News Ian O'Doherty

Friday 30 September 2016

Now that was a tasty wabbit. And it made a good glove puppet

Published 20/06/2014 | 02:30

Jeanette Winterson's cat enjoys some of the rabbit. Photo: Twitter
Jeanette Winterson's cat enjoys some of the rabbit. Photo: Twitter
Pig's blood: Watain

One of the stranger fads of modern culture is how we have become obsessed with food – just look at all the cookery programmes, food porn supplements in newspapers, blogs dedicated to food, Twitter competitions about the best Sunday roast and, of course, we all know someone who insists on taking a photo of their dinner while they're in a restaurant.

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But as the interest in food as a recreational sport continues to grow, we have become terribly squeamish about where that food actually comes from. Sure, we may have four or five dedicated cooking channels, proving that viewers suffer from the TV equivalent of Prader Willi Syndrome, but the average person knows less about what they eat than their grandparents did.

Supermarkets and the obnoxious trend of meat being presented in such a way that it looks like shrink wrapped, pink bubblegum are undoubtedly a large factor, but as society becomes more urbanised and removed from the land, understanding of what we eat has slumped to levels of unforgivable ignorance.

Now the author and broadcaster Jeanette Winterson has fallen foul of the electronic lynch mob over her eating habits. For a woman with impeccable liberal credentials (openly gay, smart, something of an icon since the publication of her breakthrough novel, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit), she now faces her toughest critics – a bunch of mad and ignorant Twittards who are furious that she skinned and ate a rabbit which had been eating the parsley that was growing in her garden..

Having caught and dispatched the bunny, she then posted a picture of its skinned carcass with the message: "Rabbit ate my parsley. I am eating the rabbit. It would make a great glove puppet."

And for that, she must obviously be hung, drawn and quartered.

"Before I unfollow you, I just want you to know that you make me sick and I will never read another thing you wrote," exclaimed one furious fan who then added, for glorious measure, "RIP little rabbit."

This was quickly followed by the kind of hysterical, irrational outrage that seems to fuel social media these days and if you wanted a rather fascinating insight into how muddled people are when it comes to animals, another irate former reader fumed: "You and your cat have disappointed me. At least your cat has an excuse."

Thankfully, the author was not for turning, although one suspects that when she asked her readers if they only 'read vegetarian authors', the answer would probably have been resoundingly in the affirmative. Because these are the kind of drones who only read books, listen to music or watch movies made by those whose worldview they share – a policy that is perfectly acceptable once you don't mind never having to encounter a different opinion.

Winterson has form when it comes to talking sense about food and she was accused of snobbery a few years ago when she wrote that: "My family, who had no car, no phone, no inside loo, no bank account, no credit cards, slot meters for gas and electricity, and one winter coat, ate far better than today's so called working class."

The author, if not her faint hearted followers, knows that you can't tuck into any non-vegetarian meal without acknowledging that something died to end up on your plate. Of course, some who trace that journey from their plate back to the field are turned off animal flesh and that is understandable

But the hypocrisy of the meat eaters who were so quick to condemn her for posting 'gory' and 'sick' pictures of the rabbit is matched only by those Irish idiots who, in 2012, turned on Rachel Allen after she posed with a couple of pheasants following a shoot.

How many of those who condemned Allen back then, or who slam Winterson today, had a chicken sandwich for their lunch? And if it was a chicken sandwich bought from a local chain store, do they really think the contents of their lunch enjoyed a better life than the Winterson's rabbit or Allen's pheasants?

Still, there is one upside – I'd forgotten all about the bunny I have in my freezer.

Popcorn rabbit skewers done on the barbecue will make for a lovely snack during the football tomorrow tonight.

I might even go the full Winterson and put some pics up on Twitter.

Actually, on second thoughts, maybe not.


Pigs blood: Watain

Say what you like about death metal, the fans love it. Of course, the fact that the genre is only mentioned in the mainstream press when feuding musicians kill each other in new and extravagant ways may have something to do with its allure. But they don't make death metal fans like they used to.

When Swedish outfit Watain played in Brooklyn earlier this week, the singer hurled a skull full of pig's blood into the audience. As you do.

But far from revelling in the Satanic Majesty of rebelling against their daddy, some of the fans starting puking and, according to one report: "Some blood soaked fans burst into tears."


I would have thought that if you go to a Watain gig and don't get soaked in a load of pig's blood you'd want your money back.

Yes the market. That's what it is

Despite an initial print run in excess of a million, Hillary Clinton's latest tome, the typically self-aggrandisingly titled Hard Choices, has shifted fewer than 100,000 copies.

This is because, her publisher says: "The market has changed drastically."

Or, on the other hand, it might have something to do with the fact that her last book, Living History (Jesus, where does she come up with these titles?) managed to make even her husband's scandals seem as dull as Phil Neville reading from The Irish Times.

Ian O'Doherty

Irish Independent

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