Bacon: The other other white meme

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By Molly Freedenberg

Last night, I slept with bacon. Or rather, I soaked up my whiskey and beer with a big fat bacon sandwich -- slices of crisp, thick-cut pork piled between two sides of a cheese bagel -- and then drifted off to sleep immersed (thanks to the bedroom's proximity to the kitchen) in the smell of fried pig.

This has been happening a lot more often than it used to - and not just because I finally kicked that pesky eating disorder and discovered that bacon (and french fries, and pizza, and just about everything else) really does taste better than rice cakes dipped in mustard. It's also because everyone around me seems to be eating bacon. Talking about bacon. Talking about art about bacon.

It's got me wondering: When and how, exactly, did bacon become such a big friggin' deal?

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Baconstache: where two ironic trends collide. Photo courtesy of skullsandbacon.blospot.com.

It's not like bacon is a new food product. Nor that it just recently became the tastiest reason to quit being kosher. And I'm betting the BLT has been around longer than sliced bread. So why has it suddenly taken up the symbolic cultural place that ninjas, pirates, and mustaches used to have (otherwise known as Stuff White People Like)?

I mean, we've got the bandaids.

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The lollipops.

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Photo by Lollyphile, whom we featured in our 2008 Best of the Bay issue.

The Institute.

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The website application.
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The recipe.

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The tattoos.

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Photo from Fat Zombie.

And, for the love of god, the scratch-and-sniff suit.

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If bacon doesn't get its own holiday - or at least it's own Burning Man camp - soon, I'll be shocked.

Part of me would like to think my friends in Gigsville - some of whom founded this - had something to do with it. They've been playing with pork products since before the invention of the bacon-tini. (One memorable example is a friend's birthday version of the group's Wednesday Night Dinner tradition, renamed Wednesday Meat Dinner.)

But I suspect the answer is a bit more complex, an equation involving 1. white middle class America's obsession with all things considered white trash, 2. an economy that supports staying home and eating cheap food, and 3. the critical mass of people it takes to turn a trend into a full-blown meme. Just add Internet.

Not that I'm complaining. This is one bandwagon I'm comfortable jumping on - at least one mealtime a day. But if you ever catch me in one of these (ew!), please shoot me - I've gone too far.

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