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Cannibalism Can Have Positive Meanings and Motives
"We assume that cannibalism is always an aggressive, barbaric and degrading act," says Beth A. Conklin, an associate professor of anthropology at Vanderbilt University. "But that is a serious over-simplification, one that has kept us from realizing that cannibalism can have positive meanings and motives that are not that far from our own experience."

Conklin's perspective is based on an intensive study of the Wari, a group of native people who live in the Amazon rainforest. Her fieldwork provides detailed confirmation about how and why the Wari practiced an elaborate form of cannibalism until the 1960s, when government workers and missionaries forced them to abandon the practice.

Get Conklin's book Consuming Grief.
It happens all the time, all over the world. Here are some odds and ends to ponder.

Self-cannibalism
Self-cannibalism is just that: the practice of eating oneself. Natural forms include the unintentional ingesting of blood during a nose bleed or swallowing sloughed off cells from your tongue or cheeks, but your body is eating itself all the time and you don't even know it. Autophagy is the normal process of self-degradation by cells. It is self-eating at a cellular level.

Other forms of self-cannibalism includes consciously sucking your own blood (autovampirism), eating your hair (trichophagia), and fingernail and cuticle biting.

Some people practice self-cannibalism as an extreme form of body modification too. An exmaple of this is eating your own skin. Many people around the world practice Placentophagy, the act of eating the placenta after childbirth.

Chilean artist Marco Evaristti at a recent exhibit in Santiago served up a giant meatball made from his own fat that was sucked up during liposuction earlier in the year.

"Ladies and gentleman, bon appetit," said Evaristti, a glass in his hand, to his dining companions seated night around a table in Santiago's Animal Gallery. On the plates in front of them was a serving of agnolotti pasta and in the middle, the meatball.

Nyotaimori
Often referred to as body sushi, it is where a restaurant serves sushi and sashimi on a naked woman's body. It is recognized as an art form in Japan and has been part of the Geisha culture dating back hundreds of years. The practice, which has spread in a 'bastardized version' to Los Angeles and New York, involves placing sushi on clear plastic wrap over the torso of a model wearing little more than a thong and a few strategically placed flower petals. Not exactly the original intention of the art. Wimps!

Spawned from Nyotaimori is a new form of faux-cannibalism where a "body" is made from food and placed on an operating table, much as though in a hospital. You can operate anyway and anywhere you want by cutting open the body and eating what you find inside. The body will actually bleed as you cut it and the intestines and organs inside are completely editable.

Alfred Packer Grill
In 1968 students at the University of Colorado named the grill in the student union the Alferd G. Packer Memorial Grill, with the motto "Have a friend for lunch!" The cafeteria in the U.S. Department of Agriculture was also briefly named the Alfred Packer Memorial Grill.

National Geographic Endorses Cannibalism
"Fried human, barbecued human, broiled human, raw human…were these items on the menu of the day for our prehistoric ancestors? Quite possibly, according to genetic researchers.

Scientists from England, Australia, and Papua New Guinea say that cannibalism is the most likely explanation for their discovery that genes protecting against brain diseases that can be contracted by eating contaminated flesh have long been spread throughout the world."

Read the entire article here

Ted Turner Eats People
On PBS's Charlie Rose, Turner said about global warming: "We'll be eight degrees hotter in 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow. Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals." Is this just wishful thinking of the media mogul-turned-restaurateur?

Turner's claims don't sound too unreasonable considering there are polar bears already doing it in the southern Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska and the Yukon. The cause? Global warming, if you believe in it. If you don't then there are polar bears eating each other in the arctic just for the hell of it.