Archive for May 28th, 2007

Regarding taboos

As I was writing my previous blog post about my favorite foods, I was thinking how cool it would be to photographically document the whole Greek Easter Lamb experience the next time I am in Greece for Easter (I’ve missed it the last 10 years abroad). I would like to document how you find the right animal, how you kill it, how you remove its blood, how you remove its skin, how you season it & stuff it and how you roast it. My father knows how to do all that, and he is the de-facto cook of the family for the particular feast.

And then, I snapped out of it. There’s no big, fat disclaimer that I can put up there that will make it alright for me to publish images of how to kill an animal on an easily reachable page on the Internet (usually it’s a young goat or sheep). Most westerners are cool to buy parts of the animals at a grocery store, but from the moment someone shows HOW to prepare an alive animal for a feast from A-to-Z, suddenly they hit the wall with these (newly created) taboos of the Western World (instead, the Eastern World would salivate looking at the pictures). You see, up to 50-60 years ago, it would even be “ok” to show how to prepare an animal in USA and UK too. But after the WWII, things in the minds of people changed. Whatever was normal before, suddenly stopped being so. And whatever was wrong before (e.g. easily accessible pornography), now it’s normal. Heck, even the 60’s ultra-short skirts that women used to wear back then could invite a fine today for indecent exposure!

Taboos, ideas, ideals, all change through the years, so I would prefer if people were more open to other ideas instead of hitting the wall every so often. Open thinking is important.

For me, this food is associated with some of my best memories in life, the whole Greek Easter experience (the Easter for Greeks is more important than Christmas — Jesus came to Earth not to born but to die, you see). If I was to document the whole experience –no matter how cruel that might look to some animal lovers; I do love animals too btw– the truth is, I would do it because this is a tradition that’s fading away and I want to preserve it. And the Internet is a great way to preserve information and even teach things. Put yourselves in a situation of war or… surviving a plane crash in an island in the Pacific, where you have to hunt and kill in order to find food — 99.9% of the people today have no idea how to survive out there!

So, I need not any random reader to tell me that “graphically showing how to kill an animal is gruesome and cruel”. Because as he/she might feel insulted by the imagery, I would feel insulted in the exact same way for not being allowed to document an important part of the Greek Orthodox celebration that’s going on for centuries (no, I am not religious, but it IS tradition). Whatever might feel insensitive to some, it’s normal to others.