To Serve Man: Cannibalism In History, Pop Culture, And Nature

May 15, 2013

Two cannibals are eating, and one of them says, "I don't like my mother in law," and the other one says: "So just eat the noodles."

Old joke and one of scores and scores of jokes about cannibalism. It's one of the ultimate taboos, so why is there so much comedy about it? Maybe the answer is contained in the question. Cannibalism kicks one of our massive anxiety tripwires, and we convert that into comedy because, we think, it's something we would never do. But as you'll hear on the show today, cannibalism is not as rare -- you should pardon the expression -- as you might think. Slate editor David Plotz, reacting to the recent news about cannibalism in the Jamestown colony, wrote that it might even be a rational response to desperate circumstances.  You can join the conversation. E-mail colin@wnpr.org or Tweet us @wnprcolin.