Politics and Culture in the Comic Zone

Daniel Rigney

Daniel Rigney
New Texas, USA
August 01
free-range writer
In this writing workshop and citizen's blog I'm exploring various short forms, often from a satiric angle. My interests include politics, culture and the human comedy; old and new media; social theory and urban ethnography; the commercialization, corporatization and tabloidization of everything; sustainability; Unitarianism (UU); coffee; and writing (sorry, I mean providing content). Turtle stamp is from Tandy Leather. Interested in republishing a piece? Contact drigney3@gmail.com.


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JUNE 1, 2012 11:41PM

Cannibalism in the News

Rate: 2 Flag

By Daniel Rigney

We interrupt this blog to bring you a special news bulletin.

Three separate cannibalism stories are breaking this morning* on the pixelated front page of the right-wing political tabloid, Drudge Report, linking to articles originating in Miami, Baltimore and Montreal.  All three concern the ultimate sin of the flesh.

Opening my morning screen, I first notice the Drudge headline, “Cannibal Stalking in Maryland.” A photo of a black male appears high on Drudge’s front page, linked to a report from Baltimore CBS affiliate WJZ, stating that the man in the photo has confessed to killing and cannibalizing another black male, from Ghana, also shown in a photo. 

Cannibal. Black. Africa. Stalking. Okay, Mr. Drudge, I think I see which direction you’re going with this. Far right.

Across the screen Drudge posts another cannibal story, linking this time to Miami CBS affiliate MYTV. The story once again displays a photo of a black male, alleged to have “chewed the face off a homeless man.” The Drudge headline reads “South Beach Cannibal Put Under Voodoo Curse,” though his girlfriend insists that he “loved God and always read the Bible.” His mother cries, “My son is no zombie.”

Okay, I’ve reached my limit on cannibalism stories for today.

But wait! There’s more!  At noon I tune in to Drudge Report again and learn, in a link to a dispatch from Rupert Murdoch’s British tabloid,The Sun, that still another cannibal is on the loose in Western civilization, this one last seen in Montreal.  He may be headed for England.

The Sun reports:

The hunt for a cannibal killer suspect has spread to Europe – months after The Sun warned Scotland Yard that he was dangerous. We showed cops a sick film of a live KITTEN fed to a snake and an email warning: “Once you kill and taste blood it’s impossible to stop.” [The suspect], 29, fled after his male partner - a missing Chinese student - was chopped up and eaten in Canada. Today cops said [the suspect] flew to Europe on Saturday and refused to rule out that he was not in England.

The accompanying photo shows a young male suspect. He’s white, not black. He’s identified as gay.

Kitten torturer. Murderer. Cannibal. Gay.  I think I get your drift, Mr. Murdoch.

Like the pixel-pushers in Murdoch's empire, Drudge cherry-picks his news anecdotes. He selects, arranges, and headlines them from an angle that gives his chosen stories a hard right spin. Drudge's rhetorical tactics in this case are even more obvious than usual. He plays upon the fears and anxieties of his  readers, generally frightened and uncritical thinkers to begin with, and feeds their fears -- in this instance, through the use of self-confirming racist, xenophobic and homophobic stereotypes.

Apparently this sensationalist right-wing  marketing ploy sells a lot of pixels in Drudge's key demographics.

Lurid accounts of cannibalism like these can be found as early as the 16th century, when seaman Hans Staden returned to his native Germany from early voyages to Brazil with tales of fleshing-eating savages, tales eagerly gobbled up by Europeans hungry for sensational news and entertainment. It's a taste that countless film-makers and tabloid reporters have since titillated, monetized and exploited.

Most interesting to me, though, is The Sun’s report that British police officials “refused to rule out” the possibility that a notorious Canadian flesh-eater might be roaming around Britain in search of a good English meal.

According to this same tabloid logic, we can't officially rule out the possibility that a young dark gay male cannibal is heading for your town, and possibly your own house, even as you read this. (What was that noise just now? It was probably nothing.)

Better make plans to move farther out into the paler exburbs, and stock up on guns and security systems, and vote for “get tougher” politicians with strong pro-life, anti-cannibal stances. And stay tuned to Drudge and Fox and your local crime news for updates on “what some are calling” the cannibal epidemic.

Tabloid stories like these can influence our political choices, our consumption of fear-industry products and entertainments, and our mental health.

Not to alarm you, but the Tabloid Stalker may be inside your house already, lurking in your cable, and coming after your brains -- if it hasn’t gotten to them already.

We can't rule out that possibility, can we?

Source: DrudgeReport, Friday morning (6/1/2012) and linked sites.


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Uh, I thought our Montreal cannibal had gone to France. (He had been in England last year and was tracked down by intrepid English journalists about his kitten-killing videos.)

Yah gotta admit that it's kinda weird, three cannibal stories in a week.

I agree that the Drudges of this world will make whatever racist and homophobic hay they can from these, ah, unfortunate incidents.
Haha: "sins of the flesh"
Thanks, Myriad. With seven billion people in the world now, tabloidizers can always find whatever story they want somewhere. I'll go back and look at the Sun story to see if it's about yet a fourth cannibal! Will this cannibal epidemic never end?
Myriad, the Montreal man (Magnotta) fled to London and now, according British tabloid onlineMail, is believed to have slipped over to France. Same guy, different days, I guess.
Don't know if this is authentic or what the timing of it is - just now got it off Facebook: Russian man kills and eats drinking partner after running out of snacks at vodka party... and sells.
I'm on the case, Myriad. I'm booking a flight to Russia tonight to track down this scoundrel. He sounds like our fourth cannibal of the week . Good eye!