29 May 2006

Rubber Chicken Dinners

A.D. Freudenheim, The Editor

Rubber Chicken Dinners [rbr chkn dnrz], a unique breed that roams much of Earth, but is not known to exist elsewhere in the galaxy.

Family, Genus, Species, & Sub-species

Family: Catered Meals
Genus: Dinners
Species: Rubber Chicken Dinners

In the last half-century, a number of sub-species of Rubber Chicken Dinners have been identified and their existence has been independently verified. These include:

  • Diplomaticae – Typically practiced by Departments of State or Offices of Official Protocol. This sub-species sometimes develops out of a sense of symbiosis, wherein members of one community exchange Rubber Chicken Dinners with visiting dignitaries from other societies. More common is the obligatory species, in which one society tries to impress visitors from another with their riches. Diplomaticae is reported to be the best variant, if one is forced either to give or receive Rubber Chicken Dinners.

  • Benefiticus – Perhaps the most prevalent sub-species. The Benefiticus occurs when a community wants to raise awareness or support for a project, and community or project leaders believe that the aggregated conditions (e.g., Fashion, Money; see below, Environment & Environmental Conditions) co-exist in sufficient density to make Rubber Chicken Dinner-Benefiticus environmentally stable. The Benefiticus has properties that enable mutation and thus ensure proliferation: in initial appearance, a new Benefiticus may initially appear different from earlier incarnations (e.g., new entertainment, different catering) but eventually produces the same symptoms (see below, Other Characteristics).

  • Honoraria – Since Honoraria often appears in connection with Benefiticus, a few scholars have broken with established science over whether Honoraria should exist as its own sub-species or if it more properly should be considered as a variant of Benefiticus. Honoraria can be identified easily by certain persistent elements, which may include: Tableau Dais, Speechification, and Presentation Trophius Plaques.

Environment & Environmental Conditions

While Rubber Chicken Dinners have been spotted in many areas of the world inhabited by humans, they are a predominantly a feature of those communities that make a point of considering themselves “civilized” or “educated.” A number of anthropologists have speculated that even though Rubber Chicken Dinners are considered by their host societies to be “sophisticated,” in the long scope of human development they may actually represent a set-back – much as trepanning and blood-letting were considered adequate medical treatments of earlier ages.

A few conditions must exist for Rubber Chicken Dinners to survive. These include:

  • Fashion – Access to the latest designer clothing is important, for both sexes but especially a society’s females.

  • Jewelry – Similar needs as fashion.

  • Time – Often overlooked, or seen as a benign force, substantial time is required for the survival of Rubber Chicken Dinners.

  • Money – The spectrum can be wide and, in some cases, this may be more about the appearance of such rather than its actual presence. Both males and females must display the characteristics of having money, though the manifestations are usually distinct according to sex. Also, this sometimes correlates to Female Cleavage (see below, Other Characteristics).

  • Service Economy – The presence of the symbiotic species CaterWaiter is considered a requirement. While some consider there to be only one breed of CaterWaiter, anthropologists who have studied the subject have concluded that not all CaterWaiters are created equal, either in appearance or aptitude. CaterWaiters comprise a large part of the service economy.

The scope of these conditions may be relative, rather than absolute. In other words, the same degree of fashion, finance, or funding is not needed in each society in order for Rubber Chicken Dinners to develop – only that they must be present in some form.

Physical Appearance

One identifying feature of Rubber Chicken Dinners are the large rooms, often called “halls” or “banquet halls.” Elaborately-decorated tables are extremely common, usually with floral components that obstruct vision across the table; decorations may be Thematic, sharing traits with other visible components within the room, they may be Dissonant, wherein contrasting themes dominate throughout the room or from table to table; there is no ability to predict Thematic versus Dissonant themes in advance. Table decorations may also be Gaudy. Music and dancing are also typical.

Food is, of course, an absolute identifier of Rubber Chicken Dinners, and may come in several stages, usually referred to as “courses.” Common is the “pre-plate,” wherein participants find the initial course already present on the decorated tables upon entry to the hall. Rubber Chicken Dinners normally involve three such courses, including a main course and a dessert. While it is from the early predominance of Rubber Chicken as a main course that Rubber Chicken Dinners achieved their common name, we now understand that – perhaps in an effort to elude detection – many Rubber Chicken Dinners now also include main courses of Dried Beef, Fishy Salmon, or the Mushy Vegetable Plate (optional).

A trait believed to be exclusive to Rubber Chicken Dinners is the presence of a Journal or Book, a publication that includes full, half-, quarter-, and eighth-page “advertisements” promoting some Rubber Chicken Dinners participants, proclaiming the virtue of the central object in a Rubber Chicken Dinners-Benefiticus, or referring to the subject(s) invoked by Rubber Chicken Dinners-Honoraria.

Other Characteristics

There are a number of foolproof ways to identify Rubber Chicken Dinners, including:

  • Bad Food – Whether it’s Dried Beef, Fishy Salmon, or the eponymous Rubber Chicken, if the food is nearly inedible this is a strong give-away.

  • Female Cleavage – Some societies have worked hard to eliminate this, but it does persist as a feature of Rubber Chicken Dinners, particularly of Rubber Chicken Dinners-Benefiticus, where women believe that revealing copious amounts of skin will either distract from the absence of jewelry or add to its effect.

  • Loud Music – If the music is of a volume that is disproportionate to what you actually need in order to hear, you may have found a Rubber Chicken Dinners.

  • Snarky Comments – This is both a common characteristic and a rapidly-spreading symptom; depending on the volume of those around you, it make take longer to identify this characteristic, but usually each table has a carrier who points out the Snarky Comments to their table-mates.

Interestingly, recent developments in DNA analysis have established that what was previously considered a distinct subspecies, Rubber Chicken Dinners-Koshericus, is in fact only a surface characteristic of any of the other sub-species. There are no genetic markers identified solely with Rubber Chicken Dinners-Koshericus. Nonetheless, a predisposition towards Koshericus-style Rubber Chicken Dinners can be found in many locations, particularly in New York City. Koshericus-style can be identified principally by its ability to make normal Bad Food seem good, and by a tendency towards extended Speechification.


There are few proven methods for eliminating Rubber Chicken Dinners. However, some homeopathic and home-body specialists advise those who fear that they may be at risk for encountering Rubber Chicken Dinners to simply ignore it entirely. In some instances, there may be ramifications for this, e.g., in Rubber Chicken Dinners-Diplomaticae. Yet in the most common variant, Rubber Chicken Dinners-Benefiticus, if the fortitude can be found, one can essentially buy one’s way out, by making a monetary contribution at the level of a seat, two seats, or a table, but doing so absent a commitment to engage with the Rubber Chicken Dinners directly.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

blah blah blah
but something in there

6:40 PM  
Blogger The Editor said...

Ok, it's true -- it wasn't one of my best!

The Editor

7:17 PM  

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