The first in what will doubtless be a long series of editorials in The Korea Herald recently about boshintang. Boshintang is, of course, dog soup. During the Olympics in ’88, which was the last time most people were aware of Korea’s existence, there was the predictable flap about the cooking and eating of cute little doggies, and a larger one when a little digging revealed that the favored way for killing them doggies before boiling them up was to beat them to death, slowly, as this tenderizes the flesh and supposedly increases the libido-enhancing effect. The practice was officially outlawed, the restaurants hidden in back alleys, and Korea was officially no longer a dog-eatin’ haven. Crap, of course. Even a cursory glance around any neighbourhood, including mine, will reveal boshintang restaurants all over the damn place. And the smell, is, well, a bit icky.
I’ve got no problem with people eating dogs, if they want to. sh-t, I’ve done it.
The point of the editorial, mentioning that the World Cup committee has actually made some sort of official complaint about the practice (for unknown f–king reason they feel they have a right to comment on it), was that no one should be able to tell Koreans what they should and should not eat, and further, that it’s one or two particular breeds that are raised specifically for Good Eatin’. People around the world kill and consume some oddball stuff, and if you look too closely at our treatment in North America or Europe or elsewhere of ‘meat animals’, the picture is none to pleasant. The article did go on to say, though, that the pathetic belief that beating a dog to death is a good way to render it ready for the pot has got to stop, as has the childlike magical thinking that somehow dogmeat is going to make your little weiner stiffer.
Sadly, I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon.