Thursday, December 04, 2003


This is not meant to be read as allegory. It’s not a metaphor for anything. And, above all, this is not magical realism.

She posted an announcement on his web page. She did it after reading about the electronics engineer in Germany who confessed to having seduced and eaten his “friend.” The friend was a new acquaintance who had responded to an internet dating post: WANT TO MEET PERSON FOR DISSECTION AND CONSUMPTION.

Ick. That was her first response. Later, she became curious. Who would respond to such an ad? Apparently, there were many. He had to field more than 400 responses. At least that’s what he said. Why would be so many people volunteer to be killed and eaten? That’s where the allegory attempts to insert itself.

She knew that she would not be interested in the process of having to wade through so many “contestants.” However, what if she tried the same experiment, but with a twist? In the U.S.? That sounded like a nice variation on the theme, the cantus having already established itself as being German -- although cyberspace strips a place of its geographical specificity.

Here is what she inserted on her website:

Metaphorically, it’s what happened every day of her life. But, she was not interested in the polite metaphor of exploitation. She was willing to experiment with the real.

Never mind that it was Kafka-esque.

She was, as you might imagine, inundated with responses, mainly male (or at least pretending to be). People who wanted to give it a whirl. She tried to make it perfectly clear that there was nothing figurative about her language. She was interested in proposed methods of dissection, instruments, and whether or not it first occurred to them to dissect her while still alive, or while conveniently not alive. If alive, would they want to anaesthetize her? And how would they propose to do that?

By day three, she was exhausted by the experiment, and dogged by a vague sense of nausea.

The nausea was not metaphorical, nor was it an indication of an existential stance, nor was it a philosophy.

History and literature abound with cannibal lore. She knew she was indirectly, if not directly contributing to it. It was a shame that her new "hunger artist" approach would not leave much room for her to chronicle the experience.