August 8th, 2006
Surprised? Shocked? Well, there’s a chance that some 25% of visitors to this blog would have been if I’d posted the uncensored photo of one of my favourite goats from the days when we kept a dairy herd here at the farm. So, why did I post this “naughty” photo here at Burning Silo? Read on….
Today’s post at the Dharma Bums jogged my rather short memory and reminded me that there was something I had intended to write about over the weekend. As almost every one of you has no doubt read by now, the photo of a nursing baby and accompanying breast on the cover of the August edition of “Baby Talk” — a freebie magazine distributed at doctors’ offices, maternity stores, etc — has sparked quite an uproar over the past few days. This morning, I did a search for [nursing-baby-magazine-cover] and came up with what looks to be thousands of links to articles, blog posts and discussion boards. Apparently, a happy baby nursing on a woman’s breast is a rather controversial image! Whoda thunk, eh? Well, I for one — based on an incident that goes back a few years to when we showed our dairy goats at agricultural fairs and exhibitions.
You see, it seems that dairy goat udders are a “naughty” thing that some people just can’t deal with. I discovered this for myself while showing our goats at an exhibition in a nearby city. After the show and before loading up our truck to return home, we always milked our goats so that they wouldn’t injure their udders enroute. Away from home, most exhibitors hand milk their goats as few have portable milking machines — so we would usually milk our goats up on the tailgate of our truck. Vistors to the fair would often stand around petting the goats and asking questions about how much milk they give a day, what we feed them, what the milk tastes like, etc… This part of the day was always quite enjoyable as it gave us a chance to talk to the public about dairy goats and helped to change some people’s perception of goats as stinky, rambunctious creatures (which they certainly aren’t). Most of the time, the interchange was very positive. However, a particular incident does stick in my mind to this day.
I was busy milking one of our goats up on the tailgate of the truck – it might even have been Tamarack — the goat in the above photo. A few people were standing around asking questions — probably the main question everyone seems to ask — “What are those little things dangling from the goat’s neck?” (Answer: Wattles). A little boy stood quietly watching while I filled the pail with milk. All of a sudden, a woman marched up and grabbed the little boy by his elbow, almost twisting his arm off as she practically dragged him off his feet, while shouting back at me in a nasty voice, “You should be ashamed of doing that in front of people!”
I was so shocked that it left me absolutely speechless, so I wasn’t able to reply before she tore off through the crowd. I looked around at everyone standing nearby and they looked as surprised as me. Doing what? What “naughty” thing had I been doing in front of a bunch of people who came to an agricultural fair to see livestock? Was it the sight of a large and very productive goat udder that freaked the woman out and sent her off her nut? Was it because I was hand-milking the goat in front of a crowd of interested people? That must have been it! The sight of a person removing milk from a goat in the “old traditional way” that farmers have been using for at least a few thousand years — well, it’s a *shocking sight* that nobody should ever be subjected to. Yes indeed, farmers are obviously perverse people who should do the dirty deed of milking their goats (and cows) out of the sight of the morally superior general public.
Sheesh – and here I’ve been thinking that people like this woman were just one in a million. Turns out that, according to what I’ve read over the past week concerning the nursing-baby-on-the-magazine-cover, it may be more like 25 percent. I guess that I just never ran into them before because they’re not the type to come to an agricultural fair to see naughty goats with productive udders. How it is that someone can regard a photo of a nursing baby as something “naughty” that shouldn’t be seen in public is totally beyond me — just like I can’t see how hand-milking a goat in front of a group of interested people is something dirty and perverse. The only explanation that I can come up with for why it is that these people see something “wrong” in either of the above “cases” is that they have somehow managed to “eroticize” the milk-producing body parts of a woman and a goat into something that they are ashamed to look upon. What other explanation could there be? Theories anyone? Don’t be shy… post whatever you think.
Well, no insect photos today. It’s a wonderfully comfortable morning after many days of heat and humidity. I’m hoping to get some work done around here and also spend some time shooting insect photos. For anyone who happens to want an update, the Monarch caterpillars are doing very well. I brought another 10 indoors last night, so there are now around 40 in the living room. It looks like another is getting ready to pupate, and there are three more that are probably getting close as well. Last night, while walking around the yard, I found a couple of sad cases of caterpillars that were close to pupating but had been killed by predatory insects. I’ll try to do a post on that subject sometime in the next few days. In the meantime, back outdoors!