Semen Cookbook and the Symptom of Political Correctness

I guess I will continue this month to talk about the meaning of life qua posthuman, that spans already over several categories, posted here and here. What I am going to talk about this time may bring either a “WTF!?” laughter or a lost lunch, or perhaps an erection and appetite gain, depending on your taste. As for myself, I had a shock when I came across this news this afternoon:

Natural Harvest - A Collection of Semen-Based Recipes

If you ever feel like eating cum.

Yes, this picture is the front cover of a real cookbook, which you can buy here. Be sure to read the comments.

So, what are we to think of future food ingredients? Meat grown in labs on one hand and freshly ejaculated semen on the other? Of course, pardon the bad taste and a seriously disgusting joke for most of us. But I asked the question to point to a more serious question; the fact we should address is a much more fundamental one.

The activity of eating, of course, does not happen only at the biological level of need — it works as well on the Symbolic order; we only need to recall animal sacrifice rituals and eating taboos for proof. So, the main question we should ask would be: how is this event possible at all? What are our coordinates of the Symbolic today, in regards to our notion of the self and the meal, that enable this transformation? Of course, beside taste, there is all the defense that semen contains a lot of protein, etc. But the taboo, the disgust, of course, lie in the fact that semen is is a product of a human being. Is eating it not a form of cannibalism, then? Of course, I am here not talking about the sexual context since people do it all the time in sex. But the fact of someone making an entire cookbook out of it proves that semen-eating has taken on a totally different discourse.

How does this shift happen? I think it has a lot to do with our image of the human today. Are we not, practically, with all the information saturation in the media, becoming more and more a being of tolerance and multiplicity rather than a being of flesh? Is it so wrong to eat something we produce ourselves, when we do it already all the time in sex? Is there an objective negative answer to this in the coordinates of our expected ethical stance today? The radical transformation of the state of science and political correctness, our disintegrating coordinates of nature and culture, are all crystallized into a symptom of perversion: the semen cookbook.

There are a couple of curious things to take note of. First, in the book, the entire notion of semen is already radically desexualized, made into a positive fact rather than an embarrassing secret. The injunction behind this is the same as the one driving all the porn-positive and sex-positive arguments: the imperative to make more mainstream a previously deviant idea. The second is how, in the comments, people relate this phenomenon to the “crisis” and the “love for nature”. This book is all the politically correct ideas crystallized into one — what could be a better political correctness than letting a group of energy-saving, nature-loving, sex-positive minorities have their say in the wider world?

Thus, the cookbook is not simply a disgusting artifact, a deviance of culture, a perverted idea of a bunch of sick people. It is rather the opposite: the semen-based recipe cookbook is our politically correct, nature-confused culture at its most elementary.

NOTE: via Digg, the submitter says, “WHAT THE F**K!! THAT’S F**KING DISGUSTING!!” — I say, “Isn’t that what they said about anal sex several years back?”

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5 Responses to “Semen Cookbook and the Symptom of Political Correctness”

  1. I take issue with the notion that this cook book desexualizes semen.

    Culturally speaking, with all the attention we have been bestowing on the development of gastronomical culture–the foodie movement, food programs becoming mainstream television, chef as celebrity, etc.–we have elevated food beyond survival, the same way we brought sex out as a pleasurable experience as opposed to merely a means of reproduction.

    Food today is no longer simply satisfying a reptilian necessity. It isn’t about nutrition–food is now about the pleasure in the marriage of flavors and textures, and there is something absolutely erotic in it.

    If you run with that in mind, it’s not hard to see how the consumption of something created could be incredibly erotic as well. Now add to that the element of semen, associated with the yang essence, the culmination of desire, and you have something that is more than a mere recipe.

    You have alchemy.

    I’ve bought a copy of the cook book, I’ll have you know. I fully intend to put it to use in further developing this discussion.

  2. Bonni Rambatan Says:

    Excellent response, AV, and that is precisely the obverse of my point: the book desexualizes eating cum as a transgressive sex act, and thus the act and can only return in its erotic form via the cookbook.

    So here goes: when I said “desexualized” what I had in mind was the nullification of transgression, of the deviance in the act. The whole concept of an entire cookbook made as a serious factual book to eroticize food in turn nullifies the notion of eating semen. It is erotic, yes, but also full of the notion of love, the very thing censored in today’s Western pornography context, which tend toward the gonzo. When semen becomes a cooking material, fully agreed by both parties, what is it but an act of love?

    In the older days, the true thrill of eating cum is located in the notion that it is in itself a very perverse act, something you are not supposed to do, a sin. We see today in a time of all the sexual openness, pornography has to continuously find new ways to depict sin and transgression — violence, incest, paraphilia…

    It’s two sides of the same coin. Eating is eroticized, yes. Eating cum is desexualized, becomes a normal sex act — talked about openly and loses its pleasurable sin dimension — and can only return as the eroticization of eating. The “YUCK!” (i.e. “this is new and thrilling!”) element can only return when it is depicted as an act of love qua “foodie movements”.

    In short, this book makes people say, “Eating cum in sex is OK, but a cum cookbook?!” I was talking about the first clause. You brought up the second.

  3. Many people don’t realize that semen has a long history of culinary use in many cultures around the world. Though it may be rare on Western plates today, traditional bull semen pudding is still made for special occasions in parts of Europe. This is but one example but both human and animal semen recipes still exist in many parts of the globe.

  4. Bonni Rambatan Says:

    Thanks for bringing this up, Sarah. Yes, I’ve heard about bull semen as an ingredient, going together with all the unusual recipes like hardened blood pudding, bull brain, etc, they make up among the strangest food ingredients we see today.

    It’s interesting to see how the European settlers look at food ingredients as a way to differentiate between the civilized and the barbaric — clearly, eating is one of the most ideological activities we engage in.

    I’m not so sure about human semen in indigenous recipes, though. Are there any traditions in that?

  5. Levi-Strauss has in original mss. for Raw and the Cooked extensive notes on semen as foodstuff – both bestial and human. Raw and also cooked. Also semenancy and similar practices. This was redacted by publisher but can be found referenced in several published dissertations.

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