16 February 2008 00:00 [Source: ICB]
CANNIBALISM IS the last of the great taboos, only broken by hidden tribes of primordial savages, or the rest of us under the most extreme circumstances - the tragedy of the Uruguayan rugby team is so well known it is used as the set-up for cannibal jokes now.
Part of the transgression of the book and film Fight Club was the young men's use of liposuctioned fat to make beautifully-scented 100% green, all-natural soap, which in turn they would sell to department stores, the clients of which were the very people being liposuctioned.
But it is with horror that we usually consider ideas like people's fat being turned into soap. Although discredited, the rumor that the Nazis turned concentration camp victims into soap was so strong, it took years to dispel.
It was with bemused horror that I read about Dr. Craig Alan Bittner - a surgeon based in ultra-swanky Beverly Hills, California, US - and how he is rumored to have used the siphoned lard of rich dowagers to fuel his Ford SUV and his girlfriend's Lincoln Navigator.
Bittner wrote on his, now defunct, site, lipodiesel.com: "The vast majority of my patients request that I use their fat for fuel - and I have more fat than I can use. Not only do they get to lose their love handles or chubby belly, but they get to take part in saving the Earth."
Bittner is now under investigation by the California Department of Public Health for the improper disposal of medical waste, he is being sued by patients, and engineers are questioning his veracity. The good doctor, who performed liposurgical procedures despite being board certified in radiology, has skipped town - to Colombia.
I'm glad it seems as if Bittner's a fraud. I'd be scared to think what would happen if he was on the up-and-up.
But, are we so attached to a lifestyle that's rapidly being revealed as superfluous and wasteful that we are willing to use human flesh to fuel our vehicles? Is this the savagery we must resort to simply drive a car?
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