Redefining Cannibalism

I'm reading this truly bizarre Edwardian book right now called The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904). Don't even ask me to tell you what it's about, because I can't.

Anyway, there's a section early on in the novel where the author (G.K. Chesterton) recounts different schools of thought about how the world would develop, based on the rhetoric of different major figures. He writes that Cecil Rhodes "thought that the one thing of the future was the British Empire, and that there would be a gulf between those who were of the Empire and those who were not' (9).

I don't know a tremendous deal about Cecil Rhodes (apart from the fact that he was a huge imperialist and an even bigger asshole), but I do know that this sounds like exactly the sort of thing he'd say.

Then, however, Chesterton continues with this:

"his [Cecil Rhodes's] impetuous friend, Dr. Zoppi . . . carried it yet further, and held that, as a result of this view, cannibalism should be held to mean eating a member of the Empire" (9).

So you could theoretically eat any member of the 'savage' nations which had not come under the yoke of imperial oppression, but not members of the 'savage' nations which had. I guess. I wondering if that stands for EVERYONE who wasn't a British Imperial subject, or just those who weren't white and western. For instance, could you eat a Norwegian? They're not a member of the British Empire, so . . . fair game? I DON'T KNOW, HE DIDN'T DEFINE HIS TERMS VERY WELL.

If this quotation is true, it is NUTS. The problem is, this book is so bewildering and cray-cray, I can't tell if Chesterton made this up entirely. I have no idea who "Dr. Zoppi" is and every time I google him, I get linked back to online versions of the book. So . . . that's helpful. Anyone out there have any information?

(I say that so often I should just get an audio clip of Robert Stack doing his Unsolved Mysteries closing speech for this blog. "If you have any information on any of the mysteries you've seen here tonight . . . "

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s