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Should Images of People Eating Chicken Be Banned from TV?

Should Images of People Eating Chicken Be Banned from TV?

There was a great travelogue, called Danziger’s Travels, published in the early ’90s about traveling the length of the old Silk Road. In the book Nick Danziger winds up in a small Persian town in the middle of the day and in the middle of the observance of Ramadan. Being a somewhat naïve westerner, Danziger, in an effort to quench his unrelenting thirst, buys a ripe melon and starts conspicuously eating it in the street. Little did he realize that one of the main tenants of Ramadan is the practice of fasting all day. Danziger was essentially flaunting his lack of faith in the most scandalous way, as hungry and outraged Iranians looked aghast. It was only later that he learned of his folly.

I was reminded of this little story this past week when I came upon a headline which read, “Facing Soaring Inflation from Sanctions, Iran Weighs TV Chicken-Eating Ban.

Seems that along with places like Greece, parts of Latin America and the West Indies, Iran is facing its own economic problems with soaring food prices. For instance, just a few weeks ago the price of a kilo of chicken was a mere $2. Now it is soaring upwards of $5. This is cause of great concern and has fueled a bit of class conflict between those who could afford the price increase and those who cannot. All of this has prompted a top Iranian official to propose a ban on images of people eating chicken on television, as a way to not excite the hungry masses, or drive them to violence. According to a report published by the French news agency Le Monde:

“… chicken has become the central symbol of the regime’s inability to provide affordable food, with many people venting their anger on social media websites. One Iranian Internet activist, Vahid online, sarcastically wrote: “This program may contain images of cooked chicken…”

This is one of those stories that is both greatly unfortunate and comically absurd. It is difficult to say whether a chicken image ban will actually be instituted, or the masses will rise up from too much chicken envy. Either way, it is an oddly dire, or odd and dire, situation.

What food images do you think should be stricken from the media? Do you think there are food images that we don’t see in western media that may provide a much-needed perspective that we are sadly lacking?

Why Are Global Food Prices Soaring?
Which Country Spends the Most on Food?
Global Food Consumption

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.


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1:35AM PDT on Jun 18, 2015

Thank you for sharing this article.
Blessings for you and all your loved ones.

11:42AM PDT on May 7, 2014

Because of the increase of oil and gas prices in Canada that took place just in time for the Easter holiday weekend (isn't it funny how gas hikes suddenly appear for long weekends, ?) and of course, the price of gas suddenly goes up. For the long Easter weekend, in some cases, the hike was up to six cents a litre for no apparent reason other than more people would be visiting friends and relatives.

There was no reason for the price hike except to pad the pockets of these oil companies, but as a result, the prices of all food is going up. Should we therefore ban all TV coverage of chicken, not to mention chick peas (has the word chicken in part) and then we can throw in all food because we now have to pay far more for food items. This might cause resentment, especially for the poor, seeing food that is now more expensive on the tube? Just wondering. Shall we all go Breatharian?

2:15AM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

Many economic problems in Iran are caused by governmental incompetence and partially by the international sanctions which affect the economy, pushing down the value of the currency which makes it more expensive to import feed.

.Chicken prices, for example, nearly tripled in a year as the cost of buying feed from abroad jumped."

The cost of importing other items has also increased but no one is going to ban the advertising of all consumer goods which have all increased in price. Banning the visibility of one won't solve the economic problems of Iran.

10:42PM PDT on Mar 26, 2013

Well said, D.D.! If someone goes to a restaurant and objects to watching ME eat chicken, then they don't have to watch. They can look the other way, but what about ME being exposed to somebody slurping their drink or eating with poor etiquette such as maybe a person who eats their veggies with their fingers, including peas or broccoli? What if I find that so gross, it makes me want to "barf"? What if somebody who puts too MUCH food in their mouth and then talks and their food slobbers out makes me sick? What do I do, complain to the wait person and have them call the FOOD COPS and issue them a ticket for eating poorly in public?

10:27PM PDT on Mar 26, 2013

How are they going to enforce it something like this???? I'm sure people eat chicken out in public, say restaurants perhaps. Are they going to issue tickets for eating chicken in public too? When does it end?

10:18PM PDT on Mar 26, 2013

Seems to me to be an indictment on the Iranian people if their government feels they can't be 'trusted' to behave sensibly in times of food shortage - and all because of US sanctions... and all supposedly because of Iran's nuclear policies... With my Vegan hat on, I decry the focus on eating meat, and would suggest that those producing television programs (in Iran) started focusing on showing its citizens how to create wonderful, nutritious meat-free meals (like those seen elsewhere on Care2). Then everyone (including the animals) are winners!

10:15PM PDT on Mar 26, 2013

Sorry, didn't notice when this article was first posted..........I scrolled down to read the comments Dale O is referring to and found one from Shan and sent her a Green Star for it, then noticed one where Dale "copied & pasted" part of another member's post............."Colleen P states that: "pure vegans don't rape, start wars, steal, kill, kidnap, abuse, bully and so on."..................actually, they do. Charles Manson supposedly is vegan.....okay, so he didn't PERSONALLY slit the throat of 6 people, he just had it done. Hitler wasn't vegan, but vegetarian.............he also didn't start WWII, did he? Wonder what Mussolini's eating habits were?

10:09PM PDT on Mar 26, 2013

this is going overboard. if you don't like meat don't watch it. all of us see things on tv we don't like. we live with it.

10:00PM PDT on Mar 26, 2013

News Flash, Mitchel D., there is a moderator here........his name is Eric. You aren't the Care2 "police", either, so where do you think you're getting off telling Dale O. she has "too many comments"? Oh, well........typical bullying from someone who has a different P.O.V. and finds it their only course of, insulting those who have a different opinion..........demand they don't voice theirs.

9:56PM PDT on Mar 26, 2013

I can't believe some of the comments I'm reading in here tonight!~ Elaine A. says, "Let's ban photo's of some people!".....I guess if she is referring to Care2 members who post photos of themselves, maybe we could start with hers, that is, if it is OF her? As for the topic, it's about the most asinine I've heard suggested in a long time, even for radical and extreme vegans. If one doesn't want to watch other people eating something, CHANGE THE CHANNEL, folks! How difficult can it be? Personally, I find the endless infommercials for sex toys on a dozen channels much more offensive, and I'm no "sexual prude", just don't think we need a dozen or more TV channels focusing on selling "paraphernalia". They often only list "PAID ADVERTISEMENT" on the program guide, so one has no clue what is being shown until they go to the channel, so if merely scrolling UP or DOWN, guess what shows up?

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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