Thursday, May 26, 2011
Top 10 (Socially Accepted) Reasons to Eat Your Fellow Humans!
IN KEEPING WITH THE SPIRIT of Cannibal Confections, I'll blatantly avoid mention of those despicable, but fascinating, modern cannibals who do it for perverse, illegal and therefore immoral reasons. Although an intriguing subject, it is perhaps a touch too serious for the moment.
So let's get culturally relative, and take a gander at some festive flesh-eaters: the kind who'd go all out with your head on a platter - for real!
Reason #1 POWER:
The word cannibal comes from the Spanish word 'Caníbales'. It refered to the people of the Carib tribe, and yes, they did eat human flesh - or at least chewed on it. After a battle, warriors would bring home the limbs of vanquished foes. To ingest the power of that person, they'd take a bite, chew it up and spit it onto the ground . They sought to satisfy an intangible rather than a physical hunger.
Reason #2 STICKIN' IT TO THE MAN:
Still with the Carib Nation, where Italian explorer, Giovanni da Verrazzano was killed and eaten in 1528. He may well have been viewed as an enemy, or maybe just really really 'rico'! Unfortunately, this backfired, as Queen Isabella forthwith decreed that all slaves must be taken from tribes who practiced cannibalism.
Reason #3 IT'S ALL THE "RAGE":
Elites of 16th century Europe partook of what has to be the most ghoulish form
of cannibalism this side of a zombie's breakfast. Some of them actually consumed ground up Egyptian mummies which were sold as medicine. The cadavers were supposedly those of Pharohs and such, but the fad faded when it was discovered that most of it was made from recently killed slaves - how repulsive!
Reason #4 "JUST A SPOONFUL OF SUGAR HELPS THE MEDICINE GO DOWN":
A favourite of mine. 16th century Chinese pharmacologist Li Shizhen wrote about steeping a human cadaver in honey - once again for medicinal purposes. Passed down from Arabian legend, this act of sweet sacrifice was voluntarily undertaken (pardon the pun) by old men. Knowing he wasn't long for this world, the donor would begin consuming only honey. He would bathe in it too, and not surprisingly, in time, he'd defecate sweet golden turds. Upon death, he was placed in a sarcophagus full of the same, syrupy goo. After about a hundred years of marinating, the corpse would be harvested as a pricey confection with purportedly miraculous powers.
Reason #5 PEER PRESSURE:
Anyotos or 'Human Leopards' of West Africa, require members of their society to eat their victims and to provide one such meal every four years. Since the 18th century, their success has been relatively high, despite recurring crackdowns from colonial lawmakers.
Reason #6 IT'S GENETIC:
An article in 'Science', published in 2003, suggested that the practice of eating our own
species was once widespread. Ergo, most of us carry a sequence of genes which could protect us from spongiform encephalitis.
Reason #7 YOU'RE A GREEK GOD AND YOUR KIDS ARE DRIVING YOU NUTS:
Kronos knew his children would one day murder him and take over. After all, that's exactly what he'd done to Uranus, his own father. But he had a simple solution to this usurpation by the fruit of his loins. He treated them like actual fruit!
Reason #8 NOBODY WILL MESS WITH YOU:
It basically 'boils down' to eliminating the competition. Like Kronos, if you swallow your opponents, logically, you will have less of them. If you're seen doing it, even fewer.
Reason #9 REASEARCH:
Without it, we wouldn't have the 'veal consensus'.
William Buehler Seabrook, a New York Times reporter in the early 1930's obtained some cuts of healthy human flesh from a hospital intern at the Sorbonne. He took it home, cooked, and ate it. "It was like good, fully-developed veal [...] not like any other meat I had ever tasted [...] I think no person with a palate of ordinary, normal sensitiveness could distinguish it from veal."
-William Bueller Seabrook. Jungle Ways London, Bombay, Sydney: George G. Harrap and Company, 1931
Allegedly, a nearly identical tale is recounted of French author, Guy De Maupassant. After witnessing a freak accident, he begged the doctors in charge of the autopsy to allow him a steak of the victim's flesh for 'luncheon'. Monsieur De Maupassant concluded that anthropophagy has little appeal since the meat was 'insipid', and like 'overdone veal'.
Reason #10 IT'S GOOD FOR A FEW LAUGHS:
Especially if you live in Papua New Guinea, were people used to bequeath their bodies to friends and family. If you ate Grampa's brain, it wouldn't give you his sense of humour, but you'd still be a riot!: Many residents who practiced the tradition contracted a disease called 'kuru', otherwise known as the laughing sickness.
The downside; it is fatal, but at least you'll die laughing!