South Park: Fun With Veal Essay

2570 words - 10 pages

My initial inspiration in becoming a vegetarian was simple: eating animals is not essential to living a healthy life and I would prefer to avoid engaging in a discordant relationship with nonhuman animals and the natural world. Theretofore, I had been an eager, indiscriminate consumer of nonhuman animals, often outfitted in leather footwear and annually swathed in my winter wool. Thenceforth, family anticipated and dreaded my finicky dietary demands and envisaged the emaciated shell of a once healthy son toiling over paltry tasks. Friends taunted me with kabobs and sushi. Others kept a close eye on my behavior lest I step on a bug or unwittingly ingest carnal victuals. While I was largely unperturbed by such petty adversity, I was perplexed by a former acquaintance’s zealous affront: “Eat your vegetables you faggot hippie!” Likewise, a fellow employee once jokingly remarked that my abstention from sharing part of a chicken with him rendered me a sissy. The revelation that not only did others find my vegetarianism amusing but indicative of my sexuality and subordinate masculinity was disquieting. The dominant culture’s feminization and concomitant derision of vegetarian men became all too clear to me upon viewing an episode of South Park at a friend’s behest.
In “Fun With Veal,” Trey Parker and Matt Stone portray Ms. Choksondik’s fourth grade class on a field trip to a “Concentrated Animal Production Operation.” Much to the children’s dismay, they discover that veal is slaughtered, anemic, “little, baby cows” (“Fun With Veal”). Provoked by compassion, Stan, Kyle, Butters, and Cartman decide to rescue the calves from immanent slaughter and provide refuge in Stan’s bedroom. The press soon gets wind of the boys’ audacity and the situation escalates into an excessively publicized standoff between the boys, police, and Rancher Bob. Despite the impetus behind the boys’ actions, all but Stan continue to eat fragmented animal bodies in the form of beef jerky. The result of Stan’s conversion to vegetarianism is the physical manifestation of the dominant culture’s feminization of meatless diets. He develops sores on his belly, then his face, and when in the hospital at the end of the episode the doctors inform his family that Stan “was in a very advanced state of ‘vaginitis’”: “It occurs when a person stops eating meat. Those ‘sores’ on his skin were actually small vaginas. If we hadn’t stopped it in time, Stan would’ve eventually become just one, great, big, giant pussy. […] We’ve got an IV of pure beef blood pumping into Stan’s veins and the sores are fading” (“Fun With Veal”). A recovering Stan replies: “Well I guess we learned something today. It’s wrong to eat veal because the animals are so horribly mistreated, but if you don’t eat meat at all you break out in vaginas” (“Fun With Veal”). While “Fun With Veal” emphasizes the incorrigibility of eating “little, tortured, baby cows” (“Fun With Veal”), the episode capitulates to an ethos...

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