Cannibalism: Sharpen Your Mind and Your Cutlery by Cliff Mazer, Ph.D.
In an attempt to shore up my self-image as an intellectual, I ordered the book, Cannibalism: Human Aggression and Cultural Form by Eli Sagan from Amazon.com (gently used/nibbled for 99 cents).
The author, I was surprised to find out, is NOT Carl Sagan’s idiot-savant brother nor is he the famous Cosmologist’s first cousin with high functioning Aspergers and a thing for eating people. I guess I must have made up those non-existent family associations due to my own diagnostic dog tags, namely being ADD and prone to excessive imagination. For no good reason I imagined receiving in the mail an enormous, dense, meticulously researched textbook about cannibals with startling ramifications and “billions and billions” of carefully crafted connecting dots leading (like Hansel and Gretel’s bread crumbs) to our current warmongering patriarchal capitalistic culture. Wow, that last sentence had a crapful of C-words in it. Go ahead, count them up. I dare you.
Given the engrossing as well as gross topic, I prepared for my literary deep-dive into mankind’s demonic past by buying two extra large beef jerky packages at Krogers (one teriyaki, one peppered). I prefer engaging in this atavistic-ritualistic type flesh eating when I get an opportunity to observe human behavior at its most primitive, like when I watch Cops or The Worlds Dumbest Brawlers on the boob tube. Similarly, when I read this kind of anthropological horror show stuff I like to get myself into the Marlon Brando-Colonel Kurtz role in “Apocalypse Now”. Instead of reading The Golden Bough and muttering, “The horror, the horror…”, I rip into a big chunk of jerky with my cosmetically enhanced teeth and try to figure out why classical theism is considered only a “serviceable” definition of ritual and religion in evolutionary perspective……whaaat? WTF does that even mean? I was hoping for a couple of cool color pictures (Ogrish style) of human intestines on the barbie but there arent any in Sagan’s miniscule egghead book. What a ripoff!
Ok, update. The book came in the mail yesterday. It is small, thin, and written in a font type that may require halogen spotlights if not a portable electron microscope. Using a jeweler’s loop to read this book might take longer than I expected. I got stuck on page x of the Foreward where Sagan’s esteemed colleague, Robert Bellach manages to eloquently applaud the author while simultaneously evicerating and diseboweling him verbally. I smell a MENSA cat fight, or more likely a vicious intellectual throw-down between Ivy League educated monkey scholars with psychoanalytic training.
Can’t we just skip ahead in the book to the good part like the South American rugby players who got stranded in the Andes mountains for 72 days in a plane crash with two women, a guitar and no food? How about a couple of nice black and white pictures of Nando walking off the mountain like a goddamn super-hero with home-made boots culled from airplane debris and a pocket full of sun-dried human jerky? Will we ever get to the snow-bound and starving Donner Party and the kind of man-eat-man history that led my alma mater, the U. of Colorado to name our campus cafeteria after one of the cannabalistic survivors, Alfred E. Packer? I dont know why but just knowing that fact made those damn burgers taste better and a little bit more…well, exotic- forbidden good. Not too gamey, well charred on the outside…….good with catsup, relish, red wine and fava beans.
I will keep my avid readers informed on my progress reading this little devil of a book. I suspect it will get better when I make it past page 3 of the Foreward.
PS Random Fact: Did you know there is a official store policy at Krogers that if your food item is incorrectly priced or if it is not hung on the correct peg, you get the item for free? I found this out when I got my two jumbo bags of beef jerky (see above) for the price of one. I left quickly to prevent myself from acting on impulse and going back to the meat aisle to casually rearrange filet mignon packages. Say, what are those pricey steaks doing hanging in the produce section?? Hey, a mans gotta eat, even a caveman or cannibal. Just ask Nando or Alfred E. Packer.