He-Man Rib Bones

Who has the power? He has the power.

Justin Kemerling
May 8, 2018 · 2 min read

In the 1987 smash hit Masters of the Universe, He-Man, played by Dolph Lundgren, goes to Earth to defend it against the forces of Skeletor. To fight against tyranny, oppression, and, of course, evil.

A truly epic movie for someone who loved the world of He-Man as a youngster growing up in the middle of America. What’s not to love with all those action figures and their swords, castles, armored cats, and battering rams? Especially when you could play with the toys alongside a hit cartoon show filled with captivating tales of heroism and adventure.

Now, there’s a scene in the movie that’s always stuck with me. Between all the space travel and sword versus laser battles, there’s a part where the characters bond over the simple sharing of a meal.

The meal takes place behind the parking lot of a fast food joint. A chicken place, like KFC. From a distance, hiding in the bushes, Man-at-Arms, Teela, and Gwildor snag a tub of chicken wings with the help of a grappling hook type of tool. Shoot out the hook, latch onto the tub, and pull in the target.

They get the chicken wings and proceed to eat out of sight from the Earthlings, Americans in this case, who might be startled by their intergalactic aesthetic. This being the 80s and America being quite suspicious of people who look different.

In the first few bites everyone involved universally accepts the wings as quite tasty and nutritiously satisfying. Something that will stave off hunger and allow them to wage war on evil. And that’s when it happens.

Teela, in mid bite of chicken wing, asks an honest question. “I wonder why they put the food on these little white sticks?” To which, her father, Man-at-Arms, responds, “those are rib bones.” She goes pale. Can’t eat anymore. She is disgusted. And flatly says, “what a barbaric world.”

Teela eats no more chicken wing. She throws down what she has left and is off to fight in the rest of the adventure, hungry or not. Where’s a box of kale when you need one?

I think about that scene, from time to time, in my own ongoing adventure to stop eating meat. I once went pescatarian for a year because fish don’t have any feelings. But it didn’t stick.

Currently, I feel like the best foodie food involves meat. So I’m probably not going sans meat anytime soon. There’s still hope for Meatless Mondays but that’s about it. Instead, I’ll just wallow in my barbaric choices periodically thinking about a movie I should’ve stopped caring about long, long ago. Damn you, Teela.

The lesson? Propaganda works.

Justin Kemerling

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Independent designer, activist, collaborator, citizen. Essays from the middle of America. http://www.justinkemerling.com