>If you’re short of trouble, take a goat.
The goat saunters by like a pimp in a cadillac: regal and cool as can be — until one look from a cop (me) and they’re frozen in terror — then back to bizness as uzual.
Several events over the course of human/goat-history have shaped our Goat consciousness, at least in the Judeo-Christian world.(empire?)
First, deomestication: 10,000 years ago.
Goats are not people.Q: Why do we anthropomorphize?
For the same reason dogs dogropomorphize; it is all we know. THough seeing a dog owner crawling around the floor — rope-toy in earnest mouth growling wholeheartedly, neck-snapping tug-of-war juices flowing. One begins to wonder. nor are they bricks or pieces of lead pipe. No, but are we really wrong to ascribe to them our own abstracted behavioral metaphors? If the model works, then what’s the harm? Now we can’t be kidding or deluding ourselves, creating expression where it isn’t; but neither should we needlessly ignore evidence of emotional complexity beyond that of a brick. Goats are not people, true;(or robots)
But this is dangerous territory. We have already gone this way with our dogs — and those who see their dogs as pals recoil in utter disgust at the thought of eating one of their beloveds. But do we lift the goat and sheep and cow and pig to such a place? Never. To protect our selves from self-condemnation. _You_ try watching ___Babe___ then sitting down for a nice meal of porkchops.
The life of the goat is driven by a raw spontaneity that has little human equivalent outside of childhood, senility or mental illness — and perhaps those hippie free-spirits who dance around in fields all day or drop lots of acid.
The kinetic momentum of a stampede, in the middle of the night, out on the empty step. Not a real stampede, like the kind that killed Simba’s mother. More like a shuffle-pede. One goat gets startled by a thought or a shadow or a gust of wind, and runs, headlong into another goat, who then runs in another direction. Rustling builds, then fades out as the energy dissipates. A self-reorganizing system — to the tune of their own internal “il-logic”.
The herd is ever-moving–a mile, two miles, three miles, each day. Out, then back. Again until grass turns to snow and howling other-worldy winds. Were it not for the endless blue sky resting behind, waiting to thaw the hearts of its people and the soil of its earth –the shoots of grass reawaken and the air is again filled with ambling calls.
The kids lag at the back, always, their short legs iterating walk walk ruuun MAAAA… walk walk walk ruuun MAAAA tongues slightly hanging, human-like in their maaaaah for mother.
Then, the pagan traditions which are eventually immortalized in the Bible (Sheep go to heaven, Goats go bring the plague to thy neighbor so you can return to village bizniss).
Third, medieval expounding on Biblical ideas, and the Knights Templar trials.
>The diuell..dooth most properlie and commonlie transforme himselfe into a gote.
_–R. Scott. ‘Discov. Witchr.’ v.i.89. (1584)_
Goats have had their share of rough treatment over the years. It started as far as we can know, about 10,000 years ago in the Zagros Mountains of Persia.
The goat and the sheep, two animals locked in perpetual binary harmony. Like some star system, they graze together, but in realms beyond their comprehension take paths impossibly dissimilar.
In the Bible, it was decided that Sheep and Goats were Different and goats Bad.
>Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God’s new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight,
Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right,
And the choice goes by forever ‘twixt that darkness and that light.
–J. R. Lowell, The Present Crisis. St. 5.“Sheep go to heaven, Goats go to hell.”
Must’ve been those pesky pagans. Who worships sheep, anyways?
>They must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat idols [a] to whom they prostitute themselves. This is to be a lasting ordinance for them and for the generations to come.
–Leviticus 17:7 (NIV) [a.] or demons
Herd or flock? A herd is a leisurely grazing through lush Biblical hills and valleys. Always following dumbly, sleeping soundly, until snatched in wolf-jaws.
The sheep blankly staring, flatulent falls, curled hair spiked with barbs for spinning and itching. Some have horns, and all follow. Their tails hang down. Some cultures dock the tails of their sheep. Others savor this, the finest piece of the sheep for eating–even if the herders must spend hours plucking maggots from oozing open slow-bite holes. Festering, crusted in shit. All fat.
Goats were given the humble and thankless duty of carrying the sinsread: bubonic plague-ridden clothes of a village into the woods.
>The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert.
–Leviticus 16:22 (NIV)
You can eat goats.“Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it.” (Genesis 27:9, NIV) Goat meat is called _chevre_. Goat cheese is called _ooh la la_.Why does ice cream taste better in the morning? Are we really so biblically cliché? Perhaps it reminds us of the sweet sucklings at our mother’s (or father’s) teat.
I have an idiosyncratic taste for food. I call it simple, others call it picky, or naÃ¯ve, or even just boring. I say it’s simple; nay, elegant. But I have done my share of experimentalizing: boiled sheep heart, lungs, liver, blood sausage, spinal chord, fish, sushi, raw beef filet, mussels, fine goat cheese and wine on fig almond cake; whatever. Just give me a slice of sharp cheddar, or pizza; a nice chocolate chip cookie, and I am content. It’s not that I don’t enjoy food – I just need less exoticism to satisfy my culinary appetite, as it were.
Goat cheese–it all tastes the same (except for aaruul, more on that later) like it smells. Pasty, thick, herbal and congealed; like cream cheese gone horribly, horribly wrong. Sour, sickly sweet tart turned sideways, always a bit past not quite there. (It’s not really that bad…)
Now chevre is another matter. Cut up some fresh slabs, throw in a bowl layered with hot rocks; ladle in some water, then cover and let simmer until ready. To seal the seam between the top and bottom bowl, lay wet rags along the crack to keep in the steam.
Pass the time by drinking airag, vodka and singing joyfully. If you are not Mongolian, try to ignore the food-poisoning paranoia-gremlin that turns every gurgle into a prophecy of impending gastrointestinal doom. And drink lots of vodka.
Cashmere is the hair of the goat. Of this fine hair, the holy tabernacle found its curtains.
“I will KILL YOU, fucking GOAT!” I calmly explain, “Then EAT YOUUU!” I kick the flank of my horse gently, and we trot over to the goats that just don’t seem to get the idea of following the herd.
>The damned goates he doth despise; Poynts out his lambs, whose sinfull dyes hee purgde with bloody streame
_–Sir W. Mure. ‘Spiritual Hymme.’ 326. (1628)_
They fan out in directions, wider than my sphere of influence, and are lost in smashing skulls or chewing grass, or staring into space, pondering their own existence.
All it took was a few days herding and now the light I see. The bible is wiser than I ever knew.As it pertains to goats.