The Truth About Meat
It’s all coming true. The dystopian prophecies of doom that typified cinema in the 70’s and 80’s are slowly coming to pass. Maybe I'm being paranoid, but it seems to me that zombies are walking our malls (shopping centres), modern gods mow down pedestrians for sport, and everyone’s banging meds so they can meet their quotas at work. And now this. Synthetic meat is to be grown in giant vats outside the superstructure; it’s the only way the population will be able to feed itself in forty years time.
The technical term for this stuff is In Vitro Meat. It’s laboratory-grown muscle fibre that tastes and smells like meat, but has never played any part in moving an animal around a field. Stem cells are cultured in giant petri dishes, the muscle fibre is pumped with chemicals, and then exercised to turn it into a tougher steak-like consistency; not entirely unlike the tragicomedy that unfolds each day down Fitness First.
It sounds very much like Charlton Heston’s ‘70’s nightmare Soylent Green, except there won’t be hoards of angry protestors rampaging through the streets demanding justice for being fed human slurry, because we don’t really do that sort of thing do we?
Anyway, pulsating hunks of brainless meat don’t sound very appealing, but they can’t possibly be any worse for us than the “real thing”.
Let’s be honest. When a grown man walks into a fried chicken bar and orders a 99p box of Popcorn Chicken Nibblets, he’s not asking for meat; he’s not really asking for food; he’s asking for The Final Solution. He’s saying “The only thing left for me to do is to kill myself slowly by eating hydrogenated fat with a blend of eleven herbs and spices from The Colonel’s secret recipe. And the fact that a small animal suffered for each and every second of its miserably short life in order to fill my stomach only adds to the poetic misery of it all.”
Come to think of it, The Colonel and his nuclear chickens could help us fit the last piece of the dystopian jigsaw puzzle into place. In Logan’s Run, the population is managed by encouraging people to kill themselves when they hit thirty. Scores of young adults, resplendent in flowing pastel tunics, file into an enormous mirrored carousel and wave flashing crystals above their heads before the lights go off and an invisible force vaporizes them all. It could be the same thing at designated KFC Suicide Zones, except people would be in grey tracksuits and waving chicken bones instead.
It must have been great going to the cinema as a teenager back in the 70’s, marveling at dystopias like The Omega Man and TX1138. The prophetic gloom was all very believable, but far enough in the future to breathe a sigh of relief when the credits rolled. The tragedy is that those same people are now in charge of planning and contingency and, even with the benefit of hindsight, they still haven’t got a clue how to sort it out.
Never mind, it’s us who’ll have the last laugh, as we spoon-feed them frankenmeat dinner in their cosy retirement homes. They’ll hobble, in-between courses, to the toilets and open their bowels down pipes that feed directly to the food processing plant next door.
"Oh you are lovely, coming to help me with my dinner, son."
"Eat up Dad, your chicken’s getting cold!"