April 20, 2012

Radical Locavore.

A Bizarro cartoon, arrived at via the Wikipedia article "Self-cannibalism," which I found seconds after speculating out loud "I wonder if anyone has ever gotten so hungry they've eaten parts of their own body?," which arose out of a conversation with Meade, who was talking about military training for survival behind enemy lines. For example:
Trainees are taught that when stranded in the field, they should eat what they can find, which can include turtles, snakes, insects and other things normally considered unappetizing. The training helps them overcome their food aversions.

... [A] running joke is that "food is a crutch" because survival school teaches soldiers how to overcome physical stress like hunger by using mental strength.

A Special Forces captain swallows a worm to the delight of his fellow trainees. Asked what it tasted like, the captain said, "Dirt. And kind of like a worm. Kind of fishy. Kind of fishy. "
You can imagine why we were talking about that. Just reabsorbing and digesting the classic Obama text: "I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy)."

I was saying: Isn't it interesting that he spoke of the texture, but not the taste? I was going to riff in the direction of portraying Obama as coolly Spock-like — missing one of the 5 senses, but then I veered toward literary analysis. It's a neatly compressed comic line: tough... tougher... crunchy. He sticks with the textures because it's funny to struggle through the tough sequence — tough, tougher — and then get — not what comes next grammatically: toughest — but crunchy! because — ha ha — we all know, whether we eat them or not, that insects are crunchy. In those few words,
you laugh and you're there inside the immediacy of what the small boy experienced. Once there, you can imagine the flood of sensation and emotion for yourself. The author restrains himself. He doesn't bother us with descriptions of how he felt. You've had enough. You've had dog-tough, snake-tougher, grasshopper-crunchy. You were there, eating it too, because you were a boy with a father and what would that be like?

Anyway, I love that there's a Wikipedia article for so many quite specific things that suddenly pop into your head. From the "Self-cannibalism" article:
As a natural occurrence: A certain amount of self-cannibalism occurs unwillingly, as the body consumes dead cells from the tongue and cheeks...

As a disorder or symptom thereof: Fingernail-biting that develops into fingernail-eating is a form of pica, although many do not consider nail biting as a true form of cannibalism....
Who are the true cannibals?
As a choice: Some people will engage in self-cannibalism as an extreme form of body modification, for example eating their own skin. Others will drink their own blood, a practice called autovampirism, but sucking blood from wounds is generally not seen to be cannibalism. Placentophagy may be a form of self-cannibalism. On January 13, 2007, Chilean artist Marco Evaristti hosted a dinner party for his most intimate friends. The main meal was agnolotti pasta, which was topped with a meatball made from the artist's own fat, removed in the previous year in a liposuction operation.
Citations omitted. And I'll spare you the "As a crime" section, which is really unpleasant. The "Cultural references" list is extensive (and suggests that if you can think up anything gross, there are numerous storytellers who've already gone there):
King Erysichthon from Greek mythology ate himself in insatiable hunger, given him, as a punishment, by Demeter.

In an Arthurian tale, King Agrestes of Camelot goes mad after massacring the Christian disciples of Josephus within his city, and eats his own hands.

Stephen King's short story "Survivor Type", about a man trapped on a small island.
King's shipwreck survivor is a heroin smuggler, and the heroin helps him get through the food prep.  There's more on the "Cultural references" list. I won't repeat it all, but it ends with "Radical Locavore."

35 comments:

Ron said...

speaking of strange Wiki entries, they front page one for Hitler's 50th birthday party!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler%27s_50th_birthday

Rusty said...

Does eating pussy count?




Admit it. You saw that coming.

traditionalguy said...

All politics is local. And making cannibalism taboo is basic politics.

The Caribbean Ocean is named for the Caribe Tribe on one island who would take canoe trips to nearby islands and kill or capture other tribes' people to take them home and eat them.

Needless to say this gave the Spanish Ship captains exploring the area great leverage because the could promise to protect the other island's tribes from the Caribes.

Eventually the Spanish went ahead and killed off the Caribes and took their Island.

How can Garage work this into a Scott Walker eating the Unions that he killed angle?

And Sarah Palin definitely killed her own food supply as a child. Is killing a moose enough like killing Rudolph the red nosed reindeer? Dems could run that on MSNBC and see how much it distracts from news of Obama's economic disaster.

X said...

1978: Baylor 38, Texas 14
The famous "eat the worm" victory. Grant Teaff says he did not, however, eat a worm. He merely chomped on it as part of a pre-game pep talk. In the final game of a disappointing season, Baylor stunned ninth-ranked Texas in a victory Teaff called "the turning point of the entire program.

Revenant said...

I always liked that King story.

Tim said...

What about that whole
eating placenta thing?


Does that count?

I think it does.

bgates said...

you were a boy with a father and what would that be like?

A question Obama could ask me, the poor bastard.

The poor dog-eating bastard.

Tim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim said...

I'm just about a 100% sure, under normal circumstances, I would never knowingly eat Fido.

I'm completely sure I would never eat placenta.

