Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Something to Chew On

  I went to see ‘World War Z’ this past weekend because I agreed to go see it before I found out the Z stood for Zombie. I’ve seen the movies ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and ‘Dawn of the Dead’ 30 years ago, but I’ve tended to stay away from movies where dead people rise up and start eating living people. Having said that, World War Z was a riveting film that had me jumping out of my seat more than a few times. The best scene was the Zombies climbing over each other to scale the hundred foot high wall around Jerusalem and the instant carnage that results when they enter the city.

  What was different about the zombies in World War Z was that they weren’t true flesh eating zombies, just zombies driven bite non infected humans in order to infect them so they would turn into zombies also. Eventually the hero of the story (Brad Pitt as UN Inspector Gerry Lane) theorizes that the zombies won’t attack deathly ill people and injects himself with a deadly but curable illness to test his theory. I won’t give away any more of the plot except to say that the movie is very well made and if you like being scared you will probably like this movie a lot..

  I don’t know about other countries, but flesh eating (zombies or not) has always had a particular fascination with the American public. Who could imagine a more grisly end than to be killed and eaten by a bunch of unthinking zombies? ‘Night of the Living Dead’ was a box office hit in the late 60’s and the 1973 book ‘Alive’ was a sensation not only for the fortitude of the survivors of the plane crash in the Andes who prevailed against insurmountable odds but also that they survived by eating the flesh of their fallen comrades. It was a national topic of conversation as people asked themselves and each other if they would eat human flesh if there were no alternative but to perish. No one really knows what they would do in that situation until confronted by it but most people admitted they would eat the human remains with the deciding factor being that they would be on the menu for the people who would if they died.

  Aside from the zombies (who rarely get to reprise their roles) the first mainstream cannibal was Hannibal Lecter. Lecter was the main character in a trilogy of books (Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal) that became popular movies with Anthony Hopkins winning an Academy Award for his rendition of Hannibal in 1991’s ‘Silence of the Lambs’. While being a sadistic cannibal, Hannibal is also a sort of anti-hero who helps FBI agent Clarice Starling catch a serial killer that is making a dress from the skins of his victims, but then Lecter escapes FBI imprisonment by cutting off the face of one of the prison guards to use as an improvised disguise. In the third Hannibal movie titled ‘Hannibal’, Lecter drugs Ray Liotta (who plays an FBI agent that is mean to Clarice), opens his skull with one of those Dremel tools, and proceeds to cut little supposedly non-essential pieces out of Liotta’s brain, sauté them in his frying pan, and feed it to Liotta (who exclaims how good it is)!

Don't ask for seconds, Ray!

  As if that wasn’t enough cannibal action, Hannibal then proceeds to take some of his ‘brain’ food onto his getaway flight and shares it with the curious youth on the plane at the end of the movie!! If people weren’t both repelled and attracted by the character of Hannibal Lecter, he wouldn’t be the star of a network TV series that has been renewed for a second season on the NBC network. Hannibal has attained the status of top basketball players who are identified by only their first name (LeBron, Shaq, Kobe, Magic, etc...).

I wonder what they were eating in coach...

  Of course since truth is stranger than fiction, it didn’t take long for serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer to become a household name above and beyond other serial killers when the news broke that he had dismembered and eaten many of his victims. Hanibal Lecter was ‘Dahmer Lite’ compared to the real thing, merely cooking pieces of his victim’s brain as compared to Dahmer’s injecting his victims’s brains with hydrochloric acid and boiling water in an attempt to turn them into mindless slaves and then dissolving his failed experiments in a barrel of acid to liquefy them for easy disposal. In the late 1990’s I was on the phone with my brother and when I told him you could find any information you wanted on the internet he bet me that I couldn’t find a web site with Jeffrey Dahmer jokes. Even though this was before the days of Google I collected on the bet in record time since there were plenty of sites devoted to Dahmer jokes. Here’s a sample: What did Jeffrey Dahmer do when his mother was late to dinner? He gave her the COLD SHOULDER!!.

  The West’s fascination with cannibalism recently became a focal point in the debate between Russia and the Western powers on how to resolve the Syrian Civil War. While Unites States President Obama has approved providing direct military aid to the Syrian rebels in response to the proof that the Syrian Government has been using chemical weapons, Russia has continued to deliver their contracted arms shipments to the Syrian government and is also considering sending the agreed upon sale of S-300 defense missiles which can shoot down planes and missiles at a range of up to 125 miles. In the most recent round of Arab World uprisings, the Western Nations have tended to take the side of rebels whether the country is ruled by friend (Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak) or foe (Libya’s Muammar Qadhafi) with the implication that the rebels are freedom fighters and therefore holders of the moral high ground. The Western powers have had their own way in most of these regional conflicts, but Russian President Vladimir Putin has contested the latest Western led resolution to an Arab uprising and even attempted to take the moral high ground from the rebels, thanks to a cannibalistic missile captured on video of a Syrian rebel cutting out the heart of his enemy and taking a bite out of it. Putin questioned the wisdom of arming the Syrian rebels after the release of the shocking video, saying "I believe you will not deny that one should hardly back those who kill their enemies and eat their organs. ... Do you want to supply arms to these people?".

  Putin also said ‘those actions do not represent the "humanitarian and cultural values" of Europe or Russia’. He may be right about Russia, but I’d have to see how Hannibal did in the European box office before gauging their appetite for arming ‘organ-eating’ rebels..

Maybe we can arm these rebels with silverware instead of munitions...