Friday, October 23, 2009

Philosophy and the Pheasant

My determination to post again is proving hard to sustain. I was going to discuss Galen Strawson's views on death, but, immediately, two things went wrong. First, I realised the essay was philosophy for the sake of it, a terrible thing. I remember Galen at Cambridge. He had immensely long and thick blond hair. I wonder if this affected his subsequent intellectual development. The second thing that went wrong was that Blogger told me I was suffering from an error called bX-9d2teg, which I then learned doesn't exist. It was my very own error. I ground to a halt. But then I realised I have long nurtured strong feelings about pheasants. I was at a grand London club last night and I made the mistake I usually make at such places. I ordered the pheasant. It always feels like the right thing to do. The bird was, as usual, disgusting. Pheasants are not made to be eaten. In fact, the only reason they are eaten is that treating them as food justifies shooting them. People shoot them because they are big, dim-witted and slow-moving birds. I don't believe anybody not actually blind or paralytically drunk has ever fired at a pheasant and missed. Were it not that they are so common, we would appreciate their exotic beauty and the gentle comedy of their desperately slow and wildly-flapping take-off. Pheasant shooters would then be seen for the cads they are.


  1. This is the problem of ordering something on the grounds that it's a bit unusual. Usually you remember that there's a reason you don't have it at home.

    I've never ordered game without wishing I'd just had the steak. Never bought some weird flavour of ice-cream (or fudge for that matter) without wishing I'd just had vanilla; never picked up a midget transvestite without... no, I'll stop there.

  2. Most pheasant tastes pretty much like decent chicken (or guinea fowl anyway) these days, on account of the birds being so plump and overfed. They've mostly just died of obesity or fallen out of trees, I suspect, rather than being shot.

  3. Er, am I the only person commenting on this blog whose wife, sort of, slows down and drives around the suicidal avians, much to the annoyance of lorry drivers hurtling in the opposite direction, not to mention tailgating rep's.
    Roast 'em on the camp fire, in their jackets, they don't taste that bad, really.
    Although they are as you say Bryan, easy targets, they do possess the equivalent of Chobham Armour, requiring ordinance tipped with depleted uranium to perform a Coup de grâce.

  4. It is as you say philosophy for the sake of philosophy, and somewhat confused at that. Your pheasant meditation was I am sure more profound and insightful than the critique of Strawson.

    I have to give TPM this much. It seems to be a pretty good reflection of the thinking in contemporary academic philosophy. The contrast between that and the philosophising going on in other blogs is interesting.

  5. American here.

    I love pheasant. Had it for Thanksgiving several times. Wanted more but they are small which is the problem. As a typical American I demands mountains of food on Thanksgiving Day.

  6. As I type this, I can hear the constant, semi-muted 'pop' of pheasants being shot in the surrounding fields.

    The question arises: If pheasants are bred for hunting, are their dim-witted characteristics the deliberate result of artificial breeding?

  7. The blog author wrote:

    "In fact, the only reason they are eaten is that treating them as food justifies shooting them."

    The blog reader responds:

    "Oh, but I beg to differ. You obviously are not familiar with the 3-day rule, which certainly applies. I see pheasant listed very plainly on the menu for Day 1."



    Q: What is the difference between what you like & what you will eat?

    A: Three days.

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