17 February 2020

A Life Changing Hit From A Bong

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If you can watch the film Okja and still eat meat by the time the credits roll then as far as I'm concerned you're a fucking sociopath. I'd been considering vegetarianism for some time before seeing this movie but I'd been somewhat put off by the fact that I didn't like eating things that weren't meat and I fucking loved eating the things that were. If I were to order a pizza then when asked what toppings I'd like for it I'd ask for so much meat that it was almost easier for me to just sing “Old MacDonald Had A Farm” down the fucking phone. Of course, I felt guilty about it. To quote this film, “I'm an animal lover. Everybody knows that about me!” But my God they taste so good, don't they? It helps that we often give the food different names too I think. I'm not eating a cute little piggy but a delicious cooked sausage that I can imagine somebody must have plucked harmlessly from the sausage tree. I was going to say I'd like to imagine myself eating from the sausage bush but that just sounds as though I like a man with a lot of pubes and I'm desperate to suck his cock. Of course, I knew that sausages came from pigs but even the adverts on television made the animals look happy for me to eat them. Beef adverts make it seem as though the meat is a gift from the cows and I'd be hurting their poor little moo-moo feelings if I chose not to accept it. Look, I love giving gifts as much as the next person but if it involves me being shot in the head, hung from meat hooks, splayed open, and then shoved into a fucking burning hot oven then I might just get you a fucking gift voucher instead if you don't fucking mind. 

Not that I want to preach to you about the benefits of vegetarianism, (well I do but I don't want you to think I am), because the film Okja doesn't have that as its agenda. It depicts a world in which a super-pig has been bred by a company claiming that it will now be able to solve world hunger. Arguably if people all stopped having sex and creating more little humans that needed feeding then world hunger would ultimately go away too. I can certainly say that I've been doing my bit there to the point that I'm considering submitting a dick pic for the missing person section of a fucking milk carton. But at the end of the day, the general public just prefer to hear “we've made a super-pig” more than they do, “so there's to be no more pussy fucking okay?” Because there's nothing we love more than seeing a big fat slab of juicy meat and then stuffing it into ourselves until we're so God damn full that we just can't take any more. Ooooh God. Just thinking about it. I think I'm going to have to go and have a wank. As a marketing campaign, the company decided to give twenty-six of these super-pigs away to various farmers around the world to see which of them can raise the biggest one over the next ten years. The company thinks that people will worry that these animals have been genetically modified with the aim of this competition being to make the whole situation feel a bit more grounded and natural. I don't know why people won't eat genetically modified foods though. If it's safe then who gives a shit? Who can't eat what's on their plate unless it's infused with a lifetime of happy memories and a delicious fucking soul? Just grow me my fucking sausage tree you arseholes!

The film then cuts to a decade later and focuses on Okja, the biggest of these competition pigs and Mija, a young girl that's spent her life befriending and looking after her. They live an idealised and perfect life in the mountains where they run around and play with each other all day long. It's like a live-action Studio Ghibli movie in terms of how magical and loveable the whole thing is. I thought I'd had an alright childhood but as I watched this movie I began to get angry that my parents hadn't raised me in the mountains with a super-pig to play with. I was raised in a working-class town in which I once saw one of my friends take a shit under a slide. It doesn't quite have the same magic to it, does it? Spend your days playing with a fantasy animal or go to the park and watch a little girl squat down and push out a greasy turd? But being the end of those ten years the company then turn up to take their Okja back with Mija being pretty fucking mortified that her best friend is now about to be taken away from her. What follows is her adventure as she tries to track the pig down before it's chopped into pieces and served on a plate with chips and beans and maybe some mayo? Oh and with a chocolate fudge cake for pudding and garlic bread for a starter maybe? It'd probably go well with some crusty bread too now that I'm thinking about it. I bet Okja tastes absolutely fucking delicious. To misquote Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven though“It's a hell of a thing to kill a super-pig. You take away all it's got and all it's ever going to have”. But fucking hell I do miss the taste of meat. 

The start of this movie might be charming and sweet and the kind of thing that you'd show to a toddler when you need them to sit still because you're sick of having to parent them. But fuck me does Okja get dark. Like, really dark. Do you know that bit in The Temple Of Doom in which Indiana Jones watches a man quite literally have his heart ripped out? Well by the end of the movie I knew exactly how that man must have felt. By the third act, my face was doing that thing that therapists say is the sad picture on the chart that they show to psychopaths and I just couldn't stop fucking crying. I won't go into spoilers but for one reason or another we end up at the slaughterhouse and Jesus living fuck do they not hold back. Imagine Free Willy crossed with Hostel and that's sort of what this film becomes. The movie was directed by 2020's man of the moment Bong Joon-Ho who said that he went to an abattoir as research for the film and ended up being so traumatised by what he saw that he temporarily had to remove meat from his diet. I mean no shit? I think that if you go into a factory that specialises in the systematic slaughter of a sentient creature and you don't come out as a vegetarian then it's probably because you also came out with an erection and you're a fucking psychopath. Director Bong thought he'd be doing a disservice to the movie if the slaughterhouse section wasn't truly disturbing and so they end up invoking the imagery of the holocaust during these scenes as though we're now seeing the world through the eyes of fucking Morrissey. I don't know about you but at this point, I really can't think of anything more traumatic than being forced to see the world through the eyes of fucking Morrissey. If I thought I felt guilty about eating meat before I saw this film then Heaven knows I'm miserable now. 

If I'd known a movie was so overtly about the horrors of meat or had an agenda of trying to turn people vegetarian then there's a chance that I'd have saved myself the guilt and avoided it entirely. If I'd wanted to make myself feel bad then I could have just saved the two hours it took to watch this film by repeatedly slamming my bollocks in a fridge door instead. At the very least I'd have been able to cheer myself up with a ham sandwich afterwards. But you may have noticed that I said Bong Joon-Ho's trip to the slaughterhouse was only horrendous enough to put him off meat “temporarily”. He ate it before and he's eaten it since. If you've seen any of his other movies then it seems that he's less interested in telling us what to eat than he is in the evils of corporate greed. The main character Mija might love Okja but her favourite food is still chicken stew. The corporate goons of the movie played by Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal might be evil as fuck. Jake Gyllenhaal is particularly insane here giving an irate anime character-like performance that's so mad that even Chris Tucker's irritating Fifth Element character might suggest he considers toning it the fuck down. But even the animal activists are shown to be idiotic at times with one of them being so dedicated to their vegan cause that they simply refuse to eat at all. There really is no preachiness here in terms of what you should and shouldn't be putting in your mouth with Bong Joon-ho insisting that it's an individual's personal choice and that he simply wanted to witness and understand how our meat is being mass-produced. Ignoring the morality of the situation if you've ever had a meal from a van by the side of the road I really suggest that you have a think about where your meat is coming from. Because I swear that I once bought I kebab that was 90% old newspapers and 10% crushed bell-end. 

According to the director, the way we treat animals now in terms of this conveyer belt of death is a relatively new phenomenon and he simply wanted to remind us all that the animals we love as pets are the same as the ones that we love on our plates. That'll be why an extra effort has been made to have Okja seem as believable as fuck and I would honestly die for that loveable, kind-hearted, and innocent motherfucker. This cognitive dissonance between loving animals and eating them is what's kept the meat industry alive and it was one of the main things that I'd been struggling with. Some countries eat dogs which seems fucking crazy to me considering I have one as a pet. But I would have eaten a pig. Pigs are just as cute and just as smart as dogs and so how could I justify eating one whilst being repulsed by the idea of eating the other? The Great Gatsby author, F. Scott Fitzgerald once referred to the ability to hold two opposing ideas in the mind at the same time and whilst still retaining the ability to function as the test of a first-rate intelligence. To which I'd retort that although I might have failed that test in regards to what I eat the renowned murderer Ed Gein once said that, “When I see a pretty girl walking down the street, I think two things. One part wants to be real nice and sweet, and the other part wonders what her head would look like on a stick”. The same thing applies to animals. F. Scott Fitzgerald might think you're smart for finding animals cute whilst wondering what they'd look like on a sandwich but that's also essentially the same mindset that Ed Gein had and he used to make belts out of dead peoples fucking nipples. So I think I'll just stick to my fucking Quorn sausage if you don't mind. 

Okja wasn't the sole reason that I stopped eating meat but it was certainly one of the final straws in terms of what broke the camels back. I started the movie on the verge of having my guilt dictate my diet and I ended it having decided to give meat up for good. That might sound like hyperbole but I'm a single nerd with too much time on his hands. I note down the date that I watch films on a fucking spreadsheet and I can show you that I first watched Okja about a week before I last ate an animal with that now being about two and a bit years ago. Well. Two years, One month, one day and three hours but whose keeping track? I don't regret it though. Because as Okja confirmed to me no meat tastes so good that it can make living with the guilt feel worth it. There's a scene near the end of the film that involves a baby version of the super-pig, it's parents, and Okja, that will not make me well up when I think about it. This might be a fantasy movie but all of its logic can easily be applied to our real world. Sure you can tell me about how we've all evolved to have teeth that are designed for eating meat and that's proof of our right to do so but I'd counter that we've also evolved the ability to empathise and we no longer have to kill to survive. But I ate meat for 29 years and so I can't judge you for it, you fucking monster. You might also agree with me too but say to yourself that you don't have the will power to give meet up completely and that's also fine. However, in 2001 the UK experienced an outbreak of foot and mouth disease and as I'd watch the news and see all of the live-stock being burnt I'd be sad about all of the animals that had died. But I'd also imagine how delicious that massacre must have smelt and I'd fucking drool over it. If I can stop eating meat then you most definitely can too. Okja is a genuinely brilliant movie and oops, I guess I did want to preach to you about vegetarianism after all. Oh well. Thanks for reading and see you next time, motherfuckers. 

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