Freudian Sips: The Last Days of Udder

23 10 2007

By Jill Ettinger

The story of milk has no beginning. It’s a timeless centerpiece to our existence, our first food. While we incubate inside our mothers, being fed through her umbilical, her body is also hard at work producing sustenance to support us upon our entry to the outside world. Breast milk builds our immune systems, feeds us high levels of protein, vitamins and minerals; as well it connects mother and child in a post-gestational bond critical for survival.

All mammals produce milk to support their fragile offspring: kittens, piglets, fawns, calves and human babies alike, all nurse until strong enough to chew. While humans demonstrate many obvious differences from our fur-covered relatives, one of the most striking peculiarities is our lifelong relationship with the teat, or more precisely: other animals’ teats. Perhaps the human addiction to mammalian excretions lies in our fear of death, creating a subconscious longing for the security of mother and her comforting nipple. This obsession has birthed a cattle dependency ad nauseam, mimicking the soothing liquid of our infancy, deviating cow milk into “foods” like Cheez-Wiz and Pudding Pops.

Since our warm-blooded cousins, like us, produce milk for the nourishment of newborns, a female must be pregnant in order to begin lactation. As I type this, millions of cows are being impregnated (many times over), in order to keep squirting out the pre-homogenized Haagen Dazs flavor of the month, movie popcorn drizzle topping, pepperoni and sausage melted platform. The baby cows that are eventually born will themselves become milk machines, or in the uneventful gender destiny as male, imprisoned veal calves, steer if they’re lucky.

It has been speculated that every human on earth is essentially lactose intolerant. It’s an easy assumption, for it would be silly to suggest that humans are cows, or even slightly resemble them (aside from a few obvious heifers like Rush Limbaugh and that lady from the Jenny Craig commercials), yet Americans are completely doped up on cow goo. Drinking milk meant for baby bovine is not only creepy, but also potentially risky. Duh. What the heck are we doing guzzling this stuff? Think in this context: What would happen to a polar bear if it spent its whole life drinking elephant milk? Imagine a full-grown cow sipping giraffe milk. It’s entirely nonsensical, yet without a second thought, “modern” mothers opt to forego breast feeding at all, supplanting their essential nutrients with synthetic formula cow/soymilk cocktails.

To read full column on Reality Sandwich, click here.

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