Armie Hammer, a 34-year-old American actor, is one of those Hollywood gallants who, without having a worldwide blockbuster to his credit, is recognized for having created memorable pictures in
Call my by your name
or the new
of Netflix, which left critics cold but became one of the platform's biggest hits in 2020.
However, Armie has never been so present in the media as in recent weeks.
A morbid scandal,
Through, and some Instagram messages leaked to tabloid media, of unproven veracity, they show him as a man with tendencies to a strange sexual cannibalism, at least by mouth: “I am 100% cannibal.
I want to eat you.
It's scary to admit it, ”one of them said.
In others he made manifest his desire to eat the ribs of a lover, or his taste for a hypothetical ingestion of the still warm heart of an animal.
Everything as if taken from a perverse tale by the Marquis de Sade.
Several of her ex-partners have come to the fore denouncing their aggressive, extravagant, drug addicts and even anthropophagic sexual tastes.
"What if I wanted to cut off your toe to put it in a pocket and always carry a piece of you with me?" Read another of the alleged messages.
The actor has disassociated himself from the accusations and has canceled his participation in
, the next romantic film by Jennifer Lopez
Cannibalism has always fascinated the human mind, taking it into dark and slippery territories.
Perhaps hence the rapid spread and great interest in the Hammer case, especially on the Internet, an already dark and slippery place.
Indeed, the case speaks to us of everyday issues, such as the end of privacy in the digital age, sexual abuse or the difficulty to discern the veracity of information, but also of other less common and as interesting as cannibalism. paraphilias and their relationship with today's society.
The desire to ingest parts of other people has had a strong presence in popular culture.
Without going any further, in already classic films such as
The Silence of the Lambs
, thanks to the iconic Hannibal the Cannibal, masterfully played by Anthony Hopkins.
There is a strong current of Italian horror cinema from the eighties based on cannibalism, such as the
, by Ruggero Deodato.
The popular image of cannibalism in the West, almost comical, comes from the time of the great explorations: a great pot in an African tribe, in which the savages put European explorers to the
to eat them.
All caricatured, like something out of an Indiana Jones movie.
"Cannibalism has been used by Westerners, like incest, to mark a wild otherness and to exalt ourselves by differentiating ourselves from it," explains Julián López García, professor of Social Anthropology at the National University of Distance Education ( UNED).
However, the really existing cannibalism doesn't look like this.
"Although cannibalism for nutritional reasons has existed, as a way of feeding in times of crisis, the most common is that it is a ritual cannibalism", says the professor.
In some societies, for example, it was traditional to drink the ashes of deceased relatives mixed with water, as a way to reintegrate them into the body.
Also, in another direction, the corpses of the enemies could be ingested, as a way to recover the energy lost in the battle.
"In any case, what is eaten are certain parts of the body, not significant pieces of meat like those we find in a butcher shop," says López García.
Cannibals don't eat human steak, nor do they make cold cuts.
In Spain there are evidences of cannibalism in deposits such as that of the Gran Dolina, in Atapuerca, related to the Homo antecessor, about 800,000 years old.
According to some research, it was the most efficient way to eat.
But much closer in time, just 8,000 years away, signs of cannibalism have appeared in Alicante, in the Coves de Santa Maira, according to researchers from the University of Valencia (UV).
"It's interesting because it wasn't that long ago, they were beings like us," explains Juan Vicente Morales, an archaeologist at the UV.
Funeral practices or gastronomic delicatessen?
The article that gave an account of the research published in the Journal of Anthropological Archeology was titled.
"Cases of cannibalism are a challenge for archaeologists because they are difficult to detect," says the researcher.
In this case, everything points, seeing the marks of the teeth and tools on the bones, the disarticulation of the pieces, the evidence of the slicing of the meat, and the treatment of the bones themselves as waste, that those humans were eaten by others, probably out of extreme necessity and in a timely manner.
Because cannibalism, even today, can also be related to survival.
