Yesterday, I posted an entry on this blog that discussed the surprising relationship between National Hamburger Day and the belief that the world will end on December 21, 2012. That discussion was laced with a bit of unintentional irony: there’s always been a strong correlation between the consumption of greasy hamburgers and impending death.
The proof? Look no further than the fast food industry.
Medical professionals generally recognize that hamburgers, french fries and soft drinks are not the hallmarks of a healthy and nutritious diet. Researchers have, for example, observed a strong correlation between the consumption of fast food and obesity. Not surprisingly, approximately two-thirds of adults and nearly one-third of children are overweight or obese. They now face increasing risks to their health, including significantly greater chances of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, liver and gallbladder disease, type 2 diabetes and various cancers. The aggregate medical costs associated with obesity for adults has been estimated to be as high as $147 billion, which is roughly equivalent to the cost of 39.6 billion Big Macs.
Blah, blah, blah. And blah. I know, I know. This isn’t anything that hasn’t already received a significant amount of coverage. This isn’t anything that isn’t already well know. This isn’t anything cutting-edge or insightful. This post is boring.
Fine. You know what concerns me more than fast food and obesity? Eating my friends, my colleagues and my peers.
The thought of cannibalism among co-workers didn’t terrify Dennis Storm and Valerio Zeno, the hosts of the Dutch television show Proefkonijnen, which translates to English as Test Rabbits. During a recent episode of the program, they ate each other. Literally.
The whole thing sounds a bit surreal. A butcher provided advice about the best cuts of human flesh and a surgeon removed a strip of flesh from Zeno’s gut and a chunk of meat from Storm’s butt. A chef fried the food…er…. flesh in sunflower oil and served it to the hosts, along with a side order of asparagus. Zeno and Storm then proceeded to feed on each other.
Eat your heart out, Martha Stewart. Not literally. Figuratively, dammit.
The meal may have conjured images of Armin Meiwes, but Zeno and Storm didn’t necessarily experience any significant problems with the cannibalistic feast. Storm, for example, remarked that his healthy lifestyle may probably caused his ass to compare favorably with Kobe beef. He also explained that
There’s nothing really special about human meat… It is weird to look into the eyes of a friend when you are chewing on his belly. It was just a few centimetres of meat – and now I have a good story about the scar.
At least Storm didn’t claim that his buddy’s belly tasted like chicken. I hear that everything tastes like chicken.
Regardless, I’m still not really sure what to say. This isn’t a situation similar to the nightmare thrust upon the survivors of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, who lived through the crash of a chartered flight and reluctantly turned to cannibalism to keep from starving while awaiting rescue. The hosts simply decided to taste each other and, their dining habits notwithstanding, at least appear to be fairly normal. That means that there’s nothing to suggest that they share any commonality with Jeffrey Dahmer, Albert Fish or any other well known connoisseur of human flesh. They’re just two guys who hosted their own Donner Party and gave a new meaning to the phrase “Bite Me!”
That’s just really freakin’ weird. And it sure does make fast food look a little more appetizing, and obesity suddenly seems like a minor consequence of an otherwise convenient lifestyle. It even makes the Food Network appear to be high-quality cable television. I’m pretty darn sure that Rachel and Guy wouldn’t swap a buttocks for a belly, and that alone puts them in the conversation for an Oscar, the Nobel Peace Prize, or whatever award is typically conferred to a program that doesn’t involve cannibalism.