Casaubon's Book

No Cannibalism Is Kinda Counter-Intuitive, Isn’t it?

Liked this bit from The Onion:

And it’s not like it’s actually against the law, at least I’m pretty sure it isn’t. Oh, maybe it’s against some really antiquated laws in certain old New England towns from, like, the 18th century or something. But that’s my point: Would anyone today even care if we changed some old, archaic rule? A few people might instinctively be upset about it purely because they’ve been told since they were little that it’s not okay to do that, but would anyone actually have a good argument against it other than that? I guess people just do what they’re told without asking questions.

Now, in fairness, I’m pretty sure it’s okay to eat a human child if you want. You can’t eat an elderly person, or a normal adult, but you can definitely eat a kid, or at least it’s not as discouraged. I’m fairly certain that’s how it works. Child meat is more tender or something, I guess.

Hey, what if that’s it? What if the one guy in history that tried to eat another person cooked it all wrong and it came out weird and chewy? Wouldn’t that be a dumb reason to not eat people? Maybe he didn’t try braising human flesh and that’s the best way to eat them. Or maybe it’s fried. I mean there could be hundreds of cooking techniques or spices that are more suitable with human flesh that we will never know about. Also, I kind of like chewy food.

Besides the Prion Diseases, it is mostly just those pesky table manners – I mean how would you know WHEN you can eat the other people with you?  Does it have to be after you run out of other food?  Is it ever polite to eat your host?  Are fingers a finger food?

Actually, if you haven’t read _The Rituals of Dinner_ by the amazing Margaret Visser, you really should. It is a wonderful, serious (but also quite funny) book that begins from the larger point that most of our table manners are in some measure ways of reminding ourselves of the taboo against cannibalism.  Well worth a read.