In the Footsteps of Ghosts
August 17, 2012
“All the wrong people remember Vietnam. I think all the people who remember it should forget it, and all the people who forgot it should remember it.” -Michael Herr
Cattle slaughter near Miles City, #Montana. A man displays his hands shortly after making a cut through the jugular vein of a dead cow hoisted and suspended from the ceiling by its hind legs. The cut bleeds the carcass of #blood which flows into a drain in the floor before it is then skinned, gutted, halved, chilled, and aged. Although the visceral nature of the act is visually obvious, the #slaughtering process is incredibly quiet, efficient, and humane. Animals are loaded into a chute and momentarily isolated in a kill box where they are almost immediately shot once in the head. The deconstruction of the animal into its increasingly smaller constituent parts represents a shifting word-set that corresponds to our comfort with the process. The animal begins as a whole #cow. Once it is slaughtered, it is drained of its blood, separated from its head, skinned, and gutted. During this stage it becomes a #carcass. The carcass is then split in two down the middle of the spine where it becomes #beef. The sides of beef are then segmented into their primal cuts which are further broken down into the #steaks and roasts which are then cooked and transformed into the most normative word: #food.