 9:58 PM

I love the executioner's expression. I think he's just as confused as we are as to why he's in the shot. As for Mrs Palin, I can't imagine this would phase anyone who shoots animals from a helicopter.

Posted by: jesse at November 21, 2008 10:01 PM

Wow - is really that oblivious to the world around her. Makes you think, she was within striking distance of being second in command. Wow.

Posted by: BlakNyte at November 21, 2008 11:54 PM

An article I read said that she was made aware of what was going on but chose to continue in the same position anyway.

Mad props for her being weirder than I thought.

Posted by: Mac at November 22, 2008 1:05 AM

In fact, this is neither weird nor grotesque. It isn't weird because it is intentional - Palin clearly planned it as you can tell from her comment "Certainly, we'll probably invite criticism for even doing this too, but at least this was fun".

(From Ze: As if weird has anything to do with intentionality. What about a kitchen appliance nasal-sex fetish party? They mean it! You might as well remove the word from your vocabulary altogether)

Nor it is grotesque. Those birds are being slaughtered and exsanguinated humanely. The kicking you see is reflex action, they are already dead at that point. They suffer far less than if they were killed by a non-human predator. It is completely natural and normal -- if you don't believe me or the Governor, just ask the French, who have a long tradition of natural food and not isolating themselves from the source of their food.

(From Ze: As if grotesque has anything to do with a comparison to the natural world. A field of a thousand horses shot through the skull. All suffered less than being eviscerated by a coyote, but it is grotesque nonetheless. As for "normal"? Normal can be the most grotesque of all)

The truly weird thing is that we've grown into a society so isolated from nature that many of us find this weird.

(From Ze: I see what you are getting at, and I agree that we are too distant from the origins of our food. But this is definitely both weird and grotesque. The contortion of the man's body as he strains to watch the interview, those "reflex kicking actions" of dead birds, juxtaposed against an awkward smile. This is a piece of media, not life - remember that. We jump too quickly to the thing represented without being able to appreciate the medium)

Posted by: John in Michigan, USA at November 22, 2008 1:44 AM


Posted by: fopah at November 22, 2008 3:05 AM

Gah! I think I'll join my daughter and eat tofu turkey instead of the real thing this Thanksgiving after watching that video.

Posted by: Dona at November 22, 2008 8:18 AM

My Yin was quite all right without this Yang

Posted by: Curtis at November 22, 2008 8:21 AM

There are certainly two Americas; the manufactured one and the natural one.

For a politician I don't understand why she chose to stand in front of a bloody bath tub, is that what mavericks do?

This should make for some interesting conversation around the dinner table this TG.

To help heal my eyes and relieve the guilt I will purchase a free range kosher BD organic turkey slaughtered humanly and eat less.

Posted by: nader at November 22, 2008 1:42 PM

Mmm. Delicious turkey.

A possible argument against "grotesque" is that it's not a "natural" thing. It is the use of some technology that is likely very good at the job for which it was designed.

However, there is probably an "of nature" transitivity argument to be made about my use of nature -- suffice it to say, I mean in the "eviscerated by a coyote" sense.

Posted by: opello at November 22, 2008 8:58 PM

I feel bad for the people who didn't want to see this, and frankly it would really detract from the interview if you wanted to pay attention, but like the first commenter, I do think people should be reminded of where their food comes from once in a while. If you eat meat, something has to die, and somebody has to kill it. Now if it's killed in a humane way, and had a decent life, I don't see anything to feel bad about. But unfortunately most of our meat doesn't meet those criteria... Read The Ominvore's Dilemma! It is an eye opener in many ways.

As for the camera angle (hey, back on topic!), I do think it was chosen on purpose to make some sort of connection there. Was Sarah Palin set up to fail, maybe? Is she a turkey? What were they trying to say?

Posted by: steph at November 22, 2008 9:17 PM

The mise en scene here is too interesting.
Basically I think it has a lot to do with the former candidate. She was marketed as a real down home American with such ferocity on her campaign that it became impossible not to question if that meant anything at all, or if it meant anything good.
This is someone's idea of capitalizing on that image, if it's Palin it's got to be country, but it comes off ridiculously awkward as the butcher man keeps looking at her or the camera. The thing so off putting about it is how poorly it is staged by the news team, in this instance to no fault of Palin.

