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I'm a Humanitarian
aka: I Am A Humanitarian

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For what's that sound of the world out there?
That crunching noise that's pervading the air?
It's man devouring man, my dear—
And who are we to deny it in here?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

No, this trope is not about humanitarianism. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Cannibalism is considered one of the greatest taboos, so, naturally, it's become a trope. One idea which stands out is that human flesh is superficially similar to swine flesh, hence the nickname "long pig" and the phrase "eating the long pork".note  A robot designed to taste wine corroborates this idea. Thus, it should be delicious, which is reflected both in Hannibal Lecter's gourmet tastes, and in the idea in Sweeney Todd that pies with this ingredient would sell like hotcakes. Or hot pies.

You'll often have people eat something and not know what it is, and then discover the ghastly truth, such as in many an Inn of No Return.

A mostly Discredited Trope is a variation that portrays members of non-European societies as cannibalistic, often attempting to cook visiting Europeans in a pot. See Cannibal Film for the Exploitation subgenre based on this.

Post-apocalyptic fiction may depict a bleak future in which starving survivors prey on each other for food. In some post-apocalyptic works, society is divided into cannibals and non-cannibals.

In Speculative Fiction, cannibalism is generally extended to include eating any sapient creature, even if they aren't technically eating their own species. Any species that includes humans (or other humanoids) in its diet is usually portrayed as villainous, as is any species that routinely eats members of its own social group. Likewise, humans treating other sapient species as food are rarely treated sympathetically (unless What Measure Is a Non-Human? is in effect). If an alien or monster race make a practice of eating their own (as well as or instead of humans), then we have a case of Monstrous Cannibalism.

To various degrees, anthropophagynote  is usually expected of Zombie Mooks.

If the cannibal systematically hunts down people on a regular basis so they can eat them, they'll be a Serial Killer as well.

Because cannibalism is such a heavy taboo in most cultures, someone who willingly engages in the practice will usually be treated as having crossed the Moral Event Horizon.

As an interesting side note for tropers living in the United States of America, only 16 of the 50 states have laws that explicitly make eating other people illegal. The other 34 tend to handle such cases under the purview of laws dealing with desecration or molestation of dead bodies.

A Sub-Trope of I Ate WHAT?! and Human Resources. Can also involve Carnivore Confusion without anthropomorphic animals (or maybe with them — see the paragraph on Speculative Fiction above). See To Serve Man for when aliens and monsters find us tasty. Picky People Eater and Brain Food is for those not interested in mere muscles. See also Let's Meet the Meat. Compare No Party Like a Donner Party, for when persons are forced into cannibalism due to starvation, or The Secret of Long Pork Pies, for when someone is unknowingly tricked into it. When you get down to the bitter dregs, there's Autocannibalism. Also, see Fattening the Victim for when people are fattened before being eaten.

Note that this trope applies to non-humans who are sapient or otherwise capable of independent thought or communication even if they only eat their own kind. Likewise, this trope is not about anyone eating humans. It's about cannibalism.

Interesting note: In many cultures this is actually the primary method of funerary rites, done either under the logic that the dead will be able to live on in their loved ones, or simply to make use of a perfectly good hunk of meat that no longer happens to be a person with rights, depending on the culture in question.

Truth in Television (including nature red in tooth and claw — according to The Other Wiki, more than 1500 species are known eaters of their own), and often so disturbing we ask No Real Life Examples, Please!

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Alternative Title(s): Cannibal, I Am A Humanitarian, Hominivore, Anthropophage


Bob Velseb

Bob Velseb is a cannibalistic serial killer who seems to have endless knowledge on organ consumption and human meat preparation. Upon crossing paths with Streber, the haunted house host, Bob makes a gruesome first impression by brutalizing Streber before feasting on his arm until it's nothing but bone.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

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Main / ImAHumanitarian

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