Friday, June 28, 2013

Grass-fed butter

The latest manufactured food fad (this one seems especially creepy - I reached the reference to "bio-hacking" and decided that was enough information for me) involves adding butter to your morning coffee:
A mixture of unsalted grass-fed butter with his trademark Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee — a blend of low-toxin beans, which his site claims to be "cleaner" than Starbucks coffee. Grass-fed butter, according to [David Asprey, founder of Bulletproof Coffee], boosts health benefits, "optimizing" your cholesterol levels instead of worsening them. On his website, he claims that starting your day with the Bulletproof-Butter brew will "give you lots of energy and it will give your body healthy fats that it will use to make cell walls and hormones."

Additionally, Asprey praises the "boundless energy" and "focus" you will feel following a cup....
What's struck me about the "reports" on this marketing ploy have been the casual references to "grass-fed butter." Of course, I've heard of "grass-fed beef" and the like, but the fact that "beef" refers to the animals' flesh means some trace of them remains. This is the absent referent gone wild. Cows exploited for their breast milk are erased entirely.

I do think this use of language to make animals invisible, like the language that renders the millions of victims of a government's foreign policy invisible, is less a tool to distract people from the suffering to which they contribute than a means of psychological evasion that they actively embrace. This isn't to say people do so fully consciously, but it's not plausible that they really forget that butter can't be fed. The absent referent is always there in our consciousness, and that's why language that conceals it is appreciated.

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