Sunday, April 01, 2007

Spotted in Saint Louis

Yesterday, on Kingshighway South, I spotted the following bumper sticker:

"I like children a lot; I just can't eat a whole one."

There were no other bumper stickers on the car, making it impossible for me to "gloss" the pronouncement against other sticker pronouncements on the car and thereby deduce the owner's politics or sensibilities. Alas. Is it supposed to be funny in the innocuous way cannibalism jokes always are, or is it more angry [i.e., "I really hate and despise children"], or more lamenting ["I love children so much I wish I could eat a whole one, but alas, that is beyond my frail capabilities"]? Just some food for thought on this beautiful first day of April. Also, we've talked on this blog a lot about JJC's children, green children, Edelman's "no children," the child-as-future, lost children, and cannibalism. So it just seemed apropos to share this.


Michael O'Rourke said...

Spotted Somewhere Between Galway and Dublin (as I returned from a conference called "Ethics at the Margins of Human Life" where I managed to sneak in a mention of the Middle Ages--talked about Agamben's medieval bandit during a whistle stop tour of the concept of bare life):

"Tears are always the tears of the infant, of the mother-and-child within the infant, and that is why they can be sweet. No tears, at least no sweet tears of consolation without the phantasm of the good mother who has in some way, and long ago, been 'eaten' and ingested-incorporated-along with her honeyed milk".

This is from an awesome (50 page long I warn you) article by David Farrell Krell, "All You Can't Eat: Derrida's Course 'Rhetorique du Cannibalisme' (1990-1991)" which summarizes seven of Derrida's unpublished seminars on everything from tears, kissing, shitting to eating the sun and the stars.

One more glucocentric snippet about honey-tasting-tears:

"Our own tears are always the tears of the other. We weep the other, who weeps us".

Tomorrow, I intend to find some Maslow. Thanks to Michael Uebel.

Jeffrey Cohen said...

Excellent all around. Thank you both.

And now I brace myself for the eleven three year old princes and princesses about to invade the Cohen home and plaster our walls in cakey handprints. If anyone would like me to reserve a specially plump, ice cream and candy filled specimen for their own home eating, let me know.

Michael O'Rourke said...

I am shortly to entertain a teddy called chilipepper for an eight year old American kid's show and tell project. The teddy goes all over the world and each person who receives him takes a photo or two and writes a postcard. What fun!

Karl Steel said...

Reminds me of the quip, which I've seen attributed to both Steven King and Robert Bloch, in which the author claims to have 'the heart of a child....I keep it in a jar on my desk.'

MoR: well, the Krell sounds necessary for my Kzoo paper. Thanks, I think, for listing it.

Children do tend to be the most common victims of anthropophagy. See Leviticus 26:27-9, Deuteronomy 28: 53-7, and Lamentations 4:10, the Mother and sons who number among the Maccabean proto-martyrs (not eaten, but fried to death in a giant pan, so close enough), and many, many cases in the Middle Ages. Probably the most chilling case I know is one in which a father kills and eats his daughter during a famine, as he says, at the command of his Saracen captors. He appeals to Innocent III, who enjoins him “nunquam de caetero carnibus pro quacunque necessitate vesceretur” (Epistola LXXX, PL 214: 1063D-64B; my emphasis; never again to eat any other meat for whatever necessity).

The Spirit of Creative Writing said...

More "hate children?" jokes, this from comedy writers Andrew Marshall and David Renwick:

"I can't bear children."


"No. That's my wife's physical speciality."