> Is everybody saying that they think Lec _isn't_ referring to deeply
> suntanned cannibals who live in primitive societies outside the ken of
> us civilised types? Ie, that it's totally incongruous, and therefore
> very funny, to imagine Hannibal Lecter with a knife and fork? What's
> the point about "progress", then?
It's stereotyping rather than racism, like the how many Irishmen/Poles does it take to change a lightbulb? jokes, or mean caber-tossing Scotsmen in kilts.
I'd guess that the majority of cannibalism jokes turn on educated black cannibals cooking Presbyterian Scottish missionaries.
But then, as a Scot, I'm lumbered with the heritage of Sawney Bean (and let's not go into the intra-Scottish spin which has anyone north of the Highland Line who speaks gaelic notorious for eating their living young).
Sawney Bean, allegedly flourishing in the time of Jimmy the Sixth and One is -- despite one's feelings that anyone from Morningside is capable of anything -- a load of tosh, and emblematically hymned by the laird of the Kailyard, S.R.Crockett, in _The Grey Man_.
Sweeney Todd (who first appears in _The String of Pearls_ in 1846) is simply an avatar of S. Been, as is Hannibal Lector.
One of the recent moments of such alleged cannibalism to surface is in a novel by Christopher Brookmyre.
Comes down to it, there seems to be a stronger association of cannibalism with Scotland than any other place in the ever-living universe.
(I would add that setting Sweeney's pie-shop in London rather than Edinburgh is as transparent, and for equally commercial purposes, as relocating Jekyll&Hyde. R.)