Thursday, November 22, 2018

Chicanonautica: Guajolote Con Man Corn

by Ernest Hogan
I’ve got the Día de los Guajolotes duty here at La Bloga again. Luckily, I've  just finished Man Corn: Cannibalism and Violence in the Prehistoric American Southwest  by Christy G. Turner and Jacqueline A. Turner, the classic book of cannibalism in Aztlán!

Yeah, it’s disturbing. There are those who would prefer that it be the case the Aztláni were pansexual vegetarian pacifists, but there’s way too much forensic evidence to the contrary. And it would dishonor our ancestors to misrepresent them.

Even though it's probably as politically incorrect as bullfighting, I’m proud of my cannibal heritage. My connection to the Aztecs delights me. And is there a more badass way to step out of the mindset of Western Civilization?

I’m also fascinated with cannibalism here in el Norte. After all, the border did not exist. “Mexican” and “American” tribes moved around the continent, fought and traded with each other.

Why are the Mohawks known by a name derived from mohowaog, a Narragesett word meaning “man-eater?”

How did the extinct (or should we say “exterminated?”) Karanawas manage to have their native Texas Gulf Coast known as the Cannibal Coast?

Why do conquistador accounts sound more like outtakes from European fairy tales than documented native practices?

I’ve visited a lot of the sites where the evidence of cannibalism was found. Man Corn cuts close to home.

It’s a scientific, academic study;  evidence is presented, and there is a lot of it. The bulk of the book consists of the data from forms filled out about each site. No sensationalism, just the facts, ma’am. Descriptions, numbers, dates, locations . . . It should be dull, but it’s . . . disturbing. 

All this “body processing” for consumption. Like our ritual “processing” of our Thanksgiving turkeys.

The word “disarticulated”comes up often. An interesting word.

There are a helluvalota photos of bones. Disarticulated, of course, and damaged in ways that indicate that that flesh was removed, and sometimes cooked. Most probably eaten, too. Why else would you go to the trouble to do that to a body?

Look at your turkey after the feast.

The damaged bones, arranged so they can be identified take on the aspect of abstract art. A new kind of beauty, if you can detach it from the fact that they are the remains of human beings, reduces them to pure data. There but for the grace of the gods . . .

Most of these incidents of violence and cannibalism are attributed to the Anasazi, in and around Chaco Canyon. I’ve visited a lot of the sites. The tourist information concentrates on the sophisticated architecture, and the petroglyphs that show a detailed knowledge of astronomy. Forget your stereotypes of cannibals as brutish primitives.

The victims were men, women, and children. The disarticulated bones are often found in structures that have been destroyed,  burned, roofs collapsed, abandoned . . . was it ritual sacrifice? Warfare? Mass psychosis? Cult behavior?

The possibilities of a Mexican connection/Aztec influence is suggested. Photos of Aztec-style “dental mutilation” (tooth sculpting that is really impressive when you realize they were done with stone tools) are included, but the Chaco killings were done with blows to the head, while the Aztec by heart removal.

Some mysteries can only be solved with the help of a time machine.

I’m reminded of what a character in my novel High Aztech said:  If you don’t acknowledge the cannibal inside you, he’ll come out and take control when you least expect it.

So, happy disarticulating!

Ernest Hogan recently discussed High Aztech with the students of William Nericcio’s English 220, Robotic, Erotic, Electric class at San Diego State University.

1 comment:

Daniel Cano said...

Ernest, I enjoyed reading your essay, and the fact that you did bloga "duty" on TG. I read an article, a scientific piece, also, about human sacrifice and cannibalism in northern Europe, of course, back even before the Norse. But, it was clear. The ancestors of our fellow sophisticated, educated Western Civ.-bowing descendants, have just as much blood in their past as any other culture. I also recently came across the story of Lot, in the old testament. Turns out, if the Biblical writers told the truth, after the fall of S & G, ol' Lot's daughters got him drunk, took advantage of his seed, and bore children from him. Hmmm, what does that tell us about his descendants? Seems no one culture or civilization is free of aberrant behavior, que no? Maybe, even now, with all the muck in the world, we are still trying to claw our way out of the darkness. Gracias, for a wonderful piece (or peace).