Study Guide

Claude Lévi-Strauss Files

Some rough notes for my self-help book for cannibals

Preliminary titles: You Eat Potatoes, I Eat My Friend's Toes
Sushi: The Gateway Food
Food for Thought: Only Eat Smart People
Eat Right for Your Blood Type (taken)
Food Choices as Personal Insight
(so far, my #1)

  • I learned a lot by observing cannibals in those remote jungles. It wasn't one big gross-out. People are people all around the world… some people just eat human flesh, and others eat Taco Bell. Admittedly a big difference, but we can still learn about the human condition by studying cannibals.
  • How you cook can tell you something about yourself. The idea that cooking is a lot like language is important to my theories, but how does that help people get at their deep-seated problems? Do they find themselves puréeing everything (perhaps a longing and nostalgia for the Gerber-fueled days of infancy)?
  • Everyone knows that going vegetarian is much healthier. I don't want to overplay the "cannibalism is incest" card, but how do I get people to eat less meat and have more appropriate family relationships without implying offensive and sordid activities?
  • Arguing that man will become happier if he becomes "one with nature" sounds hippy-dippy, but I do think that seeing nature as the enemy is just a bad attitude.
  • Can't believe the title Our Cannibals, Ourselves is already taken (see if that Priscilla Walton already snatched up the web address, too).
  • Could tap into the whole zombies trend (The Walking Dead!), but I'm not sure how that would help people—argue that we have all become automatons in a "dog-eat-dog" world? Discuss how desperate we are for human connection and how cannibalism is an "acting out" of this need to experience the presence of fellow man? After all, I did say: "The simplest way to identify with another is still to eat them" (source), so I can recycle some old material.
  • Could riff on the vampire craze, but that seems to be a trend on the wane. All that blood-sucking could serve the self-help angle by being a metaphor for super duper unhealthy relationships, though.
  • Have some serious thinking to do on what all this fast-food consumption has to do with self-help. People not cooking for themselves but eating buckets of trans fats could be a metaphor for self-loathing… suicide on the installment plan?