Meatpaper: Or, Eating Is Sometimes Complicated

Meatpaper: Or, Eating Is Sometimes Complicated

Dana Velden
Jun 9, 2008

While I'm not a strict vegetarian/vegan, I'm still a little surprised to find myself intrigued by a provocative magazine based in San Francisco called Meatpaper, "a print magazine of art and ideas about meat."

In their Letter from the Editors in Issue One, Sasha Wizansky & Amy Standen call themselves pursuers of fleischgeist...

Fleischgeist refers to the growing cultural trend of meat consciousness, a new curiosity about not just what's inside that hotdog, but how it got there, and what it means to be eating it.

Sometimes, the fleischgeist has very little to do with food at all. It's the Canadian artist Jana Sterbak making a dress out of flank steak, or the Plains Indians offering thanks to the White Buffalo Calf Woman, or the Brazilian-American artist Vik Muniz's decision that a self-portrait in hamburger meat says something about what it means to have a self. Meat is a metaphor — one of the oldest — and it's everywhere, once you start looking for it.

It's tricky territory sometimes, this imperative to feed ourselves. And it's no small luxury that we can even consider and debate what is acceptable or what is not. What I like about Meatpaper is that it looks at the issues around meat with an unflinching mater-of-factness. There really is no sentimentality here and while this may be difficult for some, I find it refreshing and trustworthy. No hidden agendas, no point of view to peer around.

While Meatpaper is not for everyone (and that's part of its appeal) its subject is as universal as it is polarizing. It's worth checking out, if only to gage your own reaction and learn a little something about yourself. Either way, you will come away craving a nice juicy pulled pork sandwich…or you most decidedly will not

(Image: Julio Duffoo)

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