Ashes and cannibalism
posted by Kaimipono D. Wenger
I enjoyed a fine dinner yesterday evening with some colleagues and a visiting speaker, the famous author John Scalzi. Inevitably, the conversation turned to cannibalism.
Specifically, we wondered: If a person — let’s call him Keith Richards — snorts cocaine that is mingled with the ashes of another person, does that constitute cannibalism? (Or is it merely another quirky effect of being British?)
As John notes on his blog, the argument doesn’t seem to clearly lean either way. On the one hand, one is snorting the cocaine with intent to ingest the stuff. Does that intent then extend to the ashes? If so, then Richards is seeking to ingest the ashes of another person — and that sounds like cannibalism.
However, on the flip side, how much ingestion actually takes place through the nasal passages? Is there any evidence that Keith Richards derived nutritional value from snorting the ashes? Doesn’t cannibalism imply digestion? Is a blood transfusion cannibalism? (My understanding is that Jehovah’s Witnesses take just that view, but most of the rest of us don’t). So, maybe it’s not.
Alas, I’m sad to say that my legal education didn’t prepare me all so well for discussions of cannibalism. This is clearly a blot on law schools everywhere. However, I’m sure that Co-Op readers can fill in this blind spot. What do you think, readers? Ashes and cocaine — cannibalism, or merely being British?