That's just fucked up.

Those people shouldn't be allowed to breed.

HoTouPragmatosKurios said...

No comments string on the subject of cannibalism -- auto- or otherwise -- is truly complete without a link toMonty Python's lifeboat sketch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFDgSKbapzY

Alex said...

No amount of mental toughness can overcome electrolyte depletion.

Alex said...

Hmmm Fido tastes like chicken, a bit gamey but edible!

Hazy Dave said...

I've been reading Bloodlands this week. The description of cannibalism in the Soviet Ukraine when Stalin was starving the peasants is very sad. Thus, the Bizarro cartoon doesn't seem very funny. A government powerful enough to give you everything is powerful enough to take away everything. And the Five Year Plan was declared a success.

Dante said...

There once was a man from Nantucket . . .

William said...

During famines and sieges, cannibalism happens and not infrequently. It is a last resort, but it happens. It is seldom written about, because, post facto, who's going to brag about how they survived Leningrad......Mad cow disease apparently happens as a result of cow's being fed meal that contains cow flesh. There are reasons beside aesthetics for avoiding human flesh. I would urge all of the Althouse community not to indulge in this practice.

themightypuck said...

Barring some pathology, your body is perfectly capable of cannibalizing itself. Chopping of bits of yourself seems highly inefficient.

Mitchell said...

The thing that sucks about self-cannibalism is you don't get to take on the powers of whatever you ate.

deborah said...

William, we rely on you so :)

It occurs to me that a movie about the Donner Party would be incredibly disturbing. I've read two magazine articles about it, and it's absolutely chilling. That they missed getting through the pass by one day is sad.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

The Stephen King story is a nasty one. All the guy has is a basic surgical kit and a massive supply of heroin, and by the end of the tale, he's eaten both his own legs right up to the pelvis and his earlobes, and has started in on his left arm. One of many of his stories I rather wish I hadn't read.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Cf. Jasper Becker's Hungry Ghosts.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

And of course there is Alive. More or less based on a true story.

Jaske said...

I remember the King story whenever I encounter the cannibalism subject, it's like a dead animal in the basement that announces itself when the basement door is opened. I thought of it as soon as I started reading the post. I can't watch the movie Alive, it would be in my head the entire time.

If you're tempted to read it, don't. Once you've read it, you can't unread it.

Anthony said...

Whoever cooked snake for Obama wasn't a very good cook. Snake meat doesn't have to be tough. At least the high Sierra rattlesnake I ate while in Boy Scouts wasn't tough.

mikee said...

I recall in Solzhynitsin's Gulag Archipelago he describes a person starving in a prison camp who sliced off a piece of his own thigh, cooked it briefly and ate it.

Bill said...

The dog probably didn't have to be tough either. Braise it like any other tough cut of meat: low and slow, until the connective tissue turns to gelatin.

I remember Norman Schwartzkopf describing eating an eyeball as a boy. (He and his father were guests of somebody somewhere in the Mid East, so not eating it wasn't an option.)

[From memory]
"Do you know what an eyeball tastes like?"
Interviewer: "No...."
"Neither do I -- it went straight past my tongue and down my throat, without even slowing down!"

deborah said...

My son gave me the King story to read, and being about 20 at the time, he thought it was good. It is a silly story, but one that you think about for the next week. In retrospect, I picture the guy as Johhny Depp.

Teri said...

Tim said...
I'm completely sure I would never eat placenta.

That's just fucked up.

Those people shouldn't be allowed to breed.


Er, Tim, at that point it's a little too late . . .

JAL said...

The ability to move from tough to crunchy as a literary device is something I have never heard Obama even get close to in the years he has been communciating with us.

That kind of sophistication is quite lacking.

Now, I wonder why why why?

el polacko said...

looks like our hostess' jungle fever is acting up again. maybe it's just because it's springtime.

Jim in St Louis said...

Yes, I thought that too. "An article about how freaking brilliant Obama is as a communicator." How many of these types of fan letters have I read posted on the ether? Is there an Althouse tag for that subject? Something about pant creases comes to mind, but tis vauge in my memory.

Jim S. said...

Stephen King short story "Survivor Type": an immoral surgeon stranded on a deserted island resorts to surgically removing parts of his own body and consuming them to survive. Fun reading.

Jim S. said...

Oops, sorry, I didn't read the extended entry.

John said...

The option of auto-cannibalism is one major reason that multi-cellularity evolved, according to Peter Holland's short Kindle book The Animal Kingdom. It's rather handy to carry your own food supply with you at all times. And in some sense every one of us does it - we build up body fat, then digest it when we don't have enough food.

ken in sc said...

The dog meat I ate in the Philippines did not taste like chicken. It was tough and stringy and soaked in barbecue sauce. It tasted a little like calve's liver.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Jaske,

[about Stephen King's "Survivor Type"]:

If you're tempted to read it, don't. Once you've read it, you can't unread it.

True. Since we've basically given away the plot here already, at least don't read the rest of the book it's from. You will regret it, at least at nighttime.