New York Times Accused of ‘Normalizing’ Cannibalism
Cannibalism “has a time and a place,” according to a recent New York Times piece that was blasted for “normalizing” human consumption.
In an essay published in the New York Times on Saturday — titled “A Taste for Cannibalism?” — writer Alex Beggs discussed recent media involving cannibalism.
“A spate of recent stomach-churning books, TV shows and films suggests we’ve never looked so delicious — to one another,” she wrote.
Cannibalism has a time and a place. Some recent books, films and shows suggest that the time is now. Can you stomach it? https://t.co/JzU1QRPYxV
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 23, 2022
“Turns out, cannibalism has a time and a place,” she added, noting that recently published books and media hint “that time is now.”
Beggs cited several examples of this trend, including the dystopian Showtime series Yellowjackets, which follows the lives of a girls’ soccer team that crash lands in the Canadian wilderness, where the girls spend about a year separated from modern society.
During their isolation, the girls form Lord of the Flies-style feral clans and resort to cannibalism.
The pilot episode depicts a trapped teenage girl who “bled out like a deer and served on a platter in a terrifying ritual.”
“The show’s tension is in the knowledge that you know cannibalism is coming, but when? And why?” Beggs wrote.
The series’ co-creator, Ashley Lyle, offered her own insight into what might be “fueling the desire for cannibalism stories today.”
“I think that we’re obviously in a very strange moment,” she said, noting the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, school shootings, and the country’s current political state as possible factors.
“I feel like the unthinkable has become the thinkable,” Lyle added, “and cannibalism is very much squarely in that category of the unthinkable.”
In one episode, there was a subtle attempt to support abortion mill operators by depicting a young woman backing out of an amateur abortion because she feared she could die without professional assistance.
Beggs also cited Fresh, a gory cannibal movie released on Hulu in March about a doctor that dismembers and eats women, as well as the novel Lapvona published in June, which “portrays cannibalism in a medieval village overcome by plague and drought.”
The novel’s author, Ottessa Moshfegh, posed her theory that cannibalism “might be an antidote to the actual horror of what’s happening to the planet.”
Admitting her work is “a bit disturbing” even to her, Moshfegh said she “had to think about what part of the body would be an interesting place to start and how it would feel to hold someone’s severed hand in yours.”
Beggs also listed the 2020 book Tender Is the Flesh, which “imagines a future society that farms humans like cattle,” and Raw, a film that “tells the story of a vegetarian veterinary student whose taste for meat escalates after consuming raw offal.”
Another soon-to-be-released film, Bones and All, is about a “young love that becomes a lust for human consumption.”
“A fascination with cannibalism, perhaps not surprisingly, can toe a fine line,” Beggs wrote.
Beggs noted that for Chelsea Summers, author of A Certain Hunger — which tells of a restaurant critic who craves human flesh — the eating of human flesh can be seen as a way to hold on to a former relationship.
“More generally, Ms. Summers thinks that the recent spate of cannibalistic plots could also be commentaries on capitalism,” she adds.
In response to the piece, Twitter users blasted the attempt to “normalize” the consumption of human flesh.
“So now the Leftists running the @NYTIMES think cannibalism is hip,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton wrote.
So now the Leftists running the @NYTIMES think cannibalism is hip. https://t.co/YsQu3FHk1G
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) July 23, 2022
“@NYTIMES, taking a break from promoting the mass killing of the unborn through abortion, promotes cannibalism,” he wrote in another tweet.
“Stop. Normalizing. Cannibalism,” political commentator Ian Miles Cheong wrote.
Stop. Normalizing. Cannibalism.
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) July 23, 2022
“Post-Christian culture seems a lot like pre-Christian culture,” columnist Jon Gabriel wrote.
Post-Christian culture seems a lot like pre-Christian culture. https://t.co/OjTu3NV0oi
— Jon Gabriel (@exjon) July 23, 2022
“WTH are you even saying right now? Between normalizing pedos and now cannibalism, when [can we] expect your promotion of a live PURGE night?” radio host Monica Matthews asked.
WTH are you even saying right now? Between normalizing pedos and now cannabalsm, when we can expect your promotion of a live PURGE night? https://t.co/Ps6NgMjcvh
— Monica Matthews On Air (@monicaonairtalk) July 23, 2022
“First they encourage you to go vegan, and then…,” political commentator Suzanne Evans wrote.
First they encourage you to go vegan, and then… https://t.co/Yr1uVxLN1B
— Suzanne Evans 💜 (@SuzanneEvans1) July 24, 2022
“Western ‘Liberalism’ on its next logical step,” author Sankrant Sanu wrote.
Western “Liberalism” on its next logical step. https://t.co/OVgrYxByWb
— Sankrant Sanu सानु संक्रान्त ਸੰਕ੍ਰਾਂਤ ਸਾਨੁ (@sankrant) July 23, 2022
“WTF??? Why is the New York Times promoting Cannibalism?” one Twitter user asked.
“Communism, pedophilia, and cannibalism… What’s going on with the writers at the New York Times?” another Twitter user asked, adding, “Sick stuff coming out of there.”
In 2019, Swedish behavioral scientist Magnus Söderlund suggested that eating other people after they die could be a means of combating climate change.
The scientist mentioned the possibility of embracing cannibalism during a broadcast on Swedish television channel TV4 about a fair in Stockholm regarding “food of the future”.
The same year, Newsweek suggested that because cannibalism is found throughout the animal kingdom, perhaps it is time for humans to rethink the “ultimate taboo” against eating human flesh.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.
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