Thursday, October 18, 2007

On Cannibalism: Cannibalis Humongous

Laogzed here. I am god of the troglodytes. Sarcasmus, AKA Dan, the host of this blog, has assured me that, everyday, thousands of healthy human readers read this internet site. I have been offered this venue to set the record straight in those matters where humans and troglodytes intersect. I have already blogged three times on issues that are important to me, and I am very happy about this dialogue. Namely, no complaints so far. So let us go onward into these undiscovered geographies of human and troglodyte relations, interests and issues!

I am in bit of a dilemma. I am caught up in a troglodyte scandal that wouldn't normally concern the likes of you. But it occurs to me that in this venue I can mull upon matters openly that I could not in the troglodyte community. So hear me out.

I am one of a very few elite of troglodytes that has managed to make intelligible sense of the human world. Basically, because I have been able to learn English, I have scratched and poked my way to the top of the Troglodyte shit-pile.

Excuse me. I am not as self-assured as I usually am. I'm not on the ball. I'm not in the pocket. (I must exercise my idiomatic English.) I have been flustered as of late. As God of the Troglodytes, I am in charge of promoting troglodyte causes, and ensuring the well-being of troglodytes in general. But lately there has been talk in the troglodyte community about me, not because I have started opining in English. No. Instead, it concerns the ethics of my eating habits, and that is because I have imported human ideas into the troglodyte community. There has been much discourse as of late on this topic.

This topic, Oh Dear Me, the topic of concern is, one, namely, the topic of cannibalism.

(I fell in love with English language at a young age. I love these words. These are beautiful sounds that your lovely human mouths form everyday. Listen to them: Cannibal;Cannibalizing and cannibalized. But I should try to get to the point. And gods should not parenthesize. Everything we utter is important.)

Let's find some common ground. According to the English dictionary, Webster, the definition of a cannibal is "One that eats the flesh of its own kind." Keep this definition in mind. It is so easy to take our definitions for granted. I continue.

No need to go too deeply into my personal life, but I offhandedly remarked that the humans have this idea of cannibals, and cannibalizing. Christ, I had no idea what a can of worms I opened by doing this. Christ, Christ, Christ.

Let me set the scene, as they say. I was eating supper of my family. Arg. Ugh. The ocean that is the English language can be tricky to navigate. I need to be aware of my prepositions. (There are no prepositions in the troglodyte language. ) Let me rephrase: I was eating supper with my family. Dinner is a lovely time; we all sit at the dinner pit--it is quite a democracy--the sound of laughter and gnashing, the smells of dead things and rich sauces. And, anyhow, as God of the troglodytes, the troglodytes always send me gifts in tribute to my superiority, and often these gifts come in form of interesting pickled things. And eating one of the many of things amongst the festival of food, I mentioned to my cousin that what I was doing, was, technically, in human terms, "cannibalistic." By eating the treat offered to me out kindness by one of my subjects, I said to my cousin--let's call him cousin "B"--I was engaging in what humans call "cannibalism." Mind you, this was just idle chit-chat. But, as seems inevitable in hindsight, this idea escaped the inner sanctum of my dinner court. Thusly, tragically, the troglodytes have the human idea of being "cannibal," and "cannibalistic."

Be assured, gentle, tender reader, forever more I shall be more careful about what I learn from human culture! But now they have this alien, human idea. It's outrageous, but there is no denying it. I am a troglodyte, and therefore if I eat a troglodyte, I am a cannibal.

This has caused me some problems. As you say in Human English, a real dilly of a pickle. (That is a very strange idiomatic expression, I think. I don't think I will use it again.) But while we are on the prickly subjects of definitions and pickles, let us look at another definition:

Pickle: Noun: an article of food that has been preserved in brine or in vinegar; specifically : a cucumber that has been so preserved
Let us be exact here: in Human English, a pickle is food that has been preserved in brine or in vinegar, but, SPECIFICALLY, a cucumber. And, coordinately, a cannibal is one that eats the flesh of one's own kind. But what is a cannibal--or cannibalism--in the specific? I think it is very likely if not totally probable that all of this controversy in the troglodyte community about my so-called "cannibalistic practices" can be tempered by creating more accurate definitions. To be certain, this is a squeamish issue for a troglodyte, and so it must be positively disgusting for a human. But, bear with me, I must continue this line of thought to its logical conclusion.

