Hello from Meatpaper
by Amy Standen and Sasha Wizansky
WHAT YOU HOLD IN YOUR HANDS is not the first-ever magazine
about meat. In fact, there are plenty of magazines about meat.
There’s Meat and Poultry Magazine and Meat
and Deli Retailer and Goat Rancher, some of which you may already have stacked
on your coffee table, though we suspect not. But while all
these magazines are about meat, Meatpaper is the only magazine
about the idea of meat — what we call the fleischgeist — defined
here, for the first time:
n. From the German, Fleisch “meat” +
Geist “spirit.” Spirit of the meat. From Zeitgeist, “spirit
of the times.”
Sure, you might get a whiff of the fleischgeist between the
pages of Goat Rancher, but it’s more likely you’ll
find it at a friend’s house over dinner, while taking
a spin through your neighborhood grocery store, waiting for
the bus, or in an art gallery. Fleischgeist refers to the growing
cultural trend of meat consciousness, a new curiosity about
not just what’s inside that hotdog, but how it got there,
and what it means to be eating it.
Sometimes, the fleischgeist has very little to do with food at all. It’s the Canadian
artist Jana Sterbak making a dress out of flank steak (p.7),
or the Plains Indians offering thanks to the White Buffalo
Calf Woman (p.37), or the Brazilian-American artist Vik Muniz’s
decision that a self-portrait in hamburger meat says something
about what it means to have a self (p.16). Meat is a metaphor — one
of the oldest — and it’s
everywhere, once you start looking for it.
Meatpaper is ambidextrous
on the subject of meat. We, the editors, do eat it, but have
a range of feelings about the subject. When we published Issue
Zero, our preview magazine, we noticed something interesting:
Half the people who pick up Meatpaper assume it’s some
kind of vegan hate letter addressed to their salami sandwich.
The other half wonder if we’re
subsidized by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
That’s how we know we’re on to something.
that once you start reading, this will all make a lot more
sense. Consider Meatpaper a window into the fleischgeist. We
have no agenda about what dietary choices you ought to make.
We’re here to ask questions and to collect stories and
images. We’re very happy you’ve joined us.
Welcome to the fleischgeist!
— Sasha Wizansky & Amy
This article originally appeared in
Meatpaper Issue One.