Saturday, April 08, 2006

Mad Cows

I don’t know what the fuss is about. Mad cow disease? Hmmph. This is news?

Fact: cows have been mad for a long time. Saying that Mad Cow Disease is news is like saying it snows in Winnipeg or it floods in North Dakota.

Ok. Cows get sick from eating the brains of other cows.


You can’t say stuff like this seriously.

This is like saying first year university students get sick from pulling all nighters with their first essay assignment on the history of hermeneutics.

Student in His Study
by Jan Davidsz de Heem, 1628.
It looks like he needs a little essay help from his friends!at

Oh, in case you were wondering, hermeneutics is a study practiced by people called Hermeneuts. Really.

Really, really, really.

It is definitely a word to avoid at 4:30 a.m. with a 8 a.m. deadline on a paper worth 40% of your mark, which you started at 1:30 a.m., is it.

What it is, though, is the study of how we create meaning.

Yeah, not old nobodaddy-meaning, all full of hair and judgement and fire and horse’s feet that don’t even touch the ground, that look like the pedestals of a queen anne chair, actually, if you must ask, but the new stuff. The real stuff.

The Meaning In Makeup

And the lyrics are:

(Eve sings:)

Every day is another face,
Every day is another fake across the street.
Every night is an alibi.
Every night is another lie in your eyes.
Is there a meaning in the makeup?
Is there a meaning in the makeup?

Adam: You mean you don’t know?

You just can’t afford to be doing too much of that at 4:30 a.m. now, can you.

Eve: Maybe you can’t afford to do it at all.

Right. For instance, the Greek God Hermes, a cattle boy, snake wrangler and trickster, had the sad job of interpreting the words of Zeus, God of the Gods, and passing them on to people.

An eagle, for instance, flies overhead with a snake in its beak, or it catches a blackbird, or (more likely, if you’ve ever watched birds) a bunch of blackbirds fly overhead and peck an eagle to Kingdom Come.

Eve: Gone. Kingdom Gone, Harold.

(Harold bows in deference and turns back to the audience.)

Right. (He shuffles papers. He coughs.)

The problem is that Hermes has to say that it means that George W. Bush is going to be a) victorious, b) horsewhipped, or c) none of the above.

In Iraq.

Adam (shouting from the back row): Hermes had wings on his sandals so he could get out of the way.

(Eve laughs out loud.)

(Harold smiles wanly.)


(Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.)

For his part, Zeus sometimes dressed up as a bull so young girls, maybe less than the statutory age of 14, could ride on his, ahem, back. (He waves papers in the air.) See?


Mad Cows Giving the Greek God Hermes the Once Over.

So, you see, sometimes the cows got just the teensiest bit mad.

Eve (applying her lipstick and blowing kisses in the mirror): Well, I guess.

God Blows His Whistle

Sigh. (Muttering from the penalty box.) Stuff like this used to be a game. Stuff like meaning, and all.

It used to be that you could laugh about stuff like this. It used to be that a guy could get half-naked and use the bull as a symbol of his masculinity and a symbol of wild sex at 1:00 a.m. and a geography lesson, too.

You know how Shakespeare said "The world’s a stage?" Yeah, well, it’s not. The whole world is bull.

Eve: Really?

Mad Cows Lowing in Chorus: Really, really, really.

Final Examination of Minoan Students
Studying to Be Federally Approved Meat Inspectors,
Geographers, and Literary Hermeneuts

Note the map of the Mediterranean on the bull’s flank.

This is definitely the root of the problem.


NAFTA free trade disputes, live or dead cattle crossing the Canadian/U.S. border, feedlot capacity, human infection, contamination of cattle feed, blah blah blah. Hey, that’s not the root of the problem. The root of the problem is that a guy can just get freaking tired of hermeneutics and tries to get real instead.

In other words, he tries poetry.

Reality Bites
Young poet running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

Eve: Looking at that picture, it’s hard to see why we started feeding brains to cows. It looks to me like we were just feeding them to the wrong end of the equation (blowing Adam a kiss).

Adam (leaning over her shoulder and smelling her hair as he whispers into her ear): Maybe what we need is just a little Mad Human Disease.


Oh, right. We got that already.


Egyptian Mummy as Poet in a Bound Sack
of Rhyme and Circumstance
Charing Cross Road, London

Hey, it’s a living.

Next week: Everything You Wanted to Know About Slaughterhouses*
*(but were afraid to ask)


Anonymous barlow said...

that shows precisely why
hermeneuts shouldn't bullfight


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