In defence of cannibalism

by Toby Manhire / 09 May, 2013
“Eat me,” beseeches Slate editor.
What’s a bit of cannibalism between friends?

Reports that point to evidence of human flesh eating among the Jamestown colonists in the devastating winter of 1609 - the Smithsonian Magazine account begins: “New archaeological evidence and forensic analysis reveals that a 14-year-old girl was cannibalised in desperation” - had prompted waves of “horror and fascination”, writes David Plotz, editor of online magazine Slate.

“Cannibalism occupies a dark cellar in our brains”, triggering “fear and disgust”, he says.

Even when the cannibalism is driven by necessity rather than perversion – so-called “survival cannibalism” – most people are repulsed.

But Plotz isn’t repulsed.

Indeed, eating human corpses in starvation circumstances makes sense, he argues. In a post sparely but evocatively headlined “Eat Me”, he puts it plainly:

If you ever find yourself with my corpse at a remote plane crash site, you know what to do. These meaty thighs, the well-marbled belly, the beer-soaked liver—they won’t be of any more use to me. Please help yourself.

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