"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, April 20, 2024

'They Ate My Uncle' - Joe Biden, The New Guinea Feast, And The Meal's Pièce de Résistance

Cannibalism is not new, and societies have practiced it for millennia; but it is still shocking when it happens to a family member.  It was one thing for the President's uncle to be heroically killed in a battle against the Japanese, another thing to be eaten and served at a banquet in honor of King Puncak Tua Jaya Rai. 


The banquet, according to one Japanese journalist on the island during Japanese occupation, was one of the most festive affairs in tribal history.  A white man, never before served up to king or commoner, was the piece de resistance. 

According to tribal tradition, the meal - like any served to royalty anywhere - would be a fancy affair, served with garnishes and accompaniments, special sauces, reductions, and spices.  Of course the New Guinean fare was far simpler than that of the courts of Europe, but to the natives sumptuous and appealing. There was anaconda and crocodile meat, giant slugs and beetles, monkey brains, and turtle eggs all simmered for a day tended by the most beautiful women of the tribe.  

The meal of the President's uncle was to be overseen by the chief priest of the court in a Kosher-like ceremony of ritual purity and prepared by a skilled 'craftsman', a sub-chief who was a master chef, a virtuoso with a carving knife who never left so much as one bone splinter in the sauce. 

The banquet could not be eaten before rounds of musical ceremony.  Bare-breasted women, and fierce young bucks danced in an orgiastic frenzy, invoking the Lord of the Banyan Tree and the gods of good fortune.  The drums beat for hours as wave after wave of women and their consorts whirled and shouted while a chorus of naked men chanted in precise rhythm. 

Never before had the island seen such festivities.  The King and Queen sat on their thrones, fanned by servants with giant tropical fronds, drinking fermented palm milk and eating roasted wild nuts.  Every so often one of the dancers would approach the King, deeply bow, and recite a poem of thanks and prayer. 

All the while Joe's uncle simmered away in the rich, fragrant broth.  The crowd of commoners who had come out of the forest for the feast, generously invited by the King, were seated in concentric rings around the cauldron, the scent of herbs and cooking meat wafting up and over and up to the top of the highest, most majestic trees in the jungle. 

Of all the platoon of American soldiers killed in action that day and left behind by the Japanese who fled to their deep-woods hideouts, only the President's uncle was deemed worthy of a feast fit for a king. It was unclear to the Japanese chronicler why exactly he was chosen, but from the careful inspection of the body made by the Chief Priest and head cook, he could surmise.  

They spent many minutes inspecting the uncle's tongue, pulling it out and this way and that, and juggling and fondling his testicles.  With a crude measuring bamboo reed they measured him from head to toe, crosswise, and between limbs and body parts.  They opened and shut his eyelids, poked and prodded his thighs, and finally smiled with satisfaction. 

The commoners were lucky if they got a taste of Joe's uncle since all the prize pieces were served to King, Queen, and courtiers, but there were enough scraps and leavings for at least a few.  All who tasted the stew nodded their approval, smiled, and hugged each other in a show of brotherhood - very important because inter-tribal conflict had raged throughout the king's dominion. The feast would bring warring factions together for the first time since hostilities had begun. 

The Japanese journalist who had been invited to the feast by the King of course had to taste the meal, and despite his natural, instinctive reluctance, he did not want to be the next meal, and tucked into the savory meat offered to him.  He took a nibble, smiled, and put the tranche down, but the King shook his head and urged him on.  All eyes were on the journalist until he had eaten every last bit of Joe's uncle put before him. 

Contrary to American popular opinion Joe's uncle did not taste like chicken.  In fact, as reported by the journalist, it didn't taste like anything in particular perhaps because of the overpowering taste of the bowel of tapir and fermented tortoise eggs, 


When the Japanese reporter's journal made its way back to the Pentagon (it had been left in a hurry along with the empty cups, bowls, and bones of the feast as an American expeditionary force plowed inland, and retrieved as intelligence by the First Lieutenant), it was read, re-read, and parsed for clues to Japanese strategy, and when cleared was sent to the Biden family.  The Japanese journalist had kept the Uncle's dog tags as a memento of the feast and had enclosed them in the pages of his diary, so locating the uncle's relatives was an easy task.

Joe's family was initially close-mouthed about the events reported and recorded in the text.  They were ashamed that what might have been an account of the Uncle's heroism, was a story of the most ignominious way to meet the Lord.  The Uncle was not eaten or prepared alive, the journalist was quick to point out, just severed, trussed, and spiced after death. 

This of course was only some consolation to the family who would never get over the horrendous circumstances of their beloved relative's end.  The Army gave him full honors and posthumously awarded him all the medals and ribbons it could given regulations and protocol.  A Lieutenant Colonel from Fort Bragg made a special trip to the Biden family house for the presentation.  

The hoopla in the press (April 2024) when President Biden referred to the tragic, heroic, and unusual fate of his uncle, was uncalled for.  The entire story was as true as can be, down in black and white, reviewed, vetted, and approved by the Pentagon in 1943 and whose imprimatur was still as valid as ever. 

'They did eat him', the President said to a doubtful press, 'every last bit of him', which statement of course made its round of every hard copy and electronic press outlet in the country.  'Unnecessary, uncouth, revolting, unpresidential' were only some of the public reaction.  It was an election year after all, and one simply did not make such statements. 

In any case, an empty coffin resides in Arlington National Cemetery, filled with Joe's Uncle's medals, ribbons and an American flag; and the story ends there. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.