Posted by: Sarah at November 23, 2008 4:49 PM

I'm with John on this one. and anyone saying they'll go veg because of this a) is probably lying, or b) is pretty ignorant, if this video is surprising to them. "Whaaaat?! Turkey comes from...turkeys?" And this is pretty humane.
I get why it could be disturbing to some people. It might put me off a bit, too, if I were as close to it as SP is, but that's just because I haven't been exposed to much animal slaughter. In and of itself, it's not disturbing. We're omnivores. What's disturbing is that we're so distant from our food sources that we don't even think about the animals that are slaughtered for our meat, or the labour that goes into growing our grains and veg etc.
If anybody watching this is actually considering vegetarianism, I'm 100% behind you, but you could find better reasons. Think how much grain or vegetables could be grown for PEOPLE to eat on the land that is used to grow animal feed, or for grazing, and for the animals to actually live on. People are starving, and we're feeding our corn to pigs. We would get an incredible amount more food out of the same land if we cut out the middleman of the animal.
I have others, but even I'm getting tired of me by now.
Summary: Animals die. We eat them.

Posted by: Benny at November 23, 2008 5:58 PM

comment on comment: "exsanguinated humanely" = "bled in a way that makes some people think it's not so bad"

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

More Tofurkey!

Posted by: jeano at November 25, 2008 1:16 AM

I totally understand that the turkey has to get to the table somehow. They don't grow on stalks in a field. I live in the country where people are all out hunting this weekend, and it's not unlikely that I will pass at least one hunter skinning and gutting a deer hanging on a tree in his front yard. (This doesn't mean I'll ever be OK with that, either!)

What gets me about this video is ... who does that? Who gets interviewed in front of people slaughtering turkeys? I don't think she could be that oblivious. What is this really about?

Posted by: Rebecca at November 25, 2008 10:24 AM

If I were vegetarian, this would of course bother me greatly. However I expect that the people from which most of the brouhaha surrounding this video comes are not, they are simply Palin haters.

I, of course, could be wrong.

Posted by: SAHMmy at November 25, 2008 11:23 AM

I'm glad it doesn't move like that as I'm lowering it into my fryer. Plus I like that they take all the feathers off.

Posted by: DanT at November 25, 2008 4:49 PM

Yes, weird and grotesque, but it had to be planned by the producer. Could you do a better job of associating SP with blood and killing? If that is the purpose, it's brilliant. I have a feeling it will be his/her last interview with the governor.

Posted by: Ted at November 25, 2008 7:46 PM

Pretty obvious to me, the producer chose this shot to cast a appalling view of Governor Palin. Liberals will do anything to tear her down. Negative imagery is a powerful medium to create a sense of distaste or unwelcoming. And please don't go down the "media isn't biased" road, we all know the MSM was in the tank for Barry Soto.

(From Ze: The turkey conspiracy theory?)

Posted by: ANGRY CONSTITUTIONALIST at November 25, 2008 8:28 PM

"are you concerned about any state programs being on the chopping block?"
nice choice of words

Posted by: Adam Levy at December 3, 2008 3:14 AM

There is more to this video. In the fuller version she is actually asked something along the lines of "Are you sure you want to use this as the background for the interview", to which she replied with something like "Oh sure, no worries". Also, it was paired up with an event that happened just before the interview in front of the bucket o' death, in which she did the annual politicians thing and pardoned a turkey. So, in my opinion, the worst part of it all is the contrast of her making a big deal out of saving one turkey and then while trying to get some good media coverage out of that, does an interview while turkeys are being slaughtered in the back. Totally clueless.


Posted by: Travis at December 3, 2008 6:51 PM

Having been raised on a farm where I helped slaughter cows and pigs, hunted, dressed and ate squirrel, rabbit, duck and quail, and caught and cleaned bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish, I found the most interesting part of the video to be what she had to say. I guess "weird and grotesque" are relative.

Posted by: Danny at December 20, 2008 5:50 PM

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