A feline clearly exhibiting endocannibalistic behavior. Photo by Noah Sussman.
I received an email a few months ago from the Internet with a (no subject) subject line and a body that read: “i am hungry. you are savory. we should meet. sincerely, the Internet.” A day later, I got a similar email asking if I could send a flavor sample of my marrow, and also, which would make a better companion for my meat: carrots or onions? I replied that neither was good and “though I’m usually open to new things, I’m not too sold on the idea of being eaten yet… but if I had to choose I’d prefer to taste like turkey gravy.”
Then, something strange happened. Every website I visited showed the same three advertisements: An event advertisement for “Cannibal Lecture, March 30th at 9 PM” an ad for a supposed non-fiction book, Killing, Cooking, and Eating Humans by Jeff E. Dahmer, and an ad for a growing social group called “Dumpster Diverse” which I think is an affirmative action program for freegans. I clicked on “Cannibal Lecture,” as it actually looked pretty interesting, and discovered a whole world I’d never known. The Internet was bringing me closer to its hellmouth, so that I might better understand its sudden desire to consume me.
Anthropophagy, or the study of cannibalism, is deemed by anthropologists worldwide as the “dopest shit ever” to research on the Internet, so I took the opportunity to check out what I was getting into as a potential candidate for being eaten alive.
It turns out there was a prominent cannibal network set up online a little over a decade ago that could be seen as a proto-match.com for cannibals and their willing cannibalees. Could a normal, human cannibal be posing as the Internet to lure me into its home, only to reveal itself as a mortal and thus unworthy of my flesh?
I got another email from the Internet a couple hours later: “you’re on the wrong path. seek elsewhere, my tasty man-morsel.” I looked into the different varieties of cannibalism, hoping to find some indication that the Internet had eaten people before and thus give me a precedent for how to respond.
In-group cannibals, called endocannibals, eat certain parts of those who have passed on for spiritual or ceremonial reasons, and exocannibals eat those who have, they feel, wronged them in some way – typically in warfare. I think I understand the origin of the ceremonial “roasting,” which historically must have been a place for Don Rickles to feed on people after he insulted them to death. Also, if you bite your nails then you qualify as an autocannibal, which is similar to being a starving narcissist, and you could also be a symbolicannibal, but only if you take communion literally.
Part of me was honored to be chosen as a meal, but the other part was a little worried I might not taste good enough. What if my marrow wasn’t sufficiently rich? My breast meat not tender enough? What if, god forbid, my brain tasted like mealworms and stale sausage? I struggled mightily with my taste, licking and biting myself until I realized that if it came down to the wire, I’d have to marinate myself in barbecue sauce the night before I was eaten.
And so, on the brink of being eaten by the place where I’ve written countless stupid comments and watched all sorts of dumb videos, I had a revelation: it was my e-destiny to be consumed by that which had raised me, informed me, and nurtured me for so long. From Newgrounds to Gawker, the Internet had fed me too much and for too long for me not to give back. And what better way to repay a lifetime of Internet food by offering up my own life? I also always wanted to tell the Internet to “byte me.”
Looking back, it’s what I’d always wanted – to become one with the Internet, to attain cyber nirvana. And not only am I inside the Internet’s big fat belly right now, but I know the passwords. All the passwords. I’m in your computer, reading your secret sexy emails and reviewing your web browsing history so that I may serve the Internet as its first-ever human sacrifice coordinator, and also because it’s fun as hell looking at the weird crap you people look at on the Internet. Freaks.