Cluck cluck

for chicken fat, against leanness

Les Blank’s “Chicken Real”, 1970

Meet lean…

A once neutral, carnifectal adjective raised in ulterior times to overwhelming ideological category.

More protein, less calories. Main ingredient for the supposed development of healthy superhumans. Eat lean to get lean.

Slicing off the fatty bits. Reducing.

Shorthand for the entire superficialstructure of health, athleticism, sports, body image. A class status symbol hiding behind the false objectivity of nutritional science.

Speeding up.



An extended metaphor for business efficiency, but especially parasitic managerialism and rigorous austerity against the lowest strata of the working class. Explicitly invoked in connection with Japanese auto manufacturers and “just-in-time” delivery. The elimination of “muda” (waste) compared to excess fat.

“Lean in”. Misogyny. Double standards.

On the other plate…

Will called it chicken fat. Why ‘chicken fat’? In the historical survey, Mad Art, Mark Evanier writes, “Just what that means is a good question, but it probably means something ridiculous.”-Will Elder: The Mad Playboy of Art

Chicken fat is delicious, and also, a shorthand term coined by Will Elder for the obtrusive business and over-gagging present in classic screwball comics. Jewish working class flavouring.

Adding layers and layers.

Overcomplication, humor, confusion as a tactic. Sabotage or just plain uselessness. But in excess. Bad taste but delicious. Synaesthesia, puns verbal, visual, manic. Explosions.

Slowing down.


Peripheral mania.

Chicken fat is the stuff that oversaturates reality, transforms it, flavours it. The discarded cartooning concept that can be weaponized against the latest fads of capitalist culture.


For dirty bibs and fingerstains. It’s the engorged deliria of the Fourierist gourmand that will elevate us above the lame neutrality and purchased slimness of the one percent fatters.

There is an unconscious tendency to want to “trim down” which must be smothered in fat and drowned. Not against health, but for a real health, against faux-asceticism.

Tinker with what you’re supposed to leave alone. Avoid creative solutions. Resolve problems that have already been figured out. Get distracted by alleyways and stray cats and hat puns.

Add more. Fill in the blank spaces. Convolute, convulse.

From Anna Hoffman’s recording of Rubin Doctor’s “Chicken”, made available by Yiddish Penny Songs.


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