Analogue Cannibalism

June 25, 2021

A rooster contemplates a faux chicken nugget.

As I said in a previous post, I’ve always been both amused and a little appalled by what I call “sentient-prey anthropomorphism” – the concept of animals talking their way out of being consumed. We see this in everything from Bugs Bunny cartoons to the cows in the Chick-fil-A commercials urging us to “eat mor chikin.”

Now a startup analogue protein company is giving us packaging with a twist on that concept.

Simulate, which launched in 2019, puts out analogue chicken products called Nuggs and Discs. The company recently raised $50 million in a series B funding round.

What particularly interests me is the image on their packages, where a Nuggs nugget is being contemplated by a rooster:

I want to know exactly what is going on here. Is the person holding the nugget telling the rooster, “This could be you, if I weren’t so kindhearted”? Is he or she trying to get the rooster to eat the nugget? If he did, would that be cannibalism? Or analogue cannibalism?

Or is this some kind of incipient threat, directed at consumers – “buy this or the chicken gets it”?

Maybe all the ambiguity stems from the rooster’s expression, or lack thereof. If only he were smiling with relief, or sweating with fear – anything other than that blank stare. He’s just not a natural performer.

Anyone got a number for Foghorn Leghorn?

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