Anything goes (2002)

“Free to be you and me,” or maybe “The Way of the Cross Goes Bad”: Man held for German ‘cannibal killing’. A follower of Jeffrey Dahmer decided the easiest way to get a victim would be to place an ad in the gay press, so he did. Someone volunteered, and after setting his affairs in order was duly slaughtered and eaten.

There’s actually a lot to think about here. There’s the obvious point that consent does not quite cover all sins, and that the “right to die” can take us into some very strange territory. There’s also the reflection that the Way of the Cross is permissible only if unavoidable. Otherwise, it comes out of disgust and hatred of life rather than out of love. The abolition of the transcendent has led to a search for a false transcendent — sex, drugs, pain, death, and infinitude as the abolition of all boundaries. Such things have become the modern equivalent of religion, and have even infiltrated Christianity. Many of them come together in this story.

What makes this case rise above its shock value, though, is that it’s not clear under modern principles that the murderer should be punished. After all, if assisting voluntary suicide should be legal all that’s left is the symbolic offense of consuming the remains. That could be construed as a sort of performance art, or the equivalent of flag-burning, and thus as protected free expression. The man may be a prophet of a freer and more open tomorrow. Today Das Bild (a German tabloid), tomorrow the ALI!
Posted by Jim Kalb at December 13, 2002 08:55 AM | Send

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