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On the Killing floor

Posted by Wart Hog on December 05, 2003

In Reply to: What Dreams May Come posted by ESC on December 03, 2003

: : : : : : : : : : : : Killing floor - origin? I'm listening to Bruce Dickinson's The Chemical Wedding, the track "Killing Floor," of which the refrain is - brace yourselves: "Satan! / Has left his killing floor! / Satan! / His fires burn no more!" The expression is also featured in the Lemon Song by Led Zeppelin (a cover of Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor," an Internet source tells me, cf. link). The Chemical Wedding is a fantastic CD, being a free interpretation of William Blake's poetic universe. Interestingly, Google gives zero hits for "satan's killing floor" and "devil's killing floor" (using quotes to query these exact expressions).
: : : : : : : : : : : : Anders

: : : : : : : : : : : I have heard the Howlin' Wolf version of "Killing Floor." Here's what I think: the killing floor is where animals are slaughtered at a meat-packing facility. The singer has messed around around with a bad woman and has wound up killing someone. Purely a guess.

: : : : : : : : : : From the PETA site:

: : : : : : : : : : "Last October, KIRO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Seattle, aired an investigative report on the treatment of downed cows-animals so sick, injured, or lame that they cannot walk on their own-in local slaughterhouses. The four-part series showed shocking footage from Midway Meats of downed cows being dragged and hoisted by their necks in order to move them from transport vehicles to the killing floor. As a result of the investigation, the company is reportedly no longer accepting downers, but apparently, local animal industry groups are so upset over the effect that showing the public how animals are treated in slaughterhouses might have had on their bottom line that they have filed a complaint against KIRO with the Washington News Council."

: : : : : : : : : : Enjoy your 'burgers.

: : : : : : : : : :-(
: : : : : : : : : Your post was a downer.

: : : : : : : : The truth shall set you free.

: : : : : : : Absolutely. And truthfully, there's no need, even in an omnivorous society, for animals to be slaughtered in such conditions. The New Yorker ran an article several years about (blanking on her name, but she's quite well-known in the industry!) a woman who, living with Asperger's, has devised circling ramps and such for animals to enter the abattoirs in a state of -- okay, not serenity, but a certain calm and curiosity. Unsurprisingly, this results in better-tasting and more tender meat, as scarcely any adrenalin is released before the animal is killed. Some time ago I was researching buffalo ranches (growing in number every year in the US), and the most ethical ranchers delivered the best meat -- one refused to send his bulls to the slaughterhouse, but dispatched them by rifle himself, one by one. More labor for him, but the animals weren't made to mill or crowd or rush, there was little to-do, no panicking, and he was paid more per pound.

: : : : : : Well, I still somehow believe "killing floor" echoes a religious. Having searched in vain for links for Blake and Milton, I tried Dante, which brought me to this fascinating description:

: : : : : : "Finally the lowest area of all in hell is located at the bottom of a deep circular well. Stationed around the perimeter of the well, their torsos sticking up over the edge are a half dozen giants, one of whom, Antaeus, gently deposits the poets down upon the frozen floor of hell. Here, at the center of evil, all the infernal waters, and all the tears and blood of suffering humanity gather and freeze in the total absence of love. Here those souls are trapped in the ice who have been treacherous, that is, fraudulent to those who especially deserved loyalty. At the center of this frozen lake, his torso coming up above the surface, Satan himself, with his three faces, perpetually gnaws on Brutus and Cassius and Judas Iscariot."

: : : : : ". . . echoes a religious" - source!

: : : : . . . for links TO (not for) Blake and Milton. Okay, I'm shooting my typist.

: : : Boy, and they thought MY post was depressing. "...tears and blood of suffering humanity gather and freeze in the total absence of love." Sounds like my workplace.

: : : Have you seen the Robin Williams' movie "What Dreams May Come"? It has some images of hell that will stay with you.

: : : Merry Christmas!!

: : Hi ESC
: : I apologize for the grim mood I'm projecting. Never meant to to bring you down. No, I haven't seen it. The title is Hamletian, of course: "for in that sleep of death what dreams may come, when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause," etc.
: : Anders

: I didn't know that. Interesting.

I've got both Howling Wolf and Hendrix performing "Killing Floor" which was a high energy track from what I recall. I thought that it was a term used by the military - certainly generals have referred to 'the killing ground' meaning an area of terrain where they can inflict or have inflicted the worse casualties.
Taking into account the carnage of Vietnam, where locals knew the terrain and could more easily identify 'killing grounds', it is quite possible that US soldiers would have called it the killing 'floor' instead, should that have been a familiar slaughterhouse expression.