To mollify my sweet troglodytes, who wish to offer gifts to me in honor of my superiority, but in a way that upholds their dignity, I propose both a specific definition for cannibalism, as well as a general definition. Other wise, the troubles will get worse, and I may not be able to contain them by my usual methods.

Here are my suggestions for the Human English Dictionaries: Cannibalism, in the general, yes, is and should be defined as the act of eating one's own kind. But cannibalism in the specific must surely only refer to eating one's own kind as a main meal! So, if you are a human, if you eat the flesh of another human, you are a cannibal in the general. But specific cannibalism is the wanton consumption of another human's flesh for the purposes of sating one's appetite. Quite a difference, wouldn't you say!

And, so the ethics emerge in relief: all cannibalism is wrong. But specific cannibalism is more wrong than general cannibalism, just as a specific pickle is a cucumber pickle, while a general pickle can be anything pickled.

And so, I beseech those in the human community to spread this idea. Dan has told me of the thousands of the moist human eyeballs that graze these words everyday. Let it be known that the god of troglodytes has proclaimed that all cannibalism is wrong.

But I am allowed a cannibalistic snack, because my snack is cannibalistic in the general, not in the specific. And, to be more specific, pickled flesh does not count as a meal in the specific. And this is the aforementioned dilly of the pickle. (I'm not sure I have mastered this idiomatic expression, excuse my abuse of your beautiful language!) Because I, in general, as God of the Troglodytes, eat pickled flesh quite often. In fact, troglodyte flesh is only, strictly, edible in pickled form. And this is where this definition, or, rather, this redefinition, displays its utility. Unpickled troglodyte flesh is akin to the human taste for catfish. Raw catfish are delectable to the average troglodyte (as are raw cats.) But to a human, catfish must be amplified, garnished, or in some way changed in order for them to become edible. I know this because I have watched quite a number of cooking shows on human cable TV. Anywise, only really hungry troglodytes (and there are many) are able to ingest an untreated piece of troglodyte meat.

For most of troglodyte history, cannibalism, in its general sense, has been widely practiced, refined, accepted, appreciated. Really, the pickling of troglodyte flesh has a proud tradition. It is an art. In the troglodyte language, the word for pickling and the word for "green" are the same. In greening the troglodyte flesh, the artisan ripens the great flavors that are buried in the extremely bitter and tough connecting tissues harvested from any troglodyte, be it young or old. (This cherished, age-old tradition would be a good subject for a post in the future.) My previous post was about the magnificent flavors of children, and how this impacts the well-being of my beloved troglodytes. I believe I mentioned that the flavors of sick children paled in comparison to the succulent lushness of healthy children. And I also mentioned that the great troglodyte chefs can surmount these obstacles by principled use of traditional troglodyte food preparation techniques. These time-honored, meticulous procedures are the result of centuries upon centuries of refinements in the practice of "greening" troglodyte meats. Greening is integral to troglodyte tradition and culture. The processes arose out of necessity to make good meals with limited resources. No doubt, there are other culinary traditions, if not eminent cuisines, that were inspired to maximize nutrition, enjoyment and flavor in desperate times.

So, this is what all the ruckus is about. Should we abandon our savory, hallowed heritage because of this unintentionally imported human concept of general cannibalism? It should be obvious that my point of view is that troglodytic traditions should be upheld; we are a distinct species from humans. I believe that the troglodytes have a lot to learn from homo sapiens, but when it comes to a good meal, sometimes we must fall back on our legacies, or traditions. I say, let us embrace the new, but let us not let go of the past. If we latch-on to human trends, just as if humans latch-on to troglodytic trends, we may lose contact of the the accumulated collective insights that our ancestors went to so much trouble to compile. And if there's one thing worse than consuming your brethren, it is consuming your past; the loss of memory is the loss of the Earth. Subterranean or otherwise. Thank you.

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