This was the case of those Uruguayan rugby players whose plane crashed in Chile in 1972, in the middle of the unreachable snows of the Andes.
Those who eventually survived had been forced to eat the bodies of their deceased comrades.
, by Frank Marshall, recounts those tremendous events.
When human cannibalism happens out of sheer necessity it can enjoy some understanding.
In our own societies the line between what is cannibalism and what is not is also blurred.
There is a controversial fashion that consists of eating the placenta of newborns, to which healthy properties are attributed: medical authorities do not recommend it, although some celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian, have done it.
The same thing happens with the ingestion of one's own urine, which was defended even by naturopaths such as the television Txumari Alfaro (the one from the program
La botica de la abuela
), an activity not highly recommended.
Eating stepfathers or nails, swallowing sexual fluids, practicing oral sex ... "There are anthropologists who even see a metaphor for cannibalism in organ transplants," says López García.
"The body opens like a mouth to ingest, for example, a heart, which is someone else's flesh."
Within symbolic cannibalism, by the way, could be included the Catholic ritual of the Eucharist, in which every Sunday the parishioners ingest the blood and body of Christ.
Theologically it has its justification, of course, that catechists usually give to children who, in their innocence, are alarmed at Mass at the surprising fact.
Cannibalism today, far from cultural or anthropological, can be linked to mental illness and crime: this is the case of serial killers who like to eat their victims.
For example, Jeffrey Dahmer, the notorious butcher from Milwaukee, who was convicted of murdering 17 people in the 1980s, confessed to eating the biceps of some of his victims.
In the freezer of his house they found pieces of meat of these.
More recently, in 2008, British chef Anthony Morley killed his partner and cooked his thighs with fine herbs.
Abuse and protein
In the case of the controversial actor Armie Hammer, it seems that a kind of mass hysteria has spread that puts the focus where it is not.
It should be concerned (and should be censured) that an actor, as reported by some women, uses his fame and influence to coerce sexually.
But not that we are facing a cannibal who eats people.
Rather, we are faced with a sexual fantasy centered on cannibalism, or, more specifically, on talking about cannibalism (it seems unlikely that Hammer has eaten anyone).
"Human sexuality is not only reproductive," explains sexologist Carme Sánchez, from the Serrate & Ribal Institute of Urology.
"There is also a link with communication and sensory pleasure."
There, various paraphilias could come into play, which are socially tolerated or not according to the culture of each era.
"There are paraphilias that would be aberrant before and today they are completely accepted," says the sexologist.
It is enough to walk through an erotic goods store: things related to lingerie, sex toys, foot fetishism, etc., do not cause any scandal and can even be celebrated as a sign of open-mindedness or elegance.
Eating other humans, of course, is weirder.
"The fetishes of sexual cannibalism have nothing to do with eating another person," explained dominatrix Empress Wu to
"It's based on certain fantasies and there are different elements to play with."
In these fantasies, drops of blood that sprout from the fingertip are manipulated, bites are taken, morbid stories are told, or sushi is eaten on a naked body.
"I don't think there is a typical way to represent a cannibal scene because the final act itself is extremely unreal," says Wu.
In some way, it could be the symbolic representation of the desire to be as close to someone as one can never be, to merge totally with another body, to overcome the physical individuality to which we are condemned.
Thus, cannibalism in the realm of the erotic does not have to be as fierce as we might imagine.
“The problem with sexual fantasies occurs in two cases: when they negatively influence the life of the individual, generating discomfort or social deterioration;
or, of course, when those behaviors or fantasies harm or put others at risk, ”says Carme Sánchez.
So they are not called paraphilias, but paraphilic disorders.
“It is undeniable that cannibalism arouses interest, perhaps related to a certain curiosity, with the breaking of taboos and prohibitions;
perhaps it shows that, in some way, the human being is not so detached from nature, no matter how much we disguise it, "says Morales.
When someone tells you that they don't eat meat, ask them what meat they mean.
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