Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road ?
Adapted from the University of Oregon Philosophy
Dept. web page
- For the greater good.
- Karl Marx
- It was a historical inevitability.
- So that its subjects will view it
with admiration,as a chicken which has the daring and
courage to boldly cross the road, but also with fear,
for whom among them has the strength to contend
with such a paragon of avian virtue? In such a
manner is the princely chicken's dominion
- Because of an excess of black bile
and a deficiency of choleric humour.
- Any number of contending
discourses may be discovered within the act of the
chicken crossing the road, and each interpretation is
equally valid as the authorial intent can never be
discerned, because structuralism is DEAD,
Thomas de Torquemada
- Give me ten minutes with
the chicken and I'll find out.
The chicken didn't exactly cross the road. As of 1994,
something like 99.8% of all US chickens reaching maturity that year
had spent 82% of their lives in confinement. The living conditions in
most chicken coops break every international law ever written, and
some, particularly the ones for chickens bound for slaughter, border
on inhumane. My point is, they had no chance to cross the road (unless
you count the ride to the supermarket). Even if one or two have
crossed roads for whatever reason, most never get a chance. Of course,
this is not what we are told. Instead, we see chickens happily
dancing around on Sesame Street and Foster Farms commercials where
chickens are not only crossing roads, but driving trucks.
[Chomsky continues for 32 pages. For the full text of his answer,
contact Onanian Press.]
- Because that's the only kind of
trip the Establishment would let it take.
- Because if you gaze too long across
the Road, the Road gazes also across you.
- Because the external influences
which had pervaded its sensorium from birth had
caused it to develop in such a fashion that it would
tend to cross roads, even while believing these actions
to be of its own free will.
B.F. Skinner (again)
- Under carefully controlled
experimental conditions, the chicken did
what it damn well pleased.
- The confluence of events in the
cultural gestalt necessitated that individual chickens
cross roads at this historical juncture, and therefore
synchronicitously brought such occurrences into
- In order to act in good faith and
be true to itself, the chicken found it necessary to
cross the road.
- The possibility of "crossing"
was encoded into the objects "chicken" and "road",
and circumstances came into being which caused the
actualization of this potential occurrence.
- Edgar will find out! Or, uh, we could put, uh, Liddy
on it. Liddy. I worry about Liddy sometimes. Remember when we assigned
him to figure out which 1 of those [expletive deleted] passenger
pigeons had been leaking campaign secrets?
- Whether the chicken crossed the
road or the road crossed the chicken depends upon
your frame of reference.
- To actualize its potential.
- If you ask this question, you deny
your own chicken-nature.
- Because, in this patriarchal state, for the
last 4 centuries, men have applied their principles of justice in
determining how chickens should be cared for, their language has
demeaned the identity of the chicken, their technology and trucks have
decided how and where chickens will be distributed, their science has
become the basis for what chickens eat, their sense of humor has
provided the framework for this joke, their art and film have given us
our perception of chicken life, their lust for flesh has made the
chicken the most consumed animal in the US, and their legal system has
left the chicken with no other recourse.
- It is one of the challenging problems of our time,
isn't it? And, although we have known of this problem for many years,
nobody has ever taken it seriously enough to really feel the chicken's
pain. Clearly we need to move forward on this issue in a measured, humane
way, bearing in mind that the federal government can't be all things to all
creatures, but that, in the final analysis, it is the Constitution of this
great land of ours which guarantees freedom of action, within prudent
limits, for all of us. God bless you, and thanks for asking.
- How should I know? Get that microphone out of my face!
- Out of custom and habit.
- The Fish.
- It was the logical next step after
coming down from the trees.
- Because it could not stop for
- For fun.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
- It didn't cross the road; it
Johann von Goethe
- The eternal hen-principle made
it do it.
- To die. In the rain.
- We are not sure which side of
the road the chicken was on, but it was moving very
- 'Cause it (censored) wanted to.
That's the (censored) reason.
Pyrrho the Skeptic
- What road?
- You tell me.
Henry David Thoreau
- To live deliberately ... and
suck all the marrow out of life.
- It may very well have been one
of the most astonishing events to grace the annals of
history. An historic, unprecedented avian biped with
the temerity to attempt such an herculean
achievement formerly relegated to homo sapien
pedestrians is truly a remarkable occurence.
- I forget.
- The news of its crossing has been
Zeno of Elea
- To prove it could never reach the
- The chicken was faced with a crossroads -
one way led to complete despair, the other to total destruction;
let us hope the chicken made the right choice.
- The Supreme Court wouldn't do it,
The President and the Congress wouldn't do it,
The UN wouldn't do it, the H-bomb wouldn't do it,
The sun and the moon wouldn't do it,
And God wouldn't do it,
And I certainly wouldn't do it -
That left the chicken - the chicken had to do it.
>From the Firesign Theatre, an audio comedy group
A: Why did the shorthair cross the road?
B: I don't know.
A: Because somebody told him to. Why did the
longhair cross the road?
B: (tentatively) Because somebody told him not to?
A: (disappointedly) Aw - you heard it already.