Eat the Rude: Hannibal Lecter meets the 99%

Thank you.

And I could have written what I wrote in a paragraph, no apologies necessary.

Interesting comments, and it is an interesting subject. I think it should be for anyone who writes or who enjoys trying to understand ‘what is going on in society’ backtracking from such shows that they might popularly engage in. Hannibal Lector and the mythology of the series is one of the more fascinating of these topics out there.

I can not speak much on the original poster’s writing, as he is dealing with abstract models of society and trends which I do not rely on, though I do agree with that subset of the population that there are severe problems in society, globally, which will eventually demand a rectification, or reckoning.

You do hit at an excellent point in contrasting the two Hannibals. In the new show, he should be expected to not show his “teeth”, whereas in the original series people have already seen his “true nature” and so he has less reason to hide it.

That very aspect of the show, actually, I find one of the most engaging aspects of it. The secrecy, the duplicity, the battle of wits, the power he displays in controlling people…? I am not sure if that was what was so engaging about it. I have seen that interplay in other shows, and Dexter, in some seasons, well played it.

Perhaps it is the contrast between the “shown self” and the “hidden self” which makes that manner of story strain so interesting? The audience sees the “hidden self” (and so we would think closer to the “true self”), whereas the audience also sees the “shown self”. That contrast is dramatic and made deep, perhaps a difficult thing to do.

Though, I have long had an interest in that manner of character, for one reason, because it does tend to be popular: the spy or secret police agent, the superhero, and not infrequently in supernatural series tends to attempt to depict and draw out a deep contrast between “what some see” and “what the audience is intimately made privy to”. In our own psychology, we all also have layers, where we share one side or sides of ourselves, while our intimate selves are closely guarded. So, perhaps, that is part of the allure of this manner of character?

In the original series there is also a hinted at, and very strange, but I find potentially alluring concept: with both Buffalo Bill and the Red Dragon Killer (I forget his name)… Hannibal mentions his understanding of their psychology as their each trying to work a personal “transformation” which is never adequately explained but seems as if some manner of secret he has shared with his patients.

On “anti-hero”, I would agree that at the end of the last season, Hannibal did seem to move from sketchy anti-hero to outright villain. And at the end of the first season, we also saw such a transition. In one case, he befriended Will Graham, which was redeeming, but then it turned out he was false in his intentions and betrayed him for something as minor and selfish as saving his own skin. In the second season, I do not entirely recall what he did which had him end up, in my mind, as going full on villain, though I do recall he brutally attacked Will Graham, and some others.

I would likely have to rewatch some of those episodes to really look at his actions and try and understand what actions might contain reveal some manner of universally acknowledged condemnatory aspect about them. Which also usually involves considering the shown and apparent intentions behind the actions.

I do expect the writers to be switching the character back and forth between villain and anti-hero. And they seem to enjoy trying to leave the audience wondering. Will the audience find themselves rooting for someone they later discover is atrocious? Reminds me of a story where a prank is played and someone is given disgusting food to eat, such as cow penis, disguised as something acceptable, like flank.

Which, of course, is exactly the sort of thing Lector was shown to do to the audience’s horror in this very season.

(And what does that mean? Why does that concept fascinate people? Does it tie into the fact that we all suspect at times something we might fully buy into is actually entirely disgusting? The fear of being wrong, yet the certain knowledge we likely are?)

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Two errors in this post…first, the muralist was not gluing his victims, rather he was sewing them into the mural. Secondly, we do not know yet if Clarice will actually be in the show. Bryan Fuller has yet to obtain the rights to SotL, and until he does, he cannot utilize any of the characters that originated in that story. He has said, however, if he does not get the rights, he will fashion a character like Clarice with a different name.

As for the content of the actual post…all this talk of language and class but yet the blog itself comes across as a bit pretentious as well, in my opinion. Anyhow, I never saw Hannibal in the book/film series as one that looked down on others or that he thought less of those of a different class. He pointed out Clarice’s upbringing, I don’t think as a way to criticize her or belittle her but rather as a way to test her; to see her resolve. She earned his respect and I think he did admire her. In the the book, at the end, Hannibal calls Clarice and tells her that he makes no plans to call on her; that the world is a more interesting place with her in it.

Also, the Hannibal we see in SotL is already in prison; he has been caught and there is no need for him to hide who he is. Fuller’s Hannibal, on the other hand, at least in season 1 and season 2, is a free man, mingling with society, and so has to put forth a facade of normalcy. I think this affects the way Hannibal interacts with people. It will be interesting to see how Mads will portray Hannibal once he is in prison.

Lastly, the writer suggested instead of “eat the rude,” perhaps the new catchphrase should be “eat the rich.” In my experience, the rich tend to be quite discourteous. There is rudeness from all walks of life, and the rich are not exempt. Fuller’s Hannibal, I believe, is an equal opportunist when it comes to choosing his victims. We don’t know a great deal about the murders Harris’s Hannibal committed, so I don’t know that we can really say if his Hannibal mainly focused on those that were lower class or not. I believe that “eat the rude,” is rather fitting for the show, and of course a phrase that the fans were excited to hear in Tome-wan (season 2, episode 12).

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That’s a very good critique of Harris’ version of the character, and the bits about Harris’ own background confirm some suspicions that I’ve long had about the author and the way he portrayed Hannibal Lecter and a lot of the people that he met and dealt with. Lecter in TSotL and particularly in Hannibal reminded me most strongly of the protagonist from Trevanian’s Shibumi, an amoral assassin with literally superhuman physical powers and who not only possessed highbrow tastes but compulsively put down others who aspired to the same.

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In Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum, one of the doctors studying The Joker suggests that he may in fact be exhibiting a kind of ‘super sanity’, which I’ve always been reminded of when reading a Lecter novel.

I saw a passage in a psychology book about severe psychosis and ideas of physical transformation that reminded me of those scenes. As a forensic psychiatrist, Lector would understand this.

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Interesting. I had never come across that before. I found it an alluring literary allusion that seemed almost jungian in a ‘collective unconscious’ sort of manner. It is quite underplayed, but had very strong references: in Manhunter, the killer had an fascinatingly bizarre statement, which was remarkable, “You are but an insect in the afterbirth of my transformation” – paraphrasing, I forget exactly what the statement was. While in Silence of the Lambs, the imagery dwelved into transgenderism and outright allusions to cocoons and moths.

I felt that the consistency gave Dr Lector some manner of near discipleship with these killers, but the concept was not explored and seemed to vanish post-Manhunter.

The concept of alternate identities and transformation is very present in a lot of horror fiction: vampires have a sort of change, at least when initially taken; werewolves, of course, are seen as creatures of a hidden nature and involve transformation; ghosts and spirits tend to have an element of change, at least, implied in the transformation from ordinary human to spirit; alternate identity creatures like “Dr Hyde” and “Mr Jekyl”; there are concepts of transhumans hidden among regular humans in numerous horror fictions, perhaps especially conspiracy oriented ones like some alien focused films, or Grimm type fictions; and, there are often, other “change” type themes such as in the Wicker Man or Lair of the White Worm where there are secrets about individuals or cultures which are revealed in horror to the audience and usually the victim protagonist…

In Hannibal, the series, there is not much of this, directly… but there is a very strong division between the Hannibal people around him see, and the Hannibal the audience is secretly privy to… and no little suspense for the audience because the depth of that distance in that dichotomy of self (the outward self and the inner self, one might say)… is consistently built on, and enhanced, for the audience’s pleasure.

Perhaps, one crowning moment of that, is one of the most deplorable parts of the series… when the audience is privy to Hannibal serving his peers human flesh, which they take as fine veal or some other acceptable mere animal meat… while the audience is apprised of the true nature of the meal.

In fact, I suppose, I tend not to be much focused on the fastidiousness of Hannibal, because it seems so well to mirror his very legalistic moral code… and run so contrary to his real moral code, which, I suppose, as an audience member we are challenged to try and find some rhyme and reason to.

[quote=“N_D, post:24, topic:52041, full:true”]
In Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum, one of the doctors studying The Joker suggests that he may in fact be exhibiting a kind of ‘super sanity’, which I’ve always been reminded of when reading a Lecter novel.
[/quote]All of that would work for Lecter except the cannibalism. Make Lecter an art thief or even someone that makes snuff films for profit, and it works. His cold bloodedness does not mix with an extravagantly irrational crime like cannibalism. Cannibalism indicates a more chaotic personality who might not hold a job. Often there would also be a sexual aspect the crimes, possibly including necrophilia. And usually a cannibal is going to be living in disgusting conditions because they seem to be very attached to their victims body parts. Often they seem to become hoarders, and they really do live surrounded by body parts like in a horror movie. Often they don’t make much effort to conceal their crimes or dispose of the bodies in an efficient manner. There’s probably a lot of psychological dissociation so they don’t really perceive the world very well.

[quote=“gurglegurglebangbang, post:26, topic:52041”]
Interesting. I had never come across that before.
[/quote]In Kernberg’s “Severe Personality Disorders” he talks just a little bit about atypical chronic psychotic conditions with schizoid traits and depression on page 258. It was enough to make me jot “Red Dragon” in the margin:

They frequently reveal a history of bizarre suicide attempts marked by an unusual degree of cruelty or highly idiosyncratic features corresponding to their fantasies about bodily or psychological transformations.

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