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some enchanted evening -- or, None Dare Call it Kishka

By Diogenes (articles ) | Dec 04, 2003

On March 9th, 2001, Arnim Meiwes killed, cooked, and ate his chum Bernd Jürgen Brandes. Shocked? You should be. After all, it was a Friday in Lent. But at least the relationship of diner to dined-upon was consensual -- and isn't that what true love is all about?

The court heard how Meiwes and Brandes had first made contact in February 2001 via the Gay Cannibals internet chatroom which was run by Meiwes under the alias Franky. ... After apparently settling his affairs in Berlin, Brandes took a train from Berlin to Kassel, and insisted that Meiwes kill him that very night. ...

Meiwes said the human flesh had provided him with "quite a few" meals. The meat tasted "like pork, but a little bit spicier".

Today, a majority of people in Western nations -- liberals as well as conservatives -- would probably feel a sense of residual horror at cannibalism. But the key word is "residual." Morally, mere visceral disgust is meaningless. Under the right conditions it can evaporate overnight. Abortion, sodomy, even contraception were once considered abominations and perversions by nearly all citizens, and -- this is the point -- even progressives would have sputtered in indignation had you suggested that they would come to tolerate these practices in the future.

But the indignation of progressives (like that of conservatives, unless anchored in a coherent system of morality) is simply a fashion statement, conceptually of no greater moment than one's taste in skirt length. In 1883 they recoiled from contraception as they recoiled from topless bathing costumes for men. In 1953, cheerfully contracepting, they would have been outraged at the intimation that their children would abort and their grandchildren contract gay marriages. In 2003 they applaud the Massachusetts SJC decision but get huffy if we point out the concomitant disappearance of any obstacle to incest or polygamy -- and they would become positively hostile if we suggested that their daughter in the Georgetown class of 2023 may end up eating her roommate (consensually), like a spider concluding her mating ritual.

For those whose moral decisions are guided by the Yuck Factor the pertinent question is not Whether but When. Of a forsaken principle they say, "We're beyond that"; of a still disconcerting novelty, "We're not ready to go there yet." Today, the Gay Cannibals chatroom pushes the envelope, and several spectators at Meiwes trial, nauseated by the testimony, had to leave the courtroom; tomorrow the same people who call this a "secret and sordid world" may be saying "Pass the ketchup."


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  • Posted by: - Dec. 07, 2003 11:04 AM ET USA

    Thess, I'm trying not to turn the CWR Sound Off! into a web discussion board, so I will keep it brief. My post was complimenting Diogenes example. The questions that you ask are best answered by studying Thomistic Metaphysics of which my personal favorite is the Existential Thomist, W Norris Clarke's The One and The Many. Peace.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 05, 2003 11:33 PM ET USA

    Pseudo: My engineering education does not alllow me to catch the irony here, and Worm Tongue stupor escapes me like some of Auden's poetry at first sight. But Diogenes' prose to describe this horror is extraordinarily good, IMO. How does the Church actually distinguish reception of the transubstantiated host from cannibalism? I've never read nor heard the words.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 05, 2003 11:23 PM ET USA

    Is it good with A1 or do ya get a pork gravy from the store? YUUUUUCCK!

  • Posted by: - Dec. 04, 2003 12:58 PM ET USA

    Quite right, Diogenes. Let's give it a few more years to ferment, and our ever-trusty Supreme Court justices (six of them anyway) shall find some precedent in international law that applies here. I imagine that Dr. Peter Singer is already debating on whether to have an obsolete elderly or sucking infant as long as they consent. And personal columns should be a hoot. Justice Marshall from to chime in?

  • Posted by: - Dec. 04, 2003 9:38 AM ET USA

    I'm not sure who will catch the irony of a cannibalism example. Many will no doubt think that Diogenes has gone off the deep end. But given the shock and revulsion that the earliest Christians faced when word of the Eucharistic sacrifice (Body and Blood of Christ) spread (the Christians are Cannibals!) and even the disbelief that greeted Christ's own words in the Gospels, I cannot think of a better example to snap people out of their WormTongue induced spiritual